Just more than a year ago I was honored to have an opportunity to write a guest post on this blog, entitled A Dream Deferred. In it I harkened back to dreams of my youth, confronted what for decades had stood in the way of their fulfillment, and spoke of what after all that time had helped me to believe it was never too late. The dream was to become a writer and at the time the post ran I had enjoyed some nice but still formative successes—some terrific guest post opportunities, some short fiction published, a few nibbles of interest in my novel.
Just more than a year later, I cannot yet report that I’ve been able to make writing my full-time job, but I have published more articles and stories, embraced and expanded my literary community and found a publisher for my debut novel, which will hopefully be out by late summer or early fall.
Your dream might be similar—to be a writer, an artist, a musician. It may not have anything to do with a vocation at all. Perhaps it’s a dream of travel, more time with family, more time for you. Whatever it is, I urged folks in last year’s post to remember that it was never too late. Though I’ve made some pretty decent inroads in the roughly 18 months I finally got serious about things, you must bear in mind I’ve kindled this dream since middle-school, at least. That translates to being more than three decades tardy, give or take. But I’m not stopping now.
I had shared how my young daughter, Rachel, already a kindred literary soul herself, had sparked me onward toward resuming pursuit of my dream. I touched upon how rather than letting the whole “life happens” thing—you know, a family, work, bills—continue to be an excuse, I finally started taking steps to incorporate pieces of my dream into pieces of my life, and vice-versa. The truth was, of course, that life did, does and will happen—and finding ways to successfully intertwine the two is no easy task, but the point was, it isn’t impossible.
Finding inspiration in my daughter’s innocence and candor was crucial for me. She helped me rediscover the why of my dream, the heart of it. I think this is pretty important. Rather than merely giving the occasional fleeting nod to a vague and nostalgic notion of our dreams, throw a lasso around it and pull it in, close to your heart. Why does it feel so nostalgic? Why has this been your passion, your dream, for so many years? More than anything, does the dream still effervesce within you, coursing through your veins in search of the right time, the right outlet, the right chance? Does your heart still beat for that chance?
My dream as I said is to be a writer and though I always harbored something of a talent for it, I knew that not only would the effort itself require heart, but so too any given project I took on as part of that pursuit, especially a novel.
Recently I spotted an old photo of me and my first two children. David was ten, little Rachel but two, and my hair was considerably darker than it is now, I’ll confess. Around that time I took David to one of the Harry Potter movies and I was so taken with his sense of wonder and awe that I determined that I would write a story for him, something also magical, with none other than David himself at the center of whatever world(s) I might build. I made a promise to him that no matter how long it might take (I didn’t figure would be quite this long!), I would write it.
Some pretty cool storylines and components for a Young Adult/Fantasy tale came to me but something was still missing to give me the oomph I needed to get started and fulfill my promise. I knew there needed to be more than magic and fantastical elements.
From the moment she’d arrived, David had been protective of his little sister. Once at a birthday party at a park I was with the kids and Rachel–not yet two–was playing in a field. I may have been distracted by my phone or whatever else but I recall a look of concern spreading over David’s face and he gave me that split-second “you’re the father aren’t you going to do something” look before realizing I was clueless and rushing over to his sister. An enormous, buzzing bee–unbeknownst to Rachel–was circling just above her. David had always had a pretty healthy fear of them, probably accentuated by his knowledge that his grandmother and therefore possibly he, was extremely allergic to their stings. But seeing that not only had his father not yet pieced together what was unfolding but that even if in that moment I had, it would now be too late, he shot in, scooped Rachel up in his arms just as the angry insect prepared to alight upon her, and backpedaled quickly out of harm’s way. A small thing, perhaps, but it moved my heart. He understood that his actions could be injurious to himself; so too did he understand that inaction could prove catastrophic for the little sister he’d already come to watch over with such vigilance and care.
And there it was, the heartbeat of my tale. The Awakening of David Rose. There would be magic and adventure and danger galore, but above all else the story of two children sticking together through all of it in hopes of discovering the truth and restoring their family to the way it had once been.
As mentioned completing the novel and securing a publisher took longer than hoped—you know, the life thing—and we have been blessed with another son in the time since the story was conceived (Rachel reminds me frequently that I MUST include Daniel somehow in the sequels. She also reminds me I must give her a bow and arrows in one of the stories too). David has likely forgotten that night, but Rachel has become quite interested in the story, and has even offered some pretty sage feedback and tips along the way. One of her favorite things at bedtime is “the description game,” wherein we give each other prompts for a story scene and we take our best shot at conjuring a few sentences of worthy description. Either way, I hope both kids will read it (and Daniel too, when he’s ready). They are its heartbeat, after all. If nothing else, nearly a decade later but what the hell, it is a promise fulfilled, and that feels pretty good.
So that’s the update, a year later. I’ve still a ways to go but there’s been some wonderful progress, none of which would be possible without finding that heartbeat. I hope you have made some strides in the journey of your dreams as well. If you have—congrats. If not so much—cut yourself some slack. Life does happen. But the heart of the matter is as it was: it is never too late.
Keep dreaming and believing.
Daryl Rothman’s debut novel, The Awakening of David Rose–a YA/Fantasy which is first in a series–is being published by Booktrope in 2015. He has written for a variety of publications and his short story “Devil and the Blue Ghosts” won Honorable Mention for Glimmer Train’s prestigious New Writer’s Award Contest. Daryl is on Twitter, Linked In and Google + and he’d love you to drop in for a visit at his website for updates, maybe a little banter and even some free stories. Daryl is not sure why he is speaking of himself in 3rd-person—like George, he likes his chicken spicy.
Daryl would love to hear from you! Your comments are also welcome on Gilda’s Facebook author page at https://www.facebook.com/girltalkwithgilda or send them to her on twitter at https://twitter.com/gildaevans, @gildaevans.
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Guest posts are the opinion of that author and do not necessarily reflect the opinion of Gilda Evans or others posted here.