I find myself living in a different world lately—one not so different from the one in my imagination. At moments, I am physically present in places that remind me of my dreams—meaning sleeping dreams—and also the dreams that are my aspirations in life.
My husband and I visited Universal Studios recently and were completely captivated by the world of Harry Potter. I am a huge Harry Potter geek. I have all of the books, movies and even the audio books. I am officially sorted into “Gryffindor” on pottermore.com, and delightfully enough, my husband is officially a member of “Slytherin” house.
When we entered Diagon Alley at the theme park, I became quite emotional because I felt like I had come home. I was physically entering a place I had only dreamed could become a part of my real life. As I left the park that day, after drinking Butterbeer, eating in the Leaky Cauldron and literally taking in the scenery, I realized that this imaginary land is no less real than the street I live on. There is community, good food, excitement, hope, thrill and whimsy. I feel alive in it. I come alive in it.
Growing up in the theatre, I often fantasized about plays and musical I would one day perform. But I also lived in this dream world where I worked alongside those performers who were my idols. In that dream world, I stayed content, knowing that in reality, I would always somehow keep those superstars of the stage far enough away from me to feel separate—to keep them exotic and me plain.
Yet recently, one of my all-time favorite Broadway stars, called me on the phone and asked me to direct a musical with him. I remember feeling like I was in Harry Potter land all over again. I was sitting on my back porch in the mountains watching my hound dogs play in the yard. I saw I had received a voicemail. Neutrally, I check the message. When I heard his voice and his request for me to call him, I was in shock. All of sudden, I could taste Butterbeer in my mouth. I could see the vaulted ceiling of The Leaky Cauldron. I was the star of the Quidditch team.
The dreams of my imagination and the dreams of my career were merging and all of it was real and happening. I am still deciphering this swirling of atmosphere that I continue to dance in. What I do know is that there is a real Hogwarts out there, and I am flourishing in and out of its doors, dancing with the exotic and the plain, and living in a dream that is more real than anything I have ever been able to create in my sleep. I like being awake these days.