Castle of a Dream

Everyone remembers that first inspiration or mentor in their lives that made them want to be or do something in their lives, whether you actually followed through with it or not. Tell us about that inspiration/mentor. How did they affect or change your life!

Let’s keep your posts to 500 words or less.

* * *

Why can’t I remember?

I page through the archives in my brain, searching the categories, trying to find the source of my dream.

To be a writer.

Teachers. Was it my third grade one, who had us write in a journal? My fourth grade one, who picked my poem about the color red for the school paper? Or was it my fifth grade teacher, who laughed with my classmates at her guest appearances in all of my creative writing pieces?


My mind switches to a new category: family.

Was it my mother, who read voraciously and passed along her love for reading? My father, who sung praises of my oh-so brilliant gorilla story from second grade? Or did it spring forth years later thanks to my husband, his job uprooting us and forcing me to give notice at my own. In a land with no familiar faces or work holding me back, time I’d never had before materialized.

I wrote my first book.

Then I stumble upon a huge folder, overstuffed with names.


I see many in present day who encourage and inspire. They do not scoff at the thought of my name in print or gracing the bookshelves. They silence my doubts and bathe me in hope.

But the dream began before.

Perhaps my wish to be a writer fell with the rains of the storm – the silver lining wrapping the end of my world as my former friends ignored my existence. Alone with no social outlet, the written word was my only way to share the hurt and anger. Ostracized and adrift, my imagination became a refuge.

Or was that just a catalyst to what was born long ago?

Another category glares at me, wanting its say.

Abandoned Dreams.

I flinch at the contents, not just because they will never be, but because I dared to hope once.

Actress. Ha! My love of becoming a character outreaching my talent.

Dancer. Ha! I blamed the three years I quit, the awkward tweens, crucial in my mind for success. Their loss stole the grace and polish I required to be amazing.

Did my dream of being a writer only exist because my other loves were far more unattainable?

I scan and analyze through my memory archives, seeking the spark. The “ah-ha!” epiphany to be a writer.

I cannot find it.

It does not exist.

Instead I see the categories of my life. Blended together.

People. Moments. Each one is a grain of sand, forming the castle of my writing dream. Together they share the load and build the foundation.

Each one of them bonds to form the inspiration.

They protect and keep it alive.

They tell me to follow the dream.


About Kelly K @ Dances with Chaos

Kelly K has learned the five steps to surviving of motherhood: 1) Don't get mad. Grab your camera. 2) Take a photograph. 3) Blog about it. 4) Laugh. 5) Repeat. She shares these tales at Dances with Chaos in order to preserve what tiny amount of sanity remains. You can also find her on her sister blog, Writing with Chaos ( sharing memoir and engaging in her true love: fiction writing. It's cheaper than therapy.
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27 Responses to Castle of a Dream

  1. Nancy C says:

    Each one is a grain of sand, forming the castle of my writing dream.

    Isn’t that gorgeous. And this is so true. We don’t do this from one moment, do we? It takes a village to make a writer.

    Sorry, but it’s true.

    You, my friend, address it beautifully.

    • I struggled with this prompt, try to find the spark.

      I thought I’d have to skip this one, because I simply couldn’t locate it.

      Stubborn as always, I decided to write about not being able to find it.

      I never thought about the village aspect of writing, but you’re write – it is so true.

  2. Galit Breen says:

    This is lovely Kelly. And so very true. We have categories of support, love, believe-ins. But that confidence, that dream, is formed by our whole.

    I loved when you wrote that “they silence my doubts and bathe me in hope” – we all deserve that, don’t we?

    Beautifully done, friend.

  3. Frelle says:

    i love this.. and the reason I found it hard to isolate a mentor as well. thank you for putting it into words!!

  4. I love this: ” I scan and analyze through my memory archives, seeking the spark. The “ah-ha!” epiphany to be a writer.

    I cannot find it.

    It does not exist.”

    Because it’s true. We don’t always have epiphanies. Sometimes we are blessed enough to know what we are and to have those who support us. This was a lovely ode to those who have helped you. Nice job.

  5. Jackie says:

    “People. Moments. Each one is a grain of sand, forming the castle of my writing dream. Together they share the load and build the foundation.

    Each one of them bonds to form the inspiration”
    Perfect however I have one question.
    Who made the dedication line for your book?

    • The book is unlikely to ever see the light of the day. Like so many first novels, so many mistakes were made it is more of an example of what not to do.

      Some day I would love to write it again, because the word “rewrite” implies editing, and the first half requires more extensive measures.

      My dedication, if it was to be published as is (I shudder at the thought), would go to the four who made that specific book possible: the three friends who brainstormed and read it and my husband for giving me time to write it instead of insisting I get a “real” job.

