Marlon Brando: Get Back To The Dream

Interview with the Author
By Telephone
July 1990

You have this assignment to complete for Tennessee, and I think you should, but it's really a prelude to what you--and I--should be doing every other second of our lives. Every single person you pass or love or scorn is walking with a dream that lifts them from the ground and gives them some comfort. The dream gets tapped regularly, through daydreams or rages or smearing on a canvas or banging a drum or a piano or putting words on paper.  Everybody is walking around sharing--or trying to share; hoping to share--their story. We have to listen to these stories. This is what binds us together. We have to rise above this reality that is our fate.

It can never be enough. It never should be enough.

People got together and invented religion, so that they could manage to smile and wander through the pain and the boredom of daily life. Yes, they would say, I muddle through with my pointless job and my loveless mate and my selfish friends, but a reward awaits me in Heaven; God knows the purity of my soul. Once a week I can sit in my best suit among other disaffected people and sing and hold on for release from these burdens.

We invented religion and we invented art. I think art came first. I really do. I think some bored person drew something on a cave wall and gave it a voice and the first entertainer was born. A long, cold night passed quickly because of some amusement and some color. And this is all around us. Everyone who became an actor or a writer or a dancer has stories of those people--so-called ordinary people--who gave them characters and a desire to replicate moments in life.

There are no ordinary people. Remember that. Find the story and you'll realize how much you've been passing by; how many riches you've been ignoring.

The goal of dreaming--and art is a dream suspended, briefly--is to re-create, to remember a life we loved or a life we wished we had lived. We struggle toward it. My mother--and Tenn's mother--cried, happily, when certain records were played. In a dark room, curtains drawn on the limited, real world, they cried to Glenn Miller and the Andrews Sisters and remembered being young and loved and hopeful. Or did they listen and wish they had been all of those things in that time? It doesn't matter. Tell the story. Hear the story. Share the story.

We rush away from dreaming and telling stories to get on with business, to be adults, to just get by. This is one of my definitions of artistic suicide. Find some others. Avoid it.

Share the stories.

Get back to the dream.

© 2013 James Grissom
From Artistic Suicide


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