Chelle Summer

Keeping the Dream Alive

Michelle Rusk

As I spend much of my time working on moving forward, what I don’t do often is reflect on where I’ve been. But because I keynoted several conferences over the past six weeks– and I was speaking about how I’ve gone forward in my life despite my many losses which was a new talk for me– I had to take the time to think about how I’ve gotten where I am to create my talks.

Sometimes I share the aspects of my life that inspire me, yet I’ve also realized that I might not be reflecting fully on them and that’s what happened over the month prior to speaking.

Since I was six years old, I knew I wanted to be a writer. Not just a writer, but an author. I wanted to tell stories. I don’t think I knew what those stories were going to be beyond the picture books I made with Raggedy Ann and Andy starring, but it was my dream to have my name on the side of a book.

That dream stayed alive for most of my childhood and teen years except for several side roads I veered down, testing other waters. But the roads always took me back to writing. What I see now is that many times I took those side roads to learn something I needed to write about. Even today when I find myself deeply interested in a topic and wonder why I didn’t pursue it before, I realize that somewhere it might fit into a story.

When my sister died in 1993, at least in the memories I have now, I don’t remember that the writing dream died. I believe it remained an ember– an ember that all of us have as I written previously about hope– because it wasn’t going to die. I had a road to travel and eventually I would make my way back to it.

I also believe that that dream is what has kept me going all these years. While I make handbags and clothes and do all sorts of other things, it is when I am writing that I truly feel I am doing what I’m supposed to be doing. The stories, the people, their lives, are with me constantly and many days keep me motivated around frustrations and the routine of life.

The hard part is that the dream hasn’t manifested itself yet as want it to. Yes, I have written multiple books, but I’m not where I want to be, on the bestseller list– yet. That ember keeps burning and I keep writing, knowing that somewhere along the way the flame will spark and suddenly the fire will take off.