In defense of daydreaming

We are never real historians, but always near poets, and our emotion is nothing but an expression of poetry that was lost.

Gaston Bachelard, The Poetics of Space

 

in defense of daydreaming1

 shelter me from the storm

In defense of daydreaming2

lose me in the mists of time

Who gives a truer account of history? The poet, or the historian?

Thank you to Chris Bronsk and his excellent post repercussions for reminding me about and bringing me back to Bachelard’s The Poetics of Space, which I have always read and savoured as an unreserved celebration of the pure joy of intimate poetic expression. The power of the poetic image is something which transcends history, time and even language. It is able to speak directly to our consciousness without the need for translation or interpretation. Through poetry, we can connect with our past, and with our imagination. Bachelard believed that “for a simple poetic image there is no project; a flicker of the soul is all that is needed.”

I have always been a fierce defender of daydreaming, and make time for it every day. I believe it is more than ‘escapism’; daydreaming makes us more open to the possibility of poetry – both receiving it and expressing it. It gives us the opportunity to indulge our dreams, create and practice the possibility of alternative realities; to reflect, be brave and honest with ourselves, and speak directly to our weary souls which are generally neglected, bruised and battered by the necessary drudgery of the day-to-day. Indeed, Bachelard has also been linked with the surrealist project which advocated the practice of (day)dreaming, or dislocation from reality, as a deliberate political act. Ultimately though, daydreaming (the ‘irrational’ primitive realm of dreams, poetry and imagination) provides us with a counterpoint to rational thought, and can actually help us to live happier, more fulfilled lives.

Let us then safeguard reverie, as our rich inner lives provide a vital antidote to reality, and I hope that today you are able to carve out a little chink in your busy schedule for daydreaming.

 

 

© images and content Emily Hughes, 2014

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