(This is a speech I made at the official launch of my middle grade fiction book on May 1, 2015, called The Order of the Trees. I feel so lucky that all these families came to talk about reading, ideas, and writing!)
I’m so excited and thrilled to see you all here. Thank you for making the time to come. It is truly an amazing community in which to live and work. I am very thankful.
Now about this book. You see, I have always written. In journals, late at night, while waiting, observing the world. I started writing for kids about 15 years ago. Over the course of that time I wrote, edited, and sent out work. I received many rejections. Some hand written, lovely and kind, but still rejections. I won’t pretend they didn’t hurt. But I have developed a policy.
The world will tell you NO. They will tell you all the problems with your ideas. The world is very good at that.
You see—if you believe in what you are doing, that is all that matters. You HAVE to put your work out there, whatever it is. What the world chooses to do with it is their problem. You are honoring yourself, your ideas, if you keep putting your best work out there into the universe. Again and again. Even if you keep hearing no. Because at some point, you will hear YES. You will find your people. The champions of your work. It won’t be easy. You have to ignore that voice that tells you you aren’t good enough, that voice that tells you all the reasons you shouldn’t do whatever it is.
IGNORE THAT VOICE.
Huck your work out there again and again. Honor what I call your idea babies. Mine are waiting in line. They tug on my sleeve and my soul. To ignore them forever is to ignore who you really are. Your true essence. You can’t feed all of them. It is impossible. But you can pick them up one by one and see if they should be developed and released to the world. Honor your idea babies.
Next you should know that sometimes you will feel so utterly alone. Everyone does. All the fabulous performers, famous politicians and leaders, the ones you think have it altogether. You are never alone. At some point you will feel bullied, different—just like the characters in this book. But you will find your tribe, even if that tribe is just ONE other person. That is all you need. The characters in this book found each other—and what they do is extraordinary. You might not find your tribe for a long while. There is nothing wrong with that. We each find them in our own time. Just hang out—and know that EVERYONE feels alone and isolated at some point. Just like the characters in this book.
So, The Order of the Trees. This book is inspired by the beautiful place in which we live. Our woods, our school, our dirt roads and our people. This is the story of a girl who was as different as they come. She was found as a baby under an old growth white Cedar tree. We find her in sixth grade, making her first real friend, when the trouble starts.