This September many celebrated the birthday of Roald Dahl, the famous author would have been 100. I reread his book, The BFG, and knew I needed to share—Brave Tutu style—how Dahl’s words make me look up from my everyday life. Small moments with his small character Sophie took me into memories of family road trips. I remembered my Mom reading us the book and as the Texas terrain slowly passed by, I imagined I had a giant friend who let me ride on his ear as we galloped across entire countries. This possibility felt palpable. My hopeful imagination blurred the lines between dreams and reality.
Stories like Dahl’s were the blending artistic finger on my childhood canvas. His work has an affinity for dreams. In another book, James and the Giant Peach, a character claims: "Well, maybe it started that way. As a dream, but doesn’t everything. Those buildings. These lights. This whole city. Somebody had to dream about it first. And maybe that is what I did. I dreamed about coming here, but then I did it."
I found that nugget in USA today’s Centennial celebration of Dahl. This summer’s read reminded me of the BFG’s dream-giving. With love the BFG catches dreams with a butterfly net. Carefully, he curates them with divine intentions. For as longs as time exists, he provides beautiful stories for the world’s dreamers. With the same diligence, he captures the dark “bad dreams” and tries to keep them from away from sweet sleepers. As one can read in the book or see in the movie, those nightmares can be used as tools and strategically placed in appropriate settings. The dreams, shared by the BFG, are not unlike fireworks. He keeps these explosions of colors in jars and blows them into windows from his dream trumpet.
Sophie’s bravery has her bounding into battle with the giants, diving into the dream pool and boldly addressing the Queen. She asks the BFG about her dreams he carries. A part of his answer includes, “there will be times that are hard and times that are soft.” This moment was not in the book, but felt true to Roald Dahl’s BFG intentions— especially because some claim his book is a love letter to the 7-year-old daughter he lost.
With this scope in mind, I feel even more touched by the hopes the BFG holds for Sophie. In his tenderness, he plucks Sophie up more than a few times to keep her safe. However, he cannot do this her entire life. There are many sweet moments with the BFG, such as when he prepares Sophie for dream catching: “You stay where you is in my pocket, huggybee. We is doing this lovely bit of buckswashling both together.” These interactions reminded me of my inner 7-year-old courage and drew me back into the girl who sees life as explosions of vitality, often amidst a dark sky.
Thank you, BFG, for the gentle, giant reminder that dreams, not unlike fireworks, are explosions of fleeting color. They are sparks igniting our short lives. I’d like to reflect on my big and small dreams that abound in color. I’m going to pursue that book possibility for Brave Tutu and check out a potential partnership with a major nonprofit (more to come). As with this community, I need others to share their big dreams that begin with small steps. Which firework possibilities are you keeping in jars? When and how will you trumpet those into real life?
Your Brave Tutu (You’re Brave Too-Too)
-Take courage in delight. Discover power in small moments.
BONUS for your "tulle" belt from Dahl’s work courtesy of Esquire SG:
"I understand what you're saying, and your comments are valuable, but I'm gonna ignore your advice."
- Fantastic Mr. Fox
"A little nonsense now and then, is relished by the wisest men."
- Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator
"Never do anything by halves if you want to get away with it. Be outrageous. Go the whole hog."