The Fools Who Dream
Mr Moore tells me that he's constantly got some track or other playing in his head. That's rarely the case with me, but January proved to be an exception.
Ever since we went to see La La Land on the final afternoon of our Christmas holiday, I've found myself persistently humming the song that moved me to tears when I first heard it. Entitled The Audition (The Fools Who Dream) it marks the turning point in the hitherto lacklustre career of aspiring actress Mia.
Ostensibly, The Audition is Mia's recollection of an apparently foolhardy aunt whose avant garde lifestyle in Paris seems to have inspired her own sense of adventure, giving her the courage to follow her heart rather than her head and pursue a career in acting instead of settling for a 'safe' job. Spoiler alert! If you've already seen La La Land you'll know that although Mia does eventually make the big time, she pays a hefty emotional price for her professional success. But it wasn't Mia's tale of love sacrificed on the high altar of ambition that moved me to tears, it was The Audition's fleeting insight into the life of Mia's aunt who, despite never having achieved worldly success, died without any regrets as to her madcap, crazy life.
"My aunt used to live in Paris
I remember, she used to come home and tell us
stories about being abroad and
I remember that she told us she jumped in the river once
Leapt, without looking
And She tumbled into the Seine!
The water was freezing
she spent a month sneezing
but said she would do it, again
Here's to the ones
Foolish, as they may seem
Here's to the hearts
Here's to the mess
She captured a feeling
Sky with no ceiling
Sunset inside a frame
She lived in her liquor
and died with a flicker
I'll always remember the flame
She told me:
A bit of madness is key
to give us new colors to see
Who knows where it will lead us?
And that's why they need us
So bring on the rebels
The ripples from pebbles
The painters, and poets, and plays
I trace it all back
Her, and the snow, and the Seine
Smiling through it
She'd do it, again."
The Audition (The Fools who Dream),
Music by Justin Hurwitz, Lyrics by Benj Pasek & Justin Paul.
From where we're standing this message packs a hugely powerful punch. When we listen to it we don't just hear a song, we hear an anthem championing the cause and flying the flag for all those frustrated souls who are struggling to find their way in a world which rewards left-brain thinking, a world where process and procedure, productivity and the pursuit of profit dominate. Indeed, we interpret The Audition as being a hymn of praise to the right side of the brain, the source from which original thought and artistic expression emanate. It's the place where our imagination meanders across unchartered terrain, delighting in unexpected sources of inspiration and sweeping vistas of opportunity. Whilst the left side of the brain demands order and sequence, wanting everything to be packaged neatly with no loose ends or frayed edges, the right side of the brain craves a little chaos, knowing it to be essential to the creative spark. Of course, as The Audition acknowledges, that spark may never amount to more than a flicker, but it's the quality of the experience that matters most to this side of the brain. From this perspective, The Audition is a celebration and acknowledgement of the intrinsic pleasure to be found in exploring our creative potential, whatever form that might take and on whatever scale. The prospect of experimenting with a recipe when you get home from work or trying your hand at writing poetry, might not change anything external in your life, but it can transform the way you feel when you wake-up each morning, illuminating otherwise drab and dreary days with a sense of enthusiasm and ineffable joie de vivre. And, as long as your spirits are lifted, it doesn't matter one jot if you're not very accomplished. So if a voice inside your head says you're wasting your time, just smile and remember that there's nothing wrong in being a fool who dreams because, as Mia sings, "a bit of madness is [indeed] key to give us new colours to see."
© Pamela Moore 2017