      Everyone else would be in the chapter long acknowledgments at the end. 🙂

      Had I never written it, I wouldn’t have had the opportunity to learn so many faux pas of writing, and would not have improved to the point of “decent writer”.

      Yes. It was that bad.

  6. I know this was pointed out already, but I really loved this line: “I scan and analyze through my memory archives, seeking the spark. The “ah-ha!” epiphany to be a writer.” Sometimes who we are has nothing to do with outside influences but everything to do with our own design. It’s that old battle of nurture versus nature…we are who we are. And you, my friend, are an amazing writer. Perhaps, you have been your biggest mentor, pushing yourself along life’s journey, encouraging yourself to never give up. What a blessing to be able to rely on yourself so fully.

    • I am quite stubborn, both a blessing and a curse.

      Without all the pieces I likely would have yielded to the inner voice and admitted my failure, the power of it too great.

      Once, not so long ago, my writing would never have been labeled “amazing”, except by a friend, a cheerleader, afraid to say anything to the contrary. Afraid to give actual criticism.

      I read your words, and cannot fathom how mine pull you in.

      Without the online community of writers, helping me to grow and improve, full of encouragement, my writing would have atrophied in high school.

      But with a little help, my stubbornness can go quite far.

      So thank you, so much, for your words. They are part of the many that bathe me in hope.

  7. I liked this, Kelly. There are so many times that I can’t point to any one particular thing that brought me to certain places. Writing is the culmination of life experiences, and you captured that well.

  8. christina says:

    beautiful. really.

  9. Jennifer says:

    I really loved the idea of inspiration as default, wondering if it was only because the other dreams didn’t work out. I loved it because only a writer would ask that question. And through this whole post you so well demonstrate exactly why you should be doing what you are doing.

    • Jennifer – Thank you for your kind words. It actually never occurred to me until I wrote this that writing might be a “fall back” dream.

      I learn so much just in the process of writing, that for whatever reason never comes to light when I’m just thinking about it.

  10. angela says:

    What I love about this post is that writing is so much a part of who you are that you CAN’T find where you discovered the inspiration.

    I feel like this post really found its footing when you begin talking about the friends folder. The beginning of it seemed slightly forced, not bad, but just slightly so when compared to the second half.

    • I ran into word count issues and had to be brief to hit the major “categories”, which may by why the beginning seemed forced. There are so many moments of my childhood that made me believe I was an incredible writer. Whether true or false, I always loved the smile/laughter/etc it gave my readers.

      It is also why acting was a dream.

      I beat my head against the wall (figuratively) for days, trying to wrap my head around this darn prompt, because I wanted to find that moment.

      I think you’re right. Somehow it just became a part of me until I had no choice by to heed the call.

  11. Catherine says:

    I love the twist to this! And then that you wrapped it up by remembering so many people. Very nice.

    I also think it is telling that so many of the pieces for this prompt are about writing or reading. I’m glad we were all so fortunate to have mentors on the path!

    • I think writing, or the dream to be “a writer” always stems from some sort of inspiration. Because it’s hard. No one gets into writing for the money (though they can dream to hopefully be paid some day). No one writes because it is easy. No one writes because of job security or a health plan.

      Not creatively, at least.

      It comes from elsewhere, and in my case, many places. I cannot wait to read the other responses.

  12. Emily says:

    This is such an evocative piece! I think dreams are often messily born and I’m glad you didn’t just talk about a single mentor who inspired and shaped you. Not to mention, I love your openness here — and your insecurity. Questioning whether or not your desire to write grew out of other failings is really intriguing.

  13. I don’t think you’re alone in this, not at all. I don’t have a single person who inspired me, mentored me to be a writer, either.
    But I like how you tried to categorize your option. I see you tapping a pencil to your head trying to come up with a literal interpretation of the TRDC prompt. Wondering WHO dammit?! WHO!!!?? But seeing so many in your mind.
    Great job, here. It felt orderly and sweeping at the same time.

  14. I can pinpoint several people that guided me on my path. I really enjoyed reading about the people that touched yours.

  15. Luke says:

    Maybe your dream was always there and wasn’t created but uncovered ?

    Well that is just a point of view, but i believe that our life’s are like a stone before an artist takes his chisel.

    Our friends, our family, our experiences – all of those things are chisels sculpting the stone. With little steps we see the sculpture more clearly till it finished and we can present it with proud.

    • That is a fascinating way of looking at it.

      I’m not sure if it is true for me or not, as I had so many other dreams, just too far-fetched to make anything of it.

      Sometimes I’m certain writing falls into the same category. Other times, I have hope to make the dream a reality.

      I love your analogy though. May you discover your true dream as well and follow it.

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