Jason Reynolds starts off For Everyone with the words “Dear Dreamer”. Not Dear Reader, but Dear DREAMER.
It’s a message straight to my heart.
I’m a dreamer. I know this. And I now exactly what he means when he expected when he was 16 to have ‘made it’ when he was 28, when he first started writing this novel-poem-ode-to-creatives.
I think I expected to ‘make it’ by the time I was 30. I spent my 30th birthday on call as an intern, finishing up on the wards. Had I made it?
I’m not sure I would have said ‘yes’ at the time.
And yet, in my mid-forties, would I have said that I ‘made it’ back then? Maybe no, maybe yes.
I’ve accomplished a lot. I may not be a published writer (yet), but I’m happy with some of the things I’m working on. And, in truth, I haven’t fully worked toward trying to get published. I need to finish my novel first, instead of looking through the 5 or so that I’ve started. I need to send out one of the 8-10 picture book manuscripts I’ve finished.
But would I say after reading Reynolds’ novel that I’ve made it? YES. A resounding YES.
Because I haven’t given up on my writing and creativity, not by a long shot.
Reynolds’ words are relatable and uplifting for any artist whose still waiting for their turn, any artist who has worked odd jobs to continue to write/create/paint/sing, any artist who has woken up in the middle of the night and had to crawl/leap out of bed to jot some ideas down. Or for any non-artist too, as Reynolds insists that “dreams aren’t reserved for the creatives”.
And if we think on those terms, then yes, I’ve made it. I have this beautiful family that I created on my own (not to mention my lovely family I was born into), I have a job that I feel privileged to be a part of (even on a rainy day) and that I hope I’m making a difference in my patient family lives, and I am happiest when I’m creating something, whether it’s a makeshift costume, a poem, a picture book, working on my novel, or writing a blog post. So, yes, I’ve made it.
For Everyone is a love letter of encouragement to all of us. He acknowledges the downs and ups and still encourages us to keep going.
I’m ready to jump, are you?
Tell Dr. Bookworm!
Right before posting this review on the blog, I sent a query letter for a picture book that I had ‘shelved’ for a few years. I’ve been terrible about sending queries this year, even though I’m a part of the wonderful 12x12 picture book challenge community. So since this is the last month to submit through 12x12 (to skip the agents’ slush pile) and tomorrow is the deadline, I made sure to send my query today. And ended up sending this ‘shelved’ story that I didn’t expect to send. Call it intuition, call it a whim, call it a questionable decision, I’m sending it out into the universe anyway. Thanks for the inspiration, Mr. Reynolds.
Do you ever read something that inspires you to jump in or take action?