Where Dreams Take Us

As a speculative fiction writer, I do a lot of dreaming—about spaceships, mythical creatures, and more. I often wonder whether the stories I weave from these dreams really make a difference to anyone else.

But the lives of all people on our planet are interconnected. Thus, the work each one of us does—even if that work is just scribbling stories in isolation—could have a profound impact on someone else’s life one day—and hence, on the world.

Here are two real-life examples:

Mae: Mae, an African American girl, grew up on the south side of Chicago in the 1960s. She watched a science fiction show called Star Trek by Gene Roddenberry, and a character named Uhura inspired her to reach for the stars. In 1992, Mae Jemison blasted into Earth’s orbit aboard the space shuttle Endeavour, becoming the first woman of color in space.

Jane: A British girl named Jane used to climb a beech tree at her family home, and from up in that tree she read the Tarzan novels by Edgar Rice Burroughs. She daydreamed about life in the forest with Tarzan and the apes. Many years later, Jane Goodall became the most renowned chimpanzee researcher in the world.

Did Gene Roddenberry know that Nichelle Nichols’s character on his show would be a role model for the first female African American astronaut? Did Edgar Rice Burroughs anticipate that his adventure novel series would inspire a young girl to become a groundbreaking primatologist? No. These two writers both just dreamed their own dreams and wrote them down, and that spark caught on in the hearts of others and became a flame that changed the world.

What about you? What are your dreams? And where will your dreams take you?