What makes some people’s dreams come true?

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Coming off a successful weekend at the PNWA Writer’s Conference, where I signed my book for people who actually paid money to read it, it struck me that a dream I’ve kindled in my heart for years has finally come true. I’m an author.

Looking around the conference I saw others with big dreams. You know the look: the fluttering hand at one’s breast, the rapid speech, the flush of possibility aflame in one’s cheeks.

Perhaps that’s why I love to ski. Gazing at a mountain, something bigger than my fears, I dream of skiing it, arcing across the steep slopes, gliding through the powdery bowls to feel my heart knock at my ribs, suddenly weighty with potential. Our ordinary days have a way of chiseling down our dreams, knocking off chunks of the granite vision, revealing, perhaps not the masterpiece we knew was hidden inside but instead just ordinary rock—crumbling and dusty.

The mundane work of the day to day—getting words on a page, driving to work in the rain, when we know it’s snowy somewhere in the mountains, lacks meaning when put up against the big moments. We set aside dreams for the practical, chip away at the masterpiece until it no longer stands quite so tall.

Maybe that’s why we root for the underdog. Our souls climb a little higher when Rocky knocks out Apollo Creed to become the heavyweight champion. We know, deep down, that if he can do it, maybe we can too.

My new writer friends clamored around my table at the author signing last night, thrusting their new copy of my book in front of me to sign. They were rooting for me.

What makes some people’s dreams come true?

Is it luck? Hard work? Something else entirely?

I’m not entirely sure, but I suspect it has to do with risk. Only when we put ourselves out there, conjuring dreams too big to hold, risk exposure and failure and utter ruin, that we even have a chance. Squirrelling away our potential like a bank account saves nothing. Only by exposing our granite dreams to the elements, maybe chucking away the shelter of the staid, can the true masterpiece emerge.

It would have been easier not to write this book. I could have clutched John’s recovery to my breast, clutched it so tight that no one could pry it loose. I didn’t have to fray our lives into separate strands to be followed and teased out of the tapestry, doing the hard work of making sense out of pain and struggle. But I did. I could have written this book for myself—kept it within the pages of my journal, just ramblings and musings of a dreamer. Instead I have exposed it to the world, unclasped my hands to release it.

Dreams can be frightening, unwieldy beasts, and it’s no wonder so few ever realize them. But I know the feeling of triumph. I learned it on the slopes, when the impossible suddenly becomes possible, when my skis snake through in just the right sequence of turns to make me feel like I’m flying. I know, now too, the weight of my words, and how light they suddenly feel, released to the sky.

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19 responses »

  1. Congratulations Kim! As I read your posts, some that you no doubt wrote pretty quickly (well I assume since you post pretty regularly you are writing them daily sometimes), I’m so impressed and, I admit, a little envious of your skill and talent and writerly prose, and your ability to inspire with your writing. Have you done many writing workshops or do you have a degree like an MFA in creative writing, or are you one of those amazing self-taught writers? (Have you read Lynn Schooler, the Alaskan-based nature guide? Self taught and achingly beautiful prose in his book The Blue Bear about his friendship and then death of a famous wildlife photographer.)

    Anyway, look forward to your book and your husband’s continued good health.

    • You are being too kind here Jill. Although, in that self-deprecating way I can be some times, I could ask you to stop the flattery, but I wouldn’t really mean it. So bring it on! I’ve done some creative writing teaching and I used to be an English teacher, but I’m a big fan of reading, reading, reading and absorbing it through osmosis. Writing a daily, or almost daily, post also forces me to produce content. I haven’t read Lynn Schooler, but I will check him (her?) out.

      • Lynn Schooler is a guy; he wrote another more recent book called The Long Walk Home or something like that, which got even better reviews. He’s one of those people who is naturally quite intelligent and observes the hell out of life with a keen and perceptive eye. As do most good writers. Yes, reading reading reading!

  2. Great post! Makes me realize that my dream, or at least part of it, has come true. I get to go to a job or two that I love doing. Can’t imagine doing anything else yet. The potential energy that exists in all of us is amazing. Thanks and keep up the great work!

    • Andrew, you do great work. You’re an excellent medic, fabulous skier, rocking photographer and all around good guy. But best of all is when you realize that this, this right here is the life you’ve always wanted. That’s called living the dream.

  3. Kim,
    Well, what can I say but “I am so proud of you!”. You have a gift, but if you had not developed this gift through all of your hard work, it would have faded like last night’s dream. I am reminded of the old story of the pastor who stopped at a beautiful, well-cared-for farm. He spoke to the farmer and told him how God had truly blessed him with such a wonderful, productive farm. The farmer then replied, “Yessir, that is true, but you should have seen this place when the Lord had it all to Himself.” It took years of honing your own style, writing in your jounals long after I thought you were asleep. It took rejection letters arriving in the afternoon mail, one after the other, and still keeping your head up and your fingers on the keyboard. It took faith in yourself and it took COURAGE, putting your most intimate thoughts out there for all to read. Like I said, “I am so proud of YOU”.
    Love,
    Mom

    • Mom, you’re making me blush. I love your anecdote about the farmer and the pastor. You probably just came up with that off the top of your head, didn’t you. You amaze me. That’s the real thing.

  4. Love your writing Kim, and look forward to reading your work! Found you on Chickybus’ blog. I don’t ski, lol! I’m a bit of a klutz when it comes to doing anything when it comes to snow, but I do love windsurfing. And yes, power to persistence for sure.

  5. “Only when we put ourselves out there, conjuring dreams too big to hold, risk exposure and failure and utter ruin, that we even have a chance. Squirrelling away our potential like a bank account saves nothing.”

    THIS!! A million times this. You’ve captured a core truth so eloquently and wonderfully articulated it for sharing and remembering. Risks come in all shapes and sizes. A risk for us one day becomes natural another (and vice versa). But we have to take risks. To stretch our boundaries allows us to grow and get stronger and more resilient over the years. And we simply can’t do that without taking risks.

    Congratulations, Kim! I cannot wait to read your book. 🙂

  6. I’m so happy for you! I know I’ve only been reading your blog for a little while, but I already feel like I sort of know you- and like we’d totally get along. I can’t wait to read your book!

  7. Pingback: New Headshots | Lorraine Wilde

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