Monday, March 22, 2010

Dream A Little Dream With Me!

What is your dream? What is it that brings you so much joy that you can’t wait to get up in the morning and causes you to stay up too late to keep working on it? What makes your heart sing? What would you go to the ends of the earth to keep doing no matter who tells you it’s ridiculous or a silly, foolish waste of time? For me it’s writing.

I created my first book in third grade. That first taste was all I needed to set me on the road in search of the “Holy Grail” – how to break into the mysterious world of publishing. With numerous files of short stories, manuscripts, poems, and articles to my credit, it feels like my search is nearing a conclusion; the grail less mysterious and within reach. My book, Feather Gifts for all ages, is now entered in “The Next Top Spiritual Author”, a competition that has unexpectedly drawn over 2000 contestants world-wide.

Writing is my meditation and gift to the world, something I feel I came into this world to do. My passion was only strengthened when a high school guidance counselor tried to discourage me from my dream of being published, toward something he called “more substantial.” Fancying myself as a female version of “John Boy” from the long-running series The Walton’s, I persisted and the Universe, God if you will, carried me...

For many years I gave my written works away as gifts while studying whatever I could about how to be a really good writer. I self-published a newsletter for four years, submitted a few things to newspapers and magazines, and did manage to get some small pieces published. Then fifteen years ago, I began telling stories to children as a promotion at a Native American arts store where I worked in Madison, NJ.

I was out walking, wondering what to do for the story hour, when I found myself experiencing nature in a different way. I attribute this change to my exposure to Native American beliefs that everything has a living spirit, a prevailing theme in Feather Gifts and other manuscripts.

During the store promotion, I started telling my own stories out of respect for Native traditions that their tales are told only by Native people. I received invitations to tell at outdoor education centers, community centers, churches, scouting events, and schools. In my spare time, I sketched feathers and the idea to write Feather Gifts was born.

Years later, I was encouraged when a series of events led me to Ardath Rodale, late owner of Rodale Press, Chief Inspiration Officer of Prevention Magazine, and founder of Hillside School in Allentown, PA. Mrs. Rodale loved the book and by the time of her passing had purchased 30 copies printed on my home computer. I now wonder what may have happened if the relationship with Mrs. Rodale had continued.

I sold several more home printed copies here and there and was ready to print professionally when I discovered that the program I had used for layout was too old to transfer to modern equipment. Undaunted, I hired a graphic artist to re-create the book. Entering the contest seemed like the next natural step when I received an email from James Twyman, author and founder of the competition, who promised ongoing support, education, and exposure for the duration of the competition.

What’s most important to me is that my work will inspire you and bring you closer to loved ones and our earth to experience more joy, beauty, and fulfillment. My goal is to also send books to Native and other under-funded schools.

Round One of the competition (four rounds total) is largely dependent on popular vote between March 30 and May 3, 2010. PLEASE BECOME A PART OF THIS INTERNATIONAL EVENT BY SUPPORTING ME WITH YOUR VOTES!

And please, whatever it is, awaken your dreams and follow your heart. It may sound cliché, but it’s never, ever too late!

Many Blessings and Dreams,

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