From page 193-194: “Once upon a time I invented a phrase, 'the impossible dream.' People think it comes from a song, but it doesn't. It's from my original television play, I, Don Quixote. The phrase has gone into the language and traveled far and wide. It's been used (and abused) countless times, and will continue into the future. I invented it simply to explain Don Quixote's quest – indeed the song's proper title is 'The Quest.' But the public seized upon the eponymous phrase and won't let go.”
“'The impossible dream' has been used to promote everything under the sun and some in the shade. It's been used in sales pitches by General Mills, General Motors, and General Westmoreland. Also, by baseball teams and bidets and by sleazy politicians and by charlatans of all breeds and vocations.”
“Sometimes I'm sorry I invented it. Sometimes I feel I opened a verbal Pandora's box and wish it could be slammed shut again.”
“The odd thing about the phrase is that everyone seems to misunderstand it. “The impossible dream” is customarily applied to ventures that may be somewhat difficult but perfectly possible. A pennant for the Mets. A new spike in the company sales chart. An even faster computer (who needs it?) or possibly the latest sales burp in technology. When I see these references – and I see them every day – my impulse is to holler, “Pay attention, damn it, the operative word is not 'dream,' the operative word is 'impossible!'”
“Of course no one listens. But 'impossible' is exactly what I meant: the dream, to be valid, must be impossible. Not just difficult. Impossible. Which implies an ideal never attainable but nevertheless stubbornly to be pursued. A striving for what cannot be achieved but still is worth the effort. As, for instance, peace on earth. Or a gentleness for all who breathe, and breathing, suffer. Or a hope that we may mitigate the horrors paraded for us on the news every hour of every day of every week. That we may reduce the tidal surge of wars, crimes, cruelties to humans and to animals, and the orgies of atrocities that sicken the earth.”
“These are impossible dreams. Still, quixotically, they must be dreamed.”
– Dale Wasserman, 2003
I think you'd like the book. It's available from amazon.com and most other booksellers.
One of my goals is to get Wasserman to speak at Wizard Academy. I'm betting the amazing Dean Rotbart – one of our faculty (and a member of the board of directors) – can make it happen. – RHW
“If your life's work can be accomplished in your lifetime, you're not thinking big enough.”
– Wes Jackson
This week's Beaglesword was “blind.”
I'm not sure what next week's word will be.