- Ralph Waldo Emerson
"Dare to dream big dreams. You're worthy of greatness. You're capable of greatness."
- Ralph Marston
"Save some time to dream, 'cause your dream might save us all."
- John Mellencamp
A few facts before we "paddle out" to our wave.
First, the great songwriters and performers Dave Grohl and the other members of the Foo Fighters, have a special series on HBO that has been fantastic. If you aren't watching it, then I encourage you to find it and start watching. It's a great exploration of the American Musical Landscape. It's called "Sonic Highways".
Each episode is a journey by Dave and the Foo Fighters in a great American musical city. A few weeks ago they did an episode on my home town of Austin, Texas. I was a bit afraid the true spirit of the City might not come through, but I think they did an amazing job. I loved it.
The thing is, it was the episode on Nashville that most surprised me. I honestly expected to be lukewarm about it. My expectations couldn't have been further from the experience I had with them there. We'll get to more on that in a moment.
The next bit of information you need to understand is that I do not drink much or often (in spite of all my talk about wine, beer and scotch). My talk is largely jest. I am also the anti-drug and always have been - lest anyone think I was drunk, or otherwise intoxicated during this, or any similar experience.
Yet, I have a euphoric creative experience from time to time that feels as if I'm under the influence of something - it's a real high, a strong euphoria. I can stoke it myself, or it can come to me unbidden, and unexpected.
My metaphor for that experience is the title of this blog - the Dreamworld Wave. What is paradoxical about this metaphor is that I have a severe phobia of deep water. It takes all I have, and a lot of specific prep, for me to get on a boat and go out on an enclosed, or semi-enclosed body of water - like Lake Travis near where I live, or San Francisco Bay. I do not go swimming (I can swim, and swim well in water where I can stand, but why bother?). I would never go out on a boat on the ocean.
It's that bad - and I've had help with it or I couldn't get on a ferry in San Francisco or a boat in our own Lake Travis.
Yet, my metaphor for my euphoric creative experience is surfing a big wave. Even the psycho-analysis of that paradox leads to a Dreamworld Wave. :)
We're about to paddle out and hop on another wave. Hang on and hang a Writer's Ten with me.
I enjoyed Mr. Grohl and the Foo Fighters before this "Sonic Highways" series, but the series really woke me up to just how talented they all are, and expanded my admiration of them as wonderful songwriters.
In each city on the series, they explore its musical history and some of its most notable musicians - living and departed. The living are interviewed and contribute various stories during the episode, which also includes archival photos and wonderful clips of performances by many great musicians who perform in the genre of the subject city. During this week-long stay in each location, Dave is collecting bits of information which will inform the lyrics he will write for the song in that city. The song is performed at the end of the episode.
I found myself spellbound during the Nashville episode, as I did not expect to be. Then at the end the Foo Fighters queued up the song they had written - a song called "Congregation". As lyrics from the song flashed across the screen in white hand lettering, the culmination of the episode was clear. Mr. Grohl, in his brilliance as a lyricist, had created with the other members of the Foo Fighters a cohesive musical work that encapsulated all of the crucial bits of the interviews, performances, occurrences and other input from their week in Nashville. Their discovery.
I found myself mesmerized and then more. Immersed in the creative inspiration from all those great musicians, and letting it wash over me, I began to open my mind.
Paddling out as all of this unfolded I am unaware of any building wave. I'm not even thinking of my paddling, much less of a Dreamworld Wave. The song ends and as the last chord fades, cut to:
black screen with white titles.
The episode is over.
I say it out loud and freeze the DVR.
Sitting there in silence a moment, and then...
I realize the wave is building behind me and I jump on as it crests. The wave curls and I ride the tube as long as I can until the wave crashes and me with it. I tumble under the water of all the ideas in my mind and right myself, to come to the surface with my head full of solutions to a story I had been working on for a future book.
I grab a piece of paper and begin making notes furiously - the euphoria hanging on as I solve one of the major problems with that work. It is a game changer.
Fear-facing Wave Beauty.
Metaphorical, yet real Euphoria.
You can ride a Dreamworld Wave. All you have to do is paddle out and hop on. It's about letting go of all the stuff on your mind, immersing yourself in something brilliant and creative - like the music of the Foo Fighters on their Sonic Highways journey. Then as you drift along with that incredible music - or whatever great creative thing you choose, you can catch that wave - the "wave" of something that you love, something for which you have a true passion. Let it take you to a place where your mind leaves the stresses of everyday life and embraces the joy of the moment - the joy of something that has real meaning for you.
Embrace your dreams and go with them. Ride the Dreamworld Wave!
P.S. - I highly recommend the Foo Fighters new album "Sonic Highways" which you can download or buy in CD or vinyl from your favorite retailer. In any event, you need to hear the song "Congregation".