Thursday, October 16, 2008

The Power of Story: Sara from On Simplicity on The Dot

Today's Guest Blogger is Sara. Sara blogs at On Simplicity, a fantastic blog that focuses on keeping your life about what matters...and how best to accomplish that. I love that a children's book impacted her and I hope you enjoy reading her story. Thanks for sharing your story, Sara!

"Just make a mark and see where it takes you." That's the essence of The Dot by Peter H. Reynolds. It's the short, simple story of Vashti, a girl who is certain that she is terrible at art. When her teacher encourages her to make a mark on her paper, any mark, she makes a single dot. Once her teacher asks her to sign her paper, her creativity takes hold. From one tiny, frustrated dot emerges a gallery of dots, both beautiful and imperfect, as Vashti learns that creativity is limited only by ourselves and our imaginations.

The first time I read The Dot, my pulse quickened. This was no generic children's story—this was a call to arms for imagination. The thought stuck in my brain and rattled around for days. If all great works of art start with a single dot, what was I waiting for?

So I began to write. The first words weren't perfect, not by a mile. Like Vashti staring at her dot, I thought, "I can do better." So I wrote more. And more. And I let the world see my writing. It wasn't long before the words were flowing out of me and I was enjoying the creative process. The Dot truly pushed me toward that first, scary step into creativity.

The Dot is also about owning your creativity. The signature on each work of art, whether that piece is a single dot or a squiggle, is the moment when each person claims their art, and proudly proclaims, "I am an artist." It's one thing to create, it's another to claim our work and be willing to learn from it.

Perhaps someday I'll move out of the children's section. Perhaps not. But The Dot will always remain the book that changed my life, since it's the book that taught me how to be creative once more.

(If you want to share about how a story changed your life, email me at mypalamyATgmailDOTcom and we'll talk!)


Anonymous said...

That's very interesting. And so's hard to take that first scary step. Something I need to work on myself.

Anonymous said...

Ah Sarah! Beautiful post!

I love children's books and will stay with them for a long time - they carry simple yet the most powerful of messages :)

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