Tuesday, April 2, 2013


What is the American Dream?

Like a schoolgirl, I can rattle off what I've heard, been taught, and seen.

I envision what the Grant Wood, "American Gothic" painting implied -- having money enough  for a home, food, clothes, toys, private or public schooling, medical emergencies, insurance, cleaning help, and recreations --vacations, including a car.

Is this dream an inheritance from the previous century -- the most important thing in life is having enough money for the good life? Maybe, but that's never been my dream.

When I was writing about a woman who, like me, was dressed in her mother's dreams, I named the book "SOMEBODY--Woman of the Century."

Being somebody -- that was the fire in my life, in the life of lots of people I know.

I read "How to Restore the American Dream," an article by Fareed  Zakaria, an Editor-at-large of Time Magazine. It was packed  with figures -- billions, millions, percentages, median incomes, wages,  profits, losses -- big numbers, big issues that relate to  money-money-money.

And movies, TV, the Internet -- everywhere we look -- store  windows, signs, ads tell us MONEY IS IT.

I think it's a wrong vision, a bound-to-fail dream.

I say YOU GOT TO DO. Dreaming is DOING -- an action. Hey, it's an Aristotelian concept -- teaching, cooking, sewing,  writing, painting, gardening, hunting, cleaning, inventing, engineering  -- add to this anything you like to do. "Action" usually involves  bodily movement. Philosophers argue about this, but in-active doings --  studying, learning, listening, thinking -- are actions.

Let  the wise men discuss and diagnose the world's economic problems and  translate them into solutions. If you fog out and blot out and ignore the  money-money aspects of what's on your mind, you may find, in your thoughts, a dream, a focus that  will inspire you to DO something.

If your dream sounds  or seems ridiculous -- impractical, silly, too big, too  trivial -- just hold on tight -- it'll probably build into something you can maybe,  possibly, sooner or later, try to do.

Just the possibility is beyond money, more than the gleaming house -- it is gold in your mind that you own.


Peggy Bechko said...

Great post Em - love it - dream big, dream small, dream sideways - but dream; and it doesn't have to meld with everyone else's dreams or fit in a box you've been told is for you.

Carola said...

Maybe the American dream is the freedom and opportunity we have in this country. Opportunity is shrinking, however.

Anonymous said...

To make an impact in the world with my writing. To make people think, feel more, love more and love life more! that is my big dream.

Fantastic Books Publishing said...

Hi Em,

You've hit the nail on the head with this one, you really have.

Since starting our publishing house, all we've ever concentrated on is the experience of our clients and making it the most hassle-free, non-stressful time of their careers.

So far it seems to be working. Yes, there's obviously money involved and as yet we're not making millions but that's not important to us. We're making friends, great lasting connections that extend way beyond the 'business' world.

For the last two days we have been shooting a promotional video for our company. Not because we HAD to, but because we WANTED to. It won't net us any capital gain, nor will we sell the rights to the film to anybody. It's our thing, a little look inside who we are and what we want to do because we're PROUD of what we have built, not because we want to rake in the dollars.

Your blogs and videos with John are the same thing. You're not doing them to make money or to get yourselves 'out there', you're just doing them for fun and to scratch an artistic itch.

That's why they're so wonderful. Keep up the good work and don't let the great god MONEY fog your dreams.

Good people will always find good things, but usually when they are not looking for them.

All the very best to you both,

Dan and Gabi :)

Anonymous said...

Good blog Em. Dreams are a part of life and living it to the fullest. Dreams are a big part of everyone's makeup. Whether a person endeavors to fulfill these ideas is up to them. I think dreams are a positive encouragement to each of us to believe in ourselves and succeed. kam

Anonymous said...

That was wonderful Em!!! And JUST what I needed to hear today!! Trying to quiet the nay-sayer in my mind and get to more DOING. And some dreams are exciting in their own right without ever coming to fruition. Thank you! (((hugs)))