Thursday, October 4, 2012

Story Teller

I want to write a book.  It has been my dream since I was a child.  I remember writing stories for my friends and reading it to them.  I recall there being bathroom humor involved...  But there was something about having the undivided attention of another human being, listening to your words and enjoying your illustrations.

When I started reading books to my children, I would get a little frustrated because babies just don't have attention spans that satisfy an adult's expectation.  But I kept reading because, you know, education people all say, "Read to your kids every day!"  Okay, so I want to be a good mom, so I am going to read.  Then as my son got older, I saw in him a growing delight over the stories I was reading to him.  I read the Chronicles of Narnia for the first time when he was only about 4 and a half.  By the time we got to the 7th book in the series, he was really engaged with the story and he was disappointed that it was over.  This is why I say first time I read it!  My daughter, who is 22 months younger was not quite there yet, but during that second reading of the series, she was becoming interested and captivated with the adventures as well.

A cartoon of my daughter.
My children like to ask me to draw for them.
They will never know how much
they have helped me get past myself to
become a freer, more creative person.
My children are my inspiration.  Life can be so practical and covered over with the to do lists and the bills that have to be paid.  Dreams get walked on like they paper wrappers from a sandwich.  They may have given you the steam to drive you to this place in your life where you can pay the bills and do the list, but since they were forgotten, despised or abandoned they are little more than trash to be tossed.  My children have opened my eyes to the world all over again as if I get a restart.  Watching them reach out into life and discover what i have become so familiar with, those ordinary things have become new to me also.  I notice a sunrise, new leaves, the force of the wind, the way people interact with each other.

Children are expected to have dreams.  We ask "What are you going to be when you grow up?"  Why do we stop asking that question of ourselves?  Even if the thing we wanted to be when we were a child is not what we want now, we can still ask the question.  What do I want to be, now that I am grown up?  A good mom, a faithful wife, a true friend, a loving daughter, a persevering follower of Christ... the list can go on.  So now I am remembering old dreams.  I wanted to write and illustrate books.  Funny because I think I can actually do it now.  When I was fresh out of school, I had not experienced anything but teenage frustration, anxiety and lust.  Not to say that those experiences are not story worthy, but I see now that I needed distance and new eyes to be able to tell the story.

Since I have been drawing pictures again recently and posting them on Illustration Friday, I am grateful for the encouragement from the folks who have taken the time to leave comments.  I have also been reading about the publishing industry and about the craft of illustration and writing.  I know it is no easy thing to undertake to become an author, but is anything worth doing ever easy?  Having children and building a family has been the most difficult thing I have or ever will do.  If God gives me the wisdom and strength to do this, will he not also give me the strength and wisdom to stretch myself and use my talents?  I believe he will even if the road is difficult and even discouraging at times.

Perhaps there is something you are dreaming of, a career change, a new home, a new community, a deeper relationship with someone you love, even God.  What can you do today to set your feet on a path that will draw you nearer to your dreams?  I would love for you to leave a comment.  Your story may inspire and strengthen me.  It may inspire and strengthen someone else too.  Sharing your dream may even be that first step you need to take.