Dreams comprise one of the great mysteries of what it means to call ourselves human. On one level of consciousness or another, we all have them. The point is one worth pondering as readers count down to the scheduled publication of Dreams of the Immortal City Savannah on May 1, 2019.
Some experience dreams as waves of imagination which light up our sleep with unusual images or suggestive narratives that fill us with curiosity, doubts, desires, fears, or inspiration. There are also those who consider dreams in more purpose-driven terms: as in concrete aspirations, hopes, or goals.
Historical figures like France’s Joan of Arc, Native-American Chief Sitting Bull, U.S. President Abraham Lincoln, abolitionist Harriet Tubman, entrepreneur Madame C.J. Walker, and scientist Albert Einstein all experienced dreams, in some cases referred to as visions, which impacted the course of history. Literary icons such as novelist Mary Shelly and Italian poet Dante Alighieri--not to mention more contemporary creatives like musician Paul McCartney--also experienced dreams which heavily influenced some of their most famous works. And then there was the Dutch artist Vincent Van Gogh who gave us these words: “I dream my paintings, then I paint my dreams.”
Story Synopsis: Putting a History-Making Dream
The phrase “Immortal City” as used in this chapter is borrowed from the title of the first volume of the four-book Civil War Savannah Series (by historian Barry Sheehy, photographer Cindy Wallace, and historian Vaughnette Goode-Walker) which in 2011 was published in commemoration of the American Civil War sesquicentennial.
Possibly the most important function served by dreams is that during periods of social, political, or personal stagnation, they can provide the catalyst for continued progressive movement forward. It was what Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s dream did for America at a time when the developing practices of democracy were stalled by racism, gender inequality, class prejudice, and other forms of social injustice. It is what the innovative visions of diverse creative thinkers around the world may be doing for humanity right now.
Harlem Renaissance Centennial
April 2019 will mark the first anniversary of Patton’s death and the third of Vann’s. Both were former members of the onlineCreative Thinkers International Initiative.
Trees Down Everywhere
“Following announcements of life-threatening hurricanes likely to directly strike Savannah, residents and tourists alike have often commented on how fortunate the ‘immortal city’ has been to defy these predictions. However, though nearly all agree it could have been much worse than it turned out to be, with Hurricane Matthew the luck ran out in 2016. Throughout the night when Matthew hits, the narrator struggles to prevent a friend’s house from flooding and the next day walks through city parks photographing uprooted trees. In addition, he shares what it was like to experience the psychic pressure of dealing with the hurricane while simultaneously…”
Ms. Patton’s choice and how it impacts all involved (including her recently-deceased son Moses Trappio III) makes for a compelling narrative to which many hurricane survivors around the world can relate. Her story is also one of the primary examples of how and why Dreams of the Immortal City Savannah is proving appealing as regional and world literature.
NEXT: The Month of April and Dreams of the Immortal City Savannah (part 2)
100th Anniversary of the Harlem Renaissance
"On our temperate side we have a series of songs in us, guarding us, wings of communication between our calm breath and our highest fevers..."
(R. Char from Put on Guard)
The hope to establish a balance between temperance and its opposite, heedlessness or chaos, so that a "series of songs" may flow unimpeded, is an important theme in "A Brazilian Thanksgiving in Georgia," the second story in Dreams of the Immortal City Savannah (ISBN 978-9388125956). In fact, the story might also have borrowed from Char's quote the phrase "Between Our Calm Breath and Our Highest Fevers" for an alternate title. This is the synopsis for it:
"One Thanksgiving holiday when people all over the country are gathering with family members to enjoy a good meal and each other’s company, the narrator makes peace with the fact that his estrangement from certain relatives will make the occasion a challenging one: for the widowed family matriarch he looks after, and, for himself. Having already resolved to make the best of a sad situation, he is surprised by a visit from two friends, a brother and sister from Brazil. In addition to several boxes loaded with traditional Brazilian food, they bring with them much-needed inspiration."
Determining the best strategies and practices when it comes to caring for aging populations is something impacting the lives of people around the world. While Traditional Elders may be the primary recipients of this care, Millennials, members of Generation X, and Baby Boomers are largely the ones charged with providing it. And members of Generation Z eventually will inherit the same responsibilities.
How well we accomplish the task before us with love and compassion or how miserably we fail has become one of the true 21st-century tests of what we like to call-- our humanity.
