Sometimes dreams draw close enough to touch.
This is mine.
I think I've whispered that dream to you, my friends.
Maybe a few times.
Over the past two years, I've been working as a paraeducator at an elementary school
while feverishly pursuing illustration and writing in all the extra corners,
loving on my wildebeests,
and sometimes catching up on dishes.
I've put in late nights and early mornings,
repeatedly fallen asleep
with pencil in hand,
and enjoyed a tumult of emotions
while scrabbling between jobs and family,
art and laundry.
And here it is.
This wisp-ish dream has come close enough to touch.
To folks who don't know me, it might seem like it all happened in a flash.
Like I said,
"Guess what? I want to make books!"
"I got an agent!"
"I am going to have a book!"
But you know.
It's been years.
Fruitful in so many ways.
Fruitful in some really hard things!
And fruitful in thankfulness
and learning to savor the small beauties in life.
Fruitful in trying to spread love like seeds.
Fruitful in hunting for the sacred in the dirt.
In being thankful for each day
my family and I get to be healthy and alive.
But still, years.
It has been so long
I started to think my dream would stay wishy,
and that would have been okay, too.
But here it is! It's real!
I'm reveling in this strange and unfamiliar thrill
of having my bright dream come near.
I am going to be a picture book author and illustrator.
I have so many thanks to all of you who have helped me reach for the stars.
Thanks to my teachers, my friends, my crew of writers and illustrators, my family.
And thank you to Molly O'Neill and Root Literary for believing in me.
To Maria Modugno at Random House for believing in this story.
Here's to dreams, my friends!