A Faraway Look

Daydreaming is amazingly useful. No matter what teachers and bosses and impatient parents may have said over the years (never to me, of course, wink-wink), that pleasant fugue state of seemingly purposeless internal wandering is where a great deal of terrific, very purposeful invention and problem-solving happens. It takes us to inner regions where we are unencumbered by rules, editing, and logic, and can let the what-ifs of experiment and hope play together until, sometimes, they produce brilliant results that endless hours and years of study and labor might never have fostered. How can we expect to engender anything grand if we don’t aim for the seemingly impossible?Photo: Faraway

Consistent study and labor are, of course, quite necessary if we are to be able to even conceive of what exists and how we intend to alter it; to begin with no facts, no tools, no notions of probability or potential will inevitably leave us puzzling fruitlessly for ages before we ever approach a fantastic and outlandish idea, let alone a useful one. But once the seeds have been sown, we can’t assume that there would be no purpose in additional time and imagination spent on divining what to do when they begin to grow as well. The dreamers of the world have nurtured at least as much meaningful and helpful stuff as the mere scientists and scholars and brawny-brained geniuses have done, but with less hoopla, and it seems to me that we should be wary of working too hard to bring fantasists down to earth too soon.Photo: Fruition

Assume, when you see me in an apparently abstracted slide toward the comatose, that I am in fact inwardly journeying toward a dazzling insight or earthshaking invention or two, and leave me in peace. I shall emerge, in due time, bearing the harvest of this grand exploratory trip. Or at least I’ll have had a refreshing nap. I’ll happily leave it to you to determine the value of the difference, if any, between the two eventualities.

Pardon Me While I Gather Some Wool

I’ve already admitted to what I’m certain can have come as no surprise to you: that I was frequently in trouble during my school days for spending my attentions on observing things outside the window, counting the holes in the acoustic ceiling tiles, or mentally redesigning the architecture of the building rather than focusing on the requisite elements of discussion (I was too shy to speak up anyway, so what was I going to contribute there?) or question-answering (when I didn’t already have the entire assignment complete to my satisfaction I was the last one willing to offer a participatory guess anyhow), or perhaps at least getting some more study and writing done. That last was, of course, what I thought I was doing quite efficiently while I was apparently staring off into the ether, but the parallel actions I performed of contemplating Other Things were clearly not obvious ways of meeting class requirements, at least to my teachers and fellow students.

All I can say in response to this is that (a) I have managed to live a remarkably happy life and get a few useful things done along the way despite these obvious shortcomings of mine and (b) conformity is highly overrated. Oh, and (c): thanks to my wilfulness, I did get to grow up (relatively speaking, anyway) and follow a ‘career’ path that takes full advantage of–even encourages–such Frivolity as woolgathering, lollygagging and other highly refined forms of daydreaming. I’m an artist, y’all. So you will just have to sit by and suck it up when I choose to so use and/or abuse my time on a continuing basis. I take the liberty of assuming that if you’ve shown up here, and especially, if you’ve come by and still bother to return after seeing what I’m doing (or not doing), then you evidently either condone or at least tolerate such shenanigans on my part.

In that spirit, I’ll hand over, if not my actual homework for the day, a doodle of some other fanciful daydreamer, and we’ll call it good. Or good enough! And I wish you all, in turn, the freedom and ample opportunities to live in your own little fantasy worlds too, and if it suits you, to produce nothing more pertinent than whatever odd little items appear as evidence of these flighty fun activities of yours. Because I’m here to tell you, it’s a mighty fine way to have a life, even if it doesn’t make you a living.

Cheers!graphite drawing