My dream of writing and illustrating my own children’s book has been a lifelong goal. Since I was a little girl, I have held onto this desire and finally hope to achieve this dream in the next year, or two….or possibly 10. I’ve had many detours along the way, but I do feel these obstacles have served a purpose and valuable lessons on my journey.
When I was in fourth grade, I was especially fascinated by Caldecott award-winning author and illustrator, Chris Van Allsburg. I would sit for hours just staring at the precision of his pencil strokes, the flawless intricacy of his line work and lose myself in his worlds. In 1985, his acclaimed children’s book, “The Polar Express” was published. I still remember waiting in line for over two hours outside the Birdcage Walk bookstore in Sacramento. I begged my mom to drive down to the valley so I could meet Mr. Van Allsburg in-person and get his coveted autograph. It was cold, my mom kept asking me if I wanted to just leave and it was late by the time we finally got to his table inside. He was tired and all of his “Polar Express” books were sold-out.
I handed him my copy of “The Garden of Abdul Gasazi,” told him I loved his books and wanted to do what he does when I grow-up. (Insert cyber rolling of the eyes). Yes, I sure he had heard that a million times from kids, aspiring artists/writers and his neighbor’s dog, and wanted to go back to his hotel and pass-out from an exhausting book-signing tour. He was polite and said something along the lines of: “Practice your art, work hard and thank you.” My experience meeting Mr. Van Allsburg was merely a few minutes; however, I continue to cherish this encounter. I had made that verbal proclamation as a 9-year-old child and have carried that promise with me.
I feel my words have given validity to my intentions. My intent has been driven by years of passion, hard work, desire and love of writing, illustrating and adoration of children’s literature. I have also learned that fear has held me back on many levels. Fear of failure. Fear of rejection. Fear of success. With age has brought wisdom, perspective, and personal growth. I will not allow my self-imposed ‘prison’ hold me back any longer…I will honor myself and keep the promise I made to myself all those years ago. Perhaps I will never achieve this dream, maybe I will be hit and killed by lightening next month…who knows. I do know that I will do my best and surrender the rest.