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There's something very cheap about dreams for sale. And maybe that's why I never could bring myself to look for longer than a minute at a framed portrait being put on display, appearing cold and imperious even as warm splashes of red and yellow fill up the rectangular space that it comprised. Because really, we all dream in colors - red, orange, pink, purple, gray and the occasional black. And with the culmination of these endless streaks of rainbow and earth and sky and oceans that are as endless as streams of caffeinated thoughts, the artist in us burst at the spot where his soul resides and he spills his colored blood onto white space. The boundless white space, coating it, covering it, hiding. From what, I wonder.

I wonder about a lot of things, some of the time, all of the time, when I'm on my way to work, when I'm on the verge of waking up, when the midnight's deafening silence fill the air and the stroking of my pen and the rustling of the pages of a book accompany me besides the steam from a coffee cup. Brown. Bitter. Acrid. Each sip, a punishment. Each stroke, an excretion of thought that carries its own pain.

I read somewhere and saw a scene from a movie that speculated about what we were before we realized we were human. Why do people look at the stars and feel that long forgotten longing that's all at once familiar and all at once strange? Why do we love the wind in our hair and say we're flying even as our feet are firmly anchored on the ground and gravity weighs us down? Why do we feel the need to make things more than what they are, devoid of meaning, stripped of poetry and song? The answer apparently was that we were once capable of these things and that once, in our lives, our dreams weren't just dreams.

I envy the person who dreams, the artist, because dreams are so rare these days - at least, the ones that are not sullied by price tags hanging from their neck like a scarlet letter or a blue-grey spectre forever hovering yet never within the grasp of skin. Because dreams are priceless, and they ought to be.

I think dreams tell you a person's real soul and a soul that's for sale is no soul at all but a hollowed out piece of log, an empty trunk. There's something poignant about empty trunks. It pulls at you so heavily. Not unlike the feeling around a piano abandoned in the farthest corner of the family room, quietly gathering dust, bereft from the fickle attentions of the people that touched its ivory keys in passing.

Music is to be enjoyed, not analyzed. It is not structured. Not dusty lacquered wood and rusted pedals and strings that were once strung so tight to make each strike of chord soar. Music is not that abandoned piano. Because you can master the piano but the music is yours and your talent is yours and your fingers are moving not because the notes tell you to and "this is how it's done", but because your heart is singing and your fingers are connected to it by invisible strings. Heartsong cannot be taught, but it can be abandoned.

And when you sell your dreams, you are abandoning a part of yourself, which is more than just a part, but an essential ingredient that once lost is lost forever. Like rainwater in the heat of summer. Like dewdrops in winter. The first disappears into fine mist. The second freezes over. You can never return to what you were before the loss and before everything changed in this vicious, violent cycle of life. A relentless cycle of neverending dreams that's cruel and beautiful and brutal.

And maybe that's all there is to it: amid all this sweetness of soul is man's barbaric hands. These hands that kill, that pulse with heat and blood, are the very hands that sculpt your dreams from the void. Because the artist is not just soul. He is body, too. He is mortal flesh, a hungry creature that needs to feed on its own mortality, if nothing else. And that is why sometimes dreams have to be sold because there's a thirst somewhere in our body that can never be quenched by color on canvas or words on paper or music wrenched out from the violin... We are mortal. We are flawed.

And because of that we are prized.

And because of that we are priced.

Dreams for sale are cheap, but for those who have forgotten how to, they aren't. The dying art of make-believe is not dying. It is dead. Killed by the hand that gave it life.

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