100th Anniversary of the Harlem Renaissance
Read More Blog-Notes on Dreams from the Immortal City Savannah:
“It is true that a person always remains a person and utterly separate and apart from every other person. But it is equally true that each person is destined to reach with others an understanding and a unity which transcend individuality…” (T. Merton from A Life in Letters)
These wise and useful words from Merton illustrate one of the primary themes of Dreams of the Immortal City Savannah (Cyberwit.net Publishing) which is the necessity of individuals and social groups to reconcile themselves with one another to achieve sustainable peace and mutually-beneficial progress. Merton referred to that necessity as though it were/is an inevitability described as "an understanding and a unity."
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. (1929-1968) called it "an inescapable network of mutuality" and the "inter-related structure of reality.” I have tended, for some years now, to think of it as a convergence of historical confluences which either align the priorities of individuals and societies with historical trends or place them in conflict with the same.
Navigating the Dynamics
One of the great compromises people sometimes have to make in life is accepting that plans do not always work out as preferred. In Cities of Lights and Shadows and Dreams, the author becomes preoccupied by a strange false memory of being in Paris, France, just after World War II, a time when a number of African Americans had made their way to The City of Lights. Tears in the fabric of this memory allow him to see himself in another later time in his hometown of Savannah where he talks with singer India Arie and others about the visit to Paris but which in fact has never taken place.
The story introduces the parallel themes of displacement, expatriation, attempted escape from painful conflict, and unavoidable return as the narrator imagines what it was like for author Richard Wright (Native Son, Black Boy) upon his arrival in Paris and struggles to make peace with the reality of his actual life in a very different time and place.
Or we can look at it this way: journeys and destinations are not one and the same. The first has to be engaged with a great deal of committed flexibility and enthusiastic perseverance before the other can be enjoyed with any amount of secured satisfaction whatsoever.
Co-Author of Encyclopedia of the Harlem Renaissance
Creator of Silk-Featherbrush ArtStyle
About the Author:
A passionate reader, committed writer, artist, photographer, dedicated practitioner of mindfulness, hurricane survivor, maker of poems, believer in the value of compassion, historian, award-winner, journalist, adherent of beauty, and student of wisdom.
100th Anniversary Of The Harlem Renaissance
2019 New Book Releases
2019 Spring Reading
2019 Summer Reading
African American Artists
African American Authors
Art By Aberjhani
Art For Sale
Author Richard Wright
Black Authors Born In Savannah Georgia
Black Authors Born In Savannah-Georgia
Blogs By Aberjhani
Books By Aberjhani
Books By Hans Rosling
Contemporary Southern Literature
Coronavirus And Georgia
Coronavirus And Savannah-Georgia
Coronavirus Impact In Savannah-Georgia
COVID-19 And Savannah-Georgia
COVID-19 Impact In Savannah-Georgia
COVID-19 Impact On Holiday Celebrations
Dreams Of The Immortal City Savannah
Encyclopedia Of The Harlem Renaissance
Essays On Art
Essays On Art And Literature
Essays On Literature
Eugene Talmadge Memorial Bridge
Historical Events In Savannah-Georgia
Historic Homes In Savannah Georgia
History Of Disasters In Savannah-Georgia
Indigenous African Americans Of Savannah Georgia
Indigenous African Americans Of Savannah-Georgia
Literature Of Commitment
Martin Luther King Jr.
Moses Trappio III
National History Day
Natives Of Savannah Georgia
Natives Of Savannah-Georgia
New Art By Aberjhani
New Books By Aberjhani
New World Writing
Nobel Laureate Albert Camus
Owens Thomas House Savannah Georgia
Owens-Thomas House Savannah-Georgia
Owens-Thomas House Video
Poet Rene Char
Quotes By Aberjhani
Quotes By Albert Camus
Quotes By Martin Luther King Jr.
Quotes By Rene Char
Quotes By Thomas Merton
Stories Out Of Georgia
St. Patrick's Day Celebrations
St. Patrick's Day In Savannah
St. Patrick's Day Parade
Telfair Museum Owens Thomas House
Telfair Museum Owens-Thomas House
The Year 2020
Vanda Trappio Patton
Writers Born In Savannah Georgia
Writers Born In Savannah-Georgia