Tuesday, January 7, 2014

When You Wish Upon A Star . . .

The dance form that I had been trained in is Kathak. The word Kathak means Story Teller (the one who tells a katha or story is the Kathak). You could say that all my training in all I have studied has purported towards teaching me to tell stories. I have always taken this ideal very seriously and have made it the end of all. I have wished to tell stories that would tell listeners about themselves. I have not been able to sustain the rigor of my dancing training, but I have sought to hold on to the idea of the story teller, and connected to that has been my dream of a fiction book contract. But you know what they say about wishes, though: they all come true and they are not free.

Yes. This is what it feels like when dreams are granted: the constant nervousness, the unending fear of inadequacy, the unimaginable excitement (which feels like big cats cavorting around one's innards), and the desperate need to maintain balance, to keep things real.

Yes. I have a book contract, and I only hope I will not disappoint. On the one hand, I do believe that this is what I have always wanted, that my training, teaching, indeed, my living has been leading up to this, that at least some of my stories now have a validated purpose. I remember being ecstatic for exactly four days when I first heard; but after that, this deep fear has taken home within me. I think that this fear is the price I will have to pay for this wish.

We are forever told stories of happily-ever-after, of dreams coming true, of wishes granted. These stories end there. What else is left to say, the story-teller asks. The after-story is boring, like all accounts of "happiness" are boring (just ask Tolstoy!). What is interesting is the journey to this shining gem of dream, the process undertaken, choices made, prices paid to achieve it, that we might step on the same stones to our dreams.

I would insist that the journey and process are boring. They are often accidents, not even vaguely connected to what they lead up to, and the choices are not deliberate; such a narrative would lack focus and would ramble. What happens once the goal is reached? That is what interests. I wanted to come home when my house burned and I did; I wanted a fiction book contract and I have it (if I do not disappoint). How does one figure out exactly what it was that caused this? Most importantly, how does one avoid waking up and losing the dream?

I do not mean to seem ungrateful. Of course, I am grateful. I also recognize the wonderful, unimaginable feeling that has accompanied this gift: I no longer feel alone with my story; the validation has done wonders for the stories and an editorial voice is just the infusion of freshness my stale stories have needed, something I had not even realized until I got it. I love the absolutely new perspectives opening before me, like the revolving doors for Walter Mitty. The possibilities seem endless and instead of feeling defeated or diminished, the editorial feedback has given me a focus and an excitement for working on those stories; I actually look forward to the work. I cannot believe that my stories merit this serious treatment!

The popular adage advises that if one meets the Buddha, one should kill him; life (and the journey) are more important than achieving perfection. What if one could actually avoid killing the Buddha and begin a new road? That is the process that would interest. That is the story that would need no sub-plot. That would be a story of true courage, since I don't think I am the only one who is enveloped with this dark fear once the euphoria of a granted wish evaporates.

This post goes out as a validation of all fears, especially the ones that form the dark shadow of a granted wish. Perhaps we need these fears as much as we need our dreams; they provide depth to otherwise single-dimensioned ideals. I will try to study the face of these fears so that I may understand the actual nature of what happens when a star grants a wish.


  1. Great meditation on dreams coming true!

  2. I know it is exciting as well as worrying when a wish is granted. I know your fear is misplaced as you will do an excellent job. Congrats for realising a dream.


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