May 21, 2011
Just a Dream
Just a Dream by Chris Van Allsburg
Illustrated by Chris Van Allsburg
Last night I had the pleasure of being one of 500 people selected to spend all night inside the New York City Library. We took part on an special event called "Find the Future." It was a sort of scavenger hunt where we had to find 100 artifacts hidden all over the library, and each time we found one, it would unlock a writing prompt on the game's website. The goal was for all of us to collectively write a book overnight. And we did it! They book will forever be kept at the library and if you're ever in NYC you can go check it out at the 42nd street library branch. It was one of the most memorable nights of my life and one of the points we kept going back to was thinking about the future: where we'll be, what we'll have accomplished, what our hopes and dreams about the future are. On that note, Just a Dream is a good pick for my book log tonight.
Walter is on his way home and after finishing his usual afternoon doughnut, he throws away his napkin on the street. Right before he walks into his house, he sees his neighbor Rose planting a tree she has just received for her birthday. Walter makes fun of her and her gift and hope he is "not getting some dumb plant" for his upcoming birthday. That evening, Walter takes the trash out but doesn't separate the recyclables and just dumps it all in one can so he can run inside to watch TV. At night, Walter falls asleep thinking about how much he would love to live in the future, with robots and personal planes...but instead of dreaming about that future, Walter starts having multiple dreams about a horrible place. There are no trees because they are all chopped down to make toothpicks, fisherman cannot catch enough fish because the ocean is so polluted, his old neighborhood is completely covered with trash, smokestacks are everywhere and there is a Hotel on top of Mt Everest. The next morning, Walter runs out in his pajamas, picks up the garbage, separates the recyclables and is thrilled to get a tree for his birthday. In his next dream, he sees a future with luscious yards and beautiful trees.
Here it to finding a future where we have learned to take better care of out planet!