When I was a kid, I used to sit on the back porch step and sing at the top of my lungs the lyrics to Frank Sinatra’s song, “High Hopes.” Just what did make that ant think he could move that rubber tree plant? I had no idea what inspired his crazy dream, but I loved that he achieved it, despite all odds, and despite the fact that no one believed he could.
I still sing that song, and still at the top of my lungs, only now it’s in the car or the shower or anyplace where the neighbors might not hear me. Because without high hopes, artists of any kind are doomed.
I wake up every morning thinking this will be the day that George Takei calls to tell me he wants to make The No-No Boys into a movie, or Jane Lynch e-mails to ask if she can perform my one-woman show, Dancing in Combat Boots, or the New York Times contacts me to do a story on this very blog.
Every day, I send off e-mails and make phone calls and grant interview requests and go to networking events and throw all kinds of spaghetti at the wall in the hopes that something will stick. And every day my husband shakes his head at me. Maybe he wonders when I’ll give up my high hopes and just settle for the good life I have. But that’s never gonna happen.
Because we artists are only as real as our highest aspirations. We may produce great work day in and day out. We may meet all our deadlines and run our businesses correctly and pay our taxes on time, but without those crazy high hopes, there is no real passion. And without passion, there is no joy. And without joy, there is no genius.
And whether we ultimately achieve our wildest dreams doesn’t really matter. It’s the quest that drives us forward. So go ahead and believe that you will be the one to cure cancer or beat the world record in ski jumping or write the next “great American novel.” And never stop believing it. Never stop working toward it. Because someday someone will do just that. Who’s to say it might not be you?