Today’s quote comes to us from my friend and fellow Thunderbadger (kek-kek-kek) classmate at Vermont College of Fine Arts Linda Oatman High. Linda is the author of over 20 books, from young adult to picture book as well as middle grade, easy reader, chapter books and plays. She does it all with a smile and a belief that anything is possible. Really. If you don’t believe me, check out the quote she chose to share as the one that buoys her as as a writer.
“Dreams come true; without that possibility, nature would not incite us to have them.” John Updike
“When I was a little girl, growing up on a country road outside of Morgantown, Pennsylvania,” says Linda. “I loved books. My parents supported and encouraged my love of reading and of writing, and I had a shelf full of great reads. For as far back as I can remember, I recall my dad talking about how a famous writer named John Updike had grown up close to our house, and of how he had followed his dreams to great success. That struck me: someone could live an ordinary life in an ordinary house in an ordinary town and grow up to write books! The realization that ordinary truly can become magic sparked a fire for writing within me, and I’ve never forgotten it. When I was old enough to read Updike’s books (well, not really, but I read them anyway), I was delighted to discover that he included scenes and settings from Morgantown, Pennsylvania, and the surrounding countryside.
“I love John Updike’s quote simply because it reminds me even in the most frustrating of times that dreams do come true, if only we contribute our part. And doing our part means doing the work: the writing, the creating, the submitting, the marketing, the waiting and waiting and waiting, the believing in dreams that pushes a writer forward and lifts her up even when the road seems dark. My own dream came true when I published my first children’s book in 1995. Nature incites us to have these dreams for a reason. Updike knew that, and look how far he went! When I present assemblies at schools, I like to instill the idea in the students that we all have lives worthy of being put on paper, and that their ordinary lives can equal magic. I end my assemblies with the advice: “Read, read, read. Write, write, write. Follow your dreams!” I am living proof that dreams do indeed come true.”
As testimony that her dreams are still coming true, Linda’s first children’s play “Hansel and Gretel in the Big Apple” was produced in July 2011 by Gretna Theatre in Mt. Gretna, Pa. She plans to write more plays, but in the meanwhile, she is busy working on a Young Adult dystopian novel as well as a number of picture books. She loves to visit schools and libraries so invite her! You won’t be sorry.