freedom dreams

June 10th, 2020

The dreams go like this: I board an airplane and soon after we take off there is a loud boom like a shotgun blast from behind me. We are going down. Or I’m on some kind of a boat that I need to get off of but my baggage is below deck. I run through dark corridors to find my things but they are lost and we are sinking. Or my plane is in the air but I look down and see that we are flying impossibly low over roads and trees, just a few hundred feet off the ground, veering around buildings that tower above us, and I know I won’t survive.

I wake and wonder if I’m having these dreams because I need to get out of the house after three months of confinement. That it’s the virus, the president, the police, the social upheaval, the chaos that haunts these futile efforts to flee.

But then I realize the share of humanity whose dreams are not like mine at all. Their nightmares are lived in broad daylight, their faith and solace shattered every moment by the failed promise of freedom, safety, and belonging.

I’m only beginning to wake up.


Friends helped put together this list of Fiction to Change Minds, a selection of powerful novels that help us see the truth beyond our own. Whether you are a reader or a writer, a student or a teacher, it’s a way and a place to start.

Photo by Yulia Agnis on Unsplash


  1. I was gobsmacked by an item on the BBC news a few weeks ago about the cleaners of Manhattan, living in the Bronx and Queens. Many of them immigrants, many illegal, most of them can not afford their own house, so they live in shared rooms sometimes with ten people each.
    When you think about “belonging” somewhere I think of a house, a family. These people care for places where other people belong, and go home to a place that does not belong to them and that in no way quells the longing to belong somewhere, to be at home.
    Heartbreaking is too gentle a word for that. These people will come and haunt us.

    Comment by Simone — June 11, 2020 @ 3:56 am

  2. “I’m only beginning to wake up.”
    Me too.
    It’s such a shock, like a plunge into cold water.
    All the best.

    Comment by Gemma — June 11, 2020 @ 10:33 am

  3. Thank you for making it to your keyboard once more!

    Comment by Larry Misiak — June 11, 2020 @ 11:05 am

  4. So many wonderful books on that list! I will add some of these to others that I am reading. These are hard times, but it is nice to see something positive happening right now.

    Comment by Alice Martin — June 11, 2020 @ 12:04 pm

  5. “I know I won’t survive” or worse, that I will.

    Comment by MJ — June 12, 2020 @ 4:24 am

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