I is for Inspire

One of my favorite things about being a teacher is the super cool authors that I get to hear from. This week, Holly Goldberg Sloan came to visit. She’s written a host of movies and more recently has written books for middle grades.

It’s inspiring to hear from real life authors who are real life people making a real life living doing what they love, and what I love. It inspires me because it shows me the humanity that literacy provides each of us. Authors remind me that the stories that I read in my bed all snuggled up and cozy are written by real life people who have lived life in the same way I’m living life. Sure, our stories are vastly different and infinitely abounding, but we are all united through the words that we share.

That is truly a beautiful thing to me.

I’m always inspired by an author simply being an author. Simply being a human who has devoted their life to stringing words together is inspiring and empowering to me. It’s a gift that they have shared these words with the world, and it’s a gift to even meet them. Every author – whether famous or obscure, whether big or small, whether record-breaking or not – sacrifices the deepest parts of themselves to tell a story that can be received in ways that they could only dream of, or that they would never dream of.

However, this author visit was inspiring for more reasons than just having a real life author in front of me. This author inspired me because it felt like she was speaking to each person’s soul, child and adult alike.

She said,

You can write your name on a card and write the word doctor underneath. You can say that you are a doctor and you can go over to your little old lady’s house that lives next door to you. You can take a sharp knife to their heart and perform surgery, but they’ll arrest you. You can’t do that. Because saying you are a doctor does not make you a doctor…

But, you can write your name, and underneath it write the word writer, and  you can write stories and publish them and share them with the little old lady that lives next door. And, nobody will arrest you. Because, if you say that you are a writer, that does make you a writer…

And, I hope that whatever you want to be, you are doing that right now.

Holly did what everyone in that room wanted someone to do for them. She breathed life to all of our hopes and dreams. She made the far-fetched dreams seem reachable, and she changed the notion of the impossible to the impossible. And, as cliche and ridiculous as that sounds, I believe that it’s absolutely true that everyone of those 150 students in that room needed to hear that on that average Tuesday afternoon while they were just trying to get through the day.

And, I believe that this is absolutely what each of us need to hear on this random night sitting on our computer scrolling through a bunch of random blogs of strangers. We need someone to stop us in our mundane life. We need someone to remind us of who we are and that our dreams aren’t stupid, or impossible, or a waste of time. Even though our hopes may not ever morph into the extravagant or lavish versions that we’d like, we can claim hope regardless of our circumstances.

To inspire another human is to remind them of this hope. To force the other to recognize the hidden dreams that are so easy to stuff underneath the surface. And, to empower them to dig those dreams out and live them.