Slice of Life: What Are You Doing About It?

Today's post is part of the Slice of Life roundup at Two Writing Teachers.  Stop by for links to many great slices or, better yet, join the fun by linking your own piece.  Thanks to all for hosting.
"A winner is a dreamer that never gives up."  Nelson Mandela
Last Saturday I had the opportunity to see Bryan Collier at the Dublin Literacy Conference.  I'm always fascinated to listen to creators talk about their work.  Bryan started out by asking the group, "How many writers are in the room?"  A few hands raised, but I'm guessing there were truly more writers in the room.  "How many of you have a story to tell?" he asked.  "How many of you hope to get something published?"

"What are you doing about it?" he added, letting a long pause fall across the room.

His statement found its way into my head where it swirled for awhile.  It bounced.  It rested.  It whispered.  It shouted.

"What are you doing about it?"

His words replayed over and over in my head.  What do we do about our dreams?  Dreaming is one thing, working to make it happen is quite another.  Bryan shared how he went from publisher to publisher for seven years trying to get his work out there, but was turned down repeatedly.  He never gave up.  He went back again and again until he made it happen.  Now he keeps quite busy.
Bryan encouraged artists and writers to paint and write with purpose.  Collier reminded us, "Writers and artists tell the world everything they missed."  As he wove words to tell the stories of his illustrations, I began to wonder if the story breathed life into his painting or if the painting helped to find the story.  Bryan called his life "dream walking" because he was living the life he had dreamed about.

Some of Bryan's powerful words:
  • "Words saved him." in reference to Dave the Potter.
  • "If you are planting seeds, what's going to come up?" 
  • "The space between the words and the story is left for the reader."  
  • "There's some joy coming in the morning if you hold on." in sharing the story behind Knock, Knock.  (You should really stop by to watch this video.  The picture book story originates here in this Def Jam Poem by Daniel Beaty)
  • "The voice is in you.  It's powerful, but you have to listen."  
So today I'm wondering.  What are you dreaming?  What are you doing about it?


  1. Such good words from Collier. I am writing. I am working toward making a dream come true. I feel good about it. What are you writing?

  2. Hi I am a student studying to become a teacher and I wanted to know what made you decide to write a book?

  3. Wow! What am I doing about it? I guess waiting for the perfect time, like everyone else. Since the perfect time will never come, making it happen will have to day. Thanks for the powerful story!

  4. What a question! I know I will be thinking about it for a long time! And how great that you got to hear Bryan Collier. He is one of my favorites! And I love KNOCK KNOCK!

  5. How wonderful that you were able to see him! I love this line, as much about writing as it is about teaching.

  6. Bryan Collier is an amazing speaker. Thanks for sharing his inspiring words!

  7. I just read your comment, & then now your post-would love to come to your conference some day! These two books lately by Bryan Collier are marvelous. It's late now, but I'll return to see the rest of the links, Cathy. Thank you!

  8. awesome. that is powerful stuff. i need to take this to heart. thanks for posting

  9. What a powerful question!

    ...and the "dream walking"...makes me think too...

  10. Wow! Powerful. I love the line "The voice is in you. It's powerful but you have to listen." Action is the hard part and it sounds like he spurred many on with his session. Thank you for sharing it.


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