Don't dream it.....
Recently, I was lucky enough to see a live production of The Rocky Horror Show at the Peacock theatre in London. I can't express quite how much I loved it!
I first saw the Rocky Horror Picture Show (the movie) many years ago in a dodgy little theatre called the Mini-cine Cult in Johannesburg, South Africa. It had been banned for years in the country because of its `immoral' content. I instantly loved everything about it - the weirdness of the characters, the boundary-pushing and, of course, the music.
The live performance in London didn't disappoint - great set, super over-the-top performances and brilliant singers, packaged up in sparkly, suspender-belted, corseted escapism. Just fantastic!
The show is a 70's conceived madness, and not much about the plot bears scrutiny, but I came away uplifted and inspired.
The soundtrack is full of wonderful sing-a-longs (Time Warp, anyone?), and also really memorable lines. `Over at the Frankenstein Place' features the line: `there's a light in the darkness of everybody's night.' How lovely: the idea that there is something wonderful out there, no matter how tough the times. But the line that really reverberated for me this time around, was Frank-N-Furter's penultimate song, which repeats the line: `don't dream it, be it.' (Don't Dream It Be It - YouTube)
Granted, in context, the character is talking about being completely (and quite immorally, depending on your perspective) hedonistic, but the words themselves are powerful. Of all the stuff we dream - surely sometimes we should stop dreaming and be. Which is not to say that I am condoning anything the (fictional -remember) character of Frank-N-furter does, but rather the ideas of dreams becoming real. And surely this is what drove the writer of the show, Richard O'Brien to create this (dare I say it?) modern masterpiece? According to Wikipedia, he was out of work and wrote the play in order to keep himself busy. It was born out of his love of Science Fiction and B movies and set against a stage of Glam Rock. I wonder how many people looked at the script and thought `what codswallop!' I wonder, as O'Brien was thinking up Frank-N-Furter, did he have a crisis of purpose - did he wonder if it would work? Or did he think `Sod it all! Don't dream it, be it...'
And maybe that is what every creative has to do - no matter how the work doesn't fit the expectation, no matter that those around may not approve/like it, no matter that you are afraid that the whole world will think what you have produced is flawed - maybe we should stop dreaming and start being.
I say this because in the last week I have taken a leap of faith. After approaching a publisher (sorry, not quite for us...) and an agent (nothing at all...) I decided to put my novel, `Like Water', out into the ether to see what happens. I uploaded it to the reader-powered site, Inkitt and posted a link on my facebook feed. I can't deny that it has been nerve-wracking. I know that there will be people out there who hate it. I know it is exposed in all its shortcomings - but it is written and needs to be somewhere. My friends (because they are my friends), have been lovely and even my dad has had a read. Thank you.
Now `Like Water' is out there - waiting for those who don't know me - open to criticism. If Inkitt (a site that seems rather dominated by books about werewolves) stirs up a lot of readers, there is a very vague chance of it being published. In the mean time, I can revise those points people have raised and maybe have a go at self-publishing in the near future. It's a long, scary road, but I think maybe I will keep trying to `be it' rather than `dream it.'
* Should you want to read `Like Water' and comment, you can do so here: Like Water by MJWhyman at Inkitt