It seems there are two ways to dream. One occurs in the sleep time, when you drift away in sleep and your mind is being reprogrammed naturally with no input from you and a dream of one kind or another, unique to you, takes place despite you. The other is the personal shift you take to imagine the inclusion of something that at the time may seem unlikely, impossible or possible with a few nudges along the way. It’s the latter I want to talk about.
When I was young, 14 years old or so, I dreamed of becoming a woodworker. Had I been older, 21 or so, with a degree course under my belt, I might well have had to dream about changing direction. I know many young people who dreamed of becoming furniture makers, went to college to gain a degree in that sphere, and now push MDF into teeth and blades and cutters most of the day. After a decade or two, “in the real world.” they dream of becoming a woodworker still. Actually, that’s almost all of the “professional” woodworkers I know.
But the dream I am speaking of is more likely to happen in amateur woodworking realms than so called professional ones. I was in Blackwells Art & Poster shop in Oxford yesterday and saw a hundred titles on any category you care to name ranging from Art to Architecture and then hundreds more in subcategories. Looking at the upright splines as I searched, I realised that most books are indeed about dreaming to be someone else or at least allowing part of yourself to become partly something else which in my view is to become wholly something else and thereby more whole. You see, I have already talked about our course toward ‘becoming‘. Depending on your vision for what you envision becoming you actually become whatever it is as soon as you assume that role. When I left school at 15 I was no longer a schoolboy but a workman. When I started to work with wood at 13 in school I became a woodworker. When I completed my apprenticeship I became a craftsman. Ultimately I became a master craftsman and a crafting artisan. Ultimately, what I dreamed of at 13 and 14 was no longer a dream at 15 then 20 and then 50. I’m not sure if the books I looked into in the architecture section had enough information to learn architecture from. In fact I knew it didn’t. To become a working architect you must be qualified and licensed. Can’t have any old odd bod throwing up plans for multi-storey buildings without the ability to beam stress test. But thumbing the pages made me think about those who dream. Books on architecture are mostly about inspiring, but I suspect the book buyers buy mostly to look at the work of a few dozen architects. On the other hand books that teach say design or drawing, woodworking and such are mostly about creating. These books are both about dreaming and becoming. About taking steps to develop ability. It is this that takes us into a dreaming where the dream can indeed become a lived reality. You look down the splines for a title. the title grabs you and you pull the book from the rest. The cover speaks to you and before you know it you’ve sat down somewhere quiet and the dream begins.
If woodworking is something you have dreamed of through the years, I think it is important to pursue it. There is something deep inside calling to you. It would be a shame not to become who you should become. I am planning three different things to become in the coming years. three things I want to master in my lifetime. I once dreamed of becoming a writer and I wrote many a dozen articles for magazines and never had a single rejection.
I once dreamed of writing a book and wrote several. Two are published and I have some more to bring up to date before they eventually go to press. I recall the first few efforts at presenting that seemed to me a disaster, and then Joseph took over and they became extraordinary experiences for me and I present almost every day. Some things you need college to qualify in. Thankfully my craft never will. Anyone and everyone can become a woodworker and own standards that far surpass any qualification you might need to get a job working. Actually, surpass some so-called professionals. Don’t you just love that?