Future Dreams theme for Winternachten authors

February 2004 -

Everyone dreams about the future. This is not something found only in a certain culture or society. Such dreams reflect the deepest of personal desires as well as something more: a shared dream, which in turn tells something about the group of people of which the dreamer is a part. This is what makes Future Dreams an appropriate theme for a selection of work by Winternachten authors.

Winternachten (Winter Nights) is a literary festival that was once again organized this year in The Hague. Authors from the Netherlands, Surinam, the Netherlands Antilles, Aruba and South Africa met in mid-January of this year, all of which are countries that share a colonial history. This year's theme was future@ideals.now.

Future Dreams is also the title of the thematic selection of work presented during the festival. This collection includes story excerpts and poems by some 43 authors. Chiara's Dream, a poem by Thea Doelwijt (Den Helder, 1938), easily reflects this theme:

Tomorrow we will continue on
in this country that is yours and mine
cutting lines in a lack of freedom
planting trees that stand tall
building houses on new ground
this is freedom for you and me.

The excerpt 'De goede arts' by Damon Galgut (South Africa, 1963) also undeniably deals with future dreams: 'The new land,' I said. 'Where is that, this new land?' 'Everywhere around you, Frank. Everything you see. We start all over again and build everything up again from scratch.'

Like most selections, the theme is much further away in most of the other excerpts. More than that: sometimes the excerpts seem more like memories than future dreams. Memories of lost friends, lost parents, a lost home land, thus when we read between the lines we find the desire for new love, a patch of soil that welcomes, a country that will change. Thoughts on being alone, and together. Emigration and coming home. Some of the contributions take on the nature of 'utopian thinking', as Dutch publicist Michael Zeeman says in the introduction: 'dreaming, fantasizing, criticizing, trying.' A perfect creative process that both explains and justifies straying from the theme.

Stemmen van overzee: toekomstdromen Various authors, € 12.50. (KIT publishers)