Hold Fast to Dreams
My dream was always to be a writer and to write children's books. My friend's mom told me in 5th grade, when she came to teach us about careers, that I would never make enough money as a writer and maybe I should think about something else. "What about a teacher?"
I love teaching. However there is some part of me that has always wanted to belong to that community, the family of writers, the people who could tell stories and make you laugh weep cry wonder think. I wanted to bring stories to people who didn’t have them. I wanted to give a voice to those who couldn’t speak. Teaching lets me do this in many ways but I have always held a place in my heart for that spot in that other place that I haven’t been able to belong.
When I started this blog four years ago it was with the idea that my dedication to “the magical world of children’s literature and a dream come true” would set the foundation for my place in the family of writing. I thought for sure this world would recognize the stuff my dreams were made of. They would know that this was always a part of me and what possibly took me so long to get there.
Little things happened. I started going to events, I started asking questions, talking to important people in the world of children’s literature. But the open arms weren’t there. Their embrace of a long lost family member never happened. I was told by an “expert” that all the books I loved were the wrong ones. Clearly I wasn’t thinking enough about what children’s literature really was. I felt like I was in middle school all over again. “You dress like a poor person,” was how they told my I didn’t belong then. “You just don’t know,” is what I’ve been told now.
|Cheers to all the "wrong books"|
Text from Brown Girl Dreaming
Still, I’ve struggled to keep up, like the middle schooler I was back then, doing everything I could to find my place in this world I so deeply wanted to be a part of. I tweet. I blog. I follow. I attend.
This summer, the popular group started posting about a book they all loved. And I thought, “I am going to read THAT book and then they will like me!” So I looked it up. The book hadn’t come out yet but they all had an early released copy. Every day I read another important person talk about this book. They tweeted. They blogged. I felt left out again. I was too poor to read the book ahead of time. So I pre-ordered and awaited its release.
Monday my cat passed away. Thursday I got the call that my time had arrived, my book was available.
|I felt my voice and my heart in these|
words from Brown Girl Dreaming
This morning, I sat and read the whole thing in one sitting. It was everything they said it was. But it was more for me. I may not belong to that group, but I did belong to someone. In the past 16 years as I struggled to find my place among friends, at jobs, in my dreams, Nikolas James Pumpkinhead came with me. I told him my stories, sang him my songs, cried in his orange fluff when my heart broke. In this book I read today, words washed over the new hole in my life and gave it a voice when I haven’t been able to speak. This book started to heal my heart. No group can take that away.
So I may not be a part of the popular group. Your world may not follow my tweets or read my blog. But today I realized I truly don’t give a fuck. I’ll keep reading the wrong books and the right books and keep writing even though it doesn’t make me any money. You may know all the publishers, you may be able to afford to have my favorite authors come visit your students, you may all get advanced copies, but you can’t take the change that happens in my heart whenever I read and whenever I write. That is my new dream come true.
|Me too, Jacqueline and Langston, me too|