To the Fools who Dream

I finally watched La La Land the other day and I loved it but particularly because I empathised so much with the two main characters who are in LA to make their dreams come true – one wants to be an actress and the other wants to own his own jazz club. Like most people with big dreams, they are struggling and are ready to give up when they meet.

When I was watching the film I actually asked my mum “do you think it’s better to have a dream but struggle to make it come true or not to have a dream to begin with?” The question hung over me all night. I don’t think there is a right answer. Like most things in life the grass probably seems greener on whichever side you’re not on.

I admire everyone who tries to make their dreams come true particularly in the creative world I find myself dreaming in because the struggle is actually real. It’s far easier to give up, to move on and try something else but then you’d have to live with the frustrating “what if?”  question – what if I had kept trying? 

The film deals with this question and the sacrifices you might have to make on your journey. I cried at the end of it. Sometimes a film feels like it speaks just to you. I was having a writer wobble when I watched it. It reminded me that for better or worse I am a fool with a dream. I will never know if I would be happier without my dream but I do know that giving up on it would make me unhappy. 

Once you have a dream it’s hard to shake off. We will struggle and we will fail and we will have those wobbles and wonder if we’re crazy to want to keep living this life. And yes I think we probably are! But we dust ourselves off and we keep on trying and keep on believing because we know that making our dreams come true is the journey we are supposed to make. 

Once you start dreaming it’s almost impossible to stop. There are always new obstacles to overcome, new ideas to inspire you, and the determination to stay where you want to be when you do make your dream come true. Once a dreamer, always a dreamer perhaps. I quite like this idea because then it is about the journey we go on and not just all about the destination. Maybe it doesn’t matter if you make all your dreams come true, it’s enough to have them and keep on working towards them.

I always come back to my favourite quote said by Walt Disney that “If You Can Dream It, You Can Do It” and I hope it’s true. That those of us who have a dream have it because we can make it happen. Even if it does drive us a little bit crazy.

Do you think it’s better to have a dream but struggle to make it come true or not to have a dream to begin with?




The bookshop dream

I recently read that Wimpy Kid author Jeff Kinney is opening up his own bookshop in the town where he lives. He isn’t the first author to do this – Nora Roberts, for example, also owns a bookshop which her husband runs in their hometown.  There seems to have always been a bookshop fantasy for writers – not just for our books to be stocked on the shelves, but also a fantasy of owning our own one.

I think it’s a great idea that successful authors are taking on bookshops. It’s not an easy climate to run any kind of independent shop but especially bookshops which have seen decline and even large chains have struggled to keep up with online retailers and the rise of ebooks. A big name may well draw in customers, fans of the author will no doubt pop in for a signed book or the chance to see their favourite author behind a till, but also authors in general (I hope anyway!) love books. They make ideal bookshops owners because of their passion for books and their desire to encourage everyone to read more.


I have a feeling my fantasy of owning a bookshop started by watching the film You’ve Got Mail, even though that store closes during the film. I remember being scared about going to university and telling my mum I wished I could just buy a bookshop in the country instead! I am also certain that my love of books is the reason why it always seemed so appealing, to be surrounded by my favourite things every day and helping people discover wonderful books always seemed like a dream, and very rewarding, job.

Like any fantasy, you tune out how difficult it would be to start up your own bookshop – you’d need money obviously, a good location where you’d be able to draw in regular customers, and a strong business plan to make sure you didn’t fold in the first year. That’s why it’s great that authors like Jeff Kinney are taking on the task, he obviously has the money to pour into the business and the passion to really make it work. I am looking forward to seeing how it all works out and whether it will encourage more authors to take the plunge.

I also hope a British author can do the same thing one day as their shops would be easier for me to visit!

Do you have the bookshop fantasy?