Today’s quote comes to us from my friend and fellow picture book author Katia Novet Saint-Lot. I met Katia several years ago through one of the online classes offered at writers.com. I admired her cogent criticism, her fierce determination and her tenderness. I wondered what she would say when I asked, “what quote buoys you when the blank screen yawns at you, seemingly scoffing at you?” This is what she said:
“My favorite writing quote comes from Harry S. Truman:
Keep working on a plan. Make no little plans.
Make the biggest you can think of, and spend the rest of your life carrying it out.
“Writing openly, writing to be published, saying to the world that you are a writer, and sending your work out for it to be accepted (oh! the miracle) or rejected (a necessary, inevitable part of the process) is such a leap of faith. For years, I wrote bits and pieces, journals, travel diaries, stories with a beginning and no end. Mostly, I dreamt of becoming a writer of fiction, and did nothing about it, because… the plan seemed so grand, so unreachable.
“While we lived in Nigeria, where there wasn’t much to do, and my husband was gone a lot of the time, I took a creative writing course. Thanks to the encouragement I received, I started submitting my work. Still, few people knew about my writing. Even now, with my one picture book published, several picture book stories making the round of publishers and getting rejected, and two novels in the works, I still suffer from the “fraud syndrome.” Thank goodness for the blog, the website, and the automated links at the bottom of my email posts, as they’re much better at working on my publicity than I can ever be.
“Harry Truman’s quote gives me a boost whenever I read it. It reminds me that the journey is what matters. It tells me that no plan is too big, no dream is too crazy. It’s just a matter of figuring out what one really, really, really wants, what will make a person feel happy and whole, and then, to work, and work, and work some more at making it happen.”
Katia is the author of Amadi’s Snowman (Tilbury, 2008) a story of a Nigerian boy who discovers the power of books to open new worlds. It is a beautiful story, simply told. It makes so much sense to me that Katia could tell this story because in the time I have known her, She has lived in Enugu, Nigeria; Hyderabad, India and now Dhaka, Bangladesh. This is a woman who understands how simple stories reach across cultures and countries. And big dreams take a lifetime to carry out.
Thank you, Katia, for joining me. I hope some day we get to meet, sit in the same room and tell stories.