What I Meant to Say

Wendy Babiak's Visions and Revisions

Dream vs. Reality


A first book of poems is rather, I’m discovering, like a marriage. One has ideas for a long time about what it’s going to be like, and confrontation with reality can be a little distressing. I spent the morning vivisecting five of my poems because the publication format was too narrow for their expansive lines. What a downer.

Yesterday I got totally sick of my own face, trying to choose an author’s photo. I finally settled on one that doesn’t bother me too much, but after I’d sent it off someone pointed out to me that it has a tree growing out of the top of my head.

I’m reserving hope that, like with marriage, after I’ve come to terms with reality, it turns out even better than I’d imagined, just different.

Author: Wendy Babiak

Poet, permaculturalist, lay Carmelite. Pretty sure the world needs more love and less politics.

2 thoughts on “Dream vs. Reality

  1. I am totally leaving any comments about marriage alone (since I’m your husband) and one doesn’t get to be a husband of 18 years without learning how to let sleeping dogs (like pms, bad mood days, and clothing/book photo angst) lie. Old men are practiced at the arts of hair migration to the back and the ears, as well as female-artist safety/space zone creation. 🙂

    But regarding the reality/ideal discrepancy, I had thought earlier watching you go through this struggle (remember, young men, silently observing) how universal this dichotomy may be. While I disliked Plato much as a youth, as I grow older, I can see how, as they say, all philosophy is but a follow-up on Plato. Although I’m no artist, I have tried to compose music now and then, and I’ve even tried to model some special moments in the art of language, maybe not hitting poetry per se, but writing something. And, for example, in the final mixdown from the multi-track to the .wav file, all of the sudden that wonderful swirling sound I had designed for hours to resonate with some reverb, is – well – just gone. Or my wonderful moment is just another awkward scribbling of an amateur’s self-absorbed minutiae, about as enlightening as a Twitter post on what sandwhich to try for lunch. But as you point out on marriage, this dichotomy is universal in human activity. In my job as a psychiatrist, I often want to provide this life-changing care to every individual I touch, but this health care plan won’t approve that medicine or more visits, or I could have used that second cup of coffee or eighth hour of sleep, or maybe a Big Mac and a caramel sundae was not the most focusing lunch I could have had, or how am I going to pay that bill by that date in full, etc etc. And so, nothing magic happens in that appointment, and I stumble on to the next unrealized ideal opportunity to be destroyed by the unfitness of the moment and circumstance of reality.

    I think Plato may be right, as our cognition, our morality, our artistic aspirations may lie in an ideal realm, the special and not fully understood domain of consciousness and freewill, and all science, art, and human labor are to bring forth that eternal truth from whence we come and to where we go to rest like a blown-out candle, but the bronze hoops are copies of ideal circles, and all the horses just limping old nags, mere copies in clay, ink, or even flesh, of the ideal mare.

    And forgive the above language and length of time I took to post, Wendy. As Brian Regan says, “I’m not even uni-lingual. Oh you know i can order at restaurants and stuff like, ‘One ham for the eating!’ “

    • Who are you, Cicero? You’re not going to say anything about marriage, but then go on to mention PMS, etc. Ha! And no need to ask forgiveness for your loquaciousness. I’m used to it.

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