Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Keeping the Dream Alive

My family and I were blessed to visit Kris and her family in Germany last summer, and take a whirlwind tour of parts of Europe. I not only learned interesting facts about European history and culture (The Pieta is the only piece Michelangelo signed; don’t touch the fruit at the French open-air markets unless you enjoy public scorn and ridicule; Spongebob Squarepants transcends the language barrier) but also discovered some facts about myself and my family. Like, I have an unlimited capacity for French cheese and coconut gelato. Like, no matter how much beer I drink in Rome, I will never get drunk when I walk around in the July heat. Like, even though I haven’t practiced Catholicism in decades, it still feels right to make the sign of the cross in a Cathedral. Like, I can see God in the sun rising above St. Peter’s Basilica. Kris and I both noted something about our children at the Louvre. (And, yes, we took three boys, ages 4, 5, and 7, to the Louvre for 5 hours and it was, miraculously, wonderful.) Our kids speak in pop cultural references. The mummy at the Louvre warranted a Scooby Doo reference, naturally. Raphael and Michelangelo? Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. There we were, in the middle of this amazing museum, in the heart of culture, and our kids were referencing cartoons . . . Kris and I winced more than once. But, in retrospect, I understand. Of course our children speak in pop cultural references . . . the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. A quick look at our blog shows that tv shows and movies and books color our lives. It's also evidence that we have a particular affinity for pop culture from the ‘80s. And, apparently, there's a special place in my heart reserved for the Coreys. I’ve already referenced The Lost Boys; this time, it’s The Goonies.

If you haven’t seen The Goonies, you’re missing out! If you haven’t watched it in years, watch it again. (It holds up well, but you’ll be surprised at the incessant swearing. I suppose it says something about how sanitized adolescent movies have become that I flinched each time the “S” word was uttered. ) Remember that scene when the kids are below ground searching for One-Eyed Willie and they find a mountain of coins? They all start screaming “treasure!” and stuffing their pockets and thinking they’ve saved their family homes from the big bad developer until Mouth (Corey Feldman) stops them. He stands on the coins, water streaming down his face, and tells them they can’t take the coins. They’re at the bottom of a wishing well, and the coins represent wishes. To us, he says, the coins are treasure, but to the people who tossed them down the well, they are dreams. And you can’t take someone’s dreams.

We received two rejections from editors in the past few days. They complimented our writing style and noted that the book had much to offer, but passed for various reasons. I get it; to them, the book is a commodity. Especially in this market, they have to know they can sell it. But I can’t help wanting to scream, “it may be a commodity to you, but to us, it’s our dream! Don’t take our dream!” I just have to keep reminding myself, other editors are considering the book and, at the end of The Goonies, the kids find treasure after all.