Dreams in Other(s') Words

January is a time for goals, but I would rather speak in dreams. Dreams, I wanted to consider, in others’ words. Those words would be best selected from my exploration of the School Library Journal’s Best of 2020 list. I selected a filtered amount to be put on hold from the library. I carted home two cloth bags of books Only a handful read carefully. Others would be set aside after one chapter. Some would survive fifty pages before the pages flipped more quickly to find the ending instead of savoring the during. I wrote a list of favorites from the 2020 Book lists, picture, middle grade and young adult. (Feel free to Google on your own for the complete list. Some are harder to read than others.)


American as Paneer Pie by Supriya Kelkar

Clean Getaway by Nic Stone

Once Upon an Eid: Stories of Hope and Joy by 15 Muslim Voices edited by S.K. Ali & Aisha Saeed

When You Trap a Tiger by Tae Keller

Nana Akua Goes to School by Tricia Elam Walker

Tune It Out by Jamie Sumner

We Are Water Protectors by Carole Lindstrom

Punching the Air by Ibi Zoboi


The list above belonged to others’ but what about the word ‘dream’? I googled the definition of ‘dream’. After reading the first entry, I was surely disappointed, “a conception or image created by the imagination and having no objective reality”. I felt punched in the stomach, recalling the phrases I twirled around arteries and veins in my heart. Those words pulsed throughout my limbs. Their echoes had lingered in my lungs and nestled in the wrinkles of my brain. “No objective reality”. No. I rejected the first definition of dream. I scrolled to the second entry. I read, “something that one hopes or intends to accomplish”.


I wrote a summary of synonyms. (Feel free to Google on your own for the complete list. Some are harder to read than others.)


Daydream, delusion, fantasy, figment, hallucination, illusion, pipe dream, unreality, vision, mirage, brainchild, idea, fabrication, fiction, visualization, utopia, nightmare, aim, ambition, aspiration, goal, ideal, intent, objective, plan, point, purpose, target, plot, scheme, desire, hope, destination.


I compiled the list of synonyms, but where was I in my attempt to find many definitions in one. In truth, I read many stories in a short time, but as many others have also said, sometimes nothing happens for a long time, and then, everything happens. I sat and read the final novel, We Are Not Free by Traci Chee, on borrowed time. The original lending period had expired. Words, by more than one definition, were long overdue. I read and I bit my nails, something I had noted before each time I picked up a book. Nerves, I always attributed the nail biting to nerves. But, what if that was the other side of that energy at the same time? The other descriptions of dream. Not the anxiety nor the fantasy, but the purpose and determination. Maybe my teeth were an extension of focus and resolve. To bite and hold.


Still, as I had gleaned, skimmed, deleted and paused, one important connection point arose. It was the grayest of areas when I was in graduate school, and the word, in fact, is on the list. Fabrication. There is a moment, when something has not come into existence, yet it is real in the sense of its foreshadowing its existence. In the moment you grab hold, you stop to listen, you gather a bit of stardust, or matter. When there is matter, something can matter. It can exist. Dreams in other words and in others’ words are both. They are illusions and they are objectives. They are fantasies and they are plans. They are a closing of your eyes and an opening. In the words of Ijeoma Oluo in her most recent book, “Let’s tell these stories, so that we may learn how to write better ones to come.” Dreams in other words. Dreams in others’ words. Because, they are not simply stories, they are paths towards truths coming true.


Oluo, Ijeoma. (20220). Mediocre: The Dangerous Legacy of White Male America. Seal Press: New York.


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