Dreams, wishes, hopes and bucket lists. We all have them. If you believe you've lost your opportunity to fulfill a dream or rediscover a long-forgotten passion, I can tell you that anything is possible, because I'm living my fantasy.
Like many people, I had a dream that I carried in my mind and heart through years of marriage, motherhood and working at multiple careers. That dream was pushed to the bottom of my "to-do" list, but never forgotten. Late at night, before I fell asleep, I wondered how I could make my dream come true. That dream was to write a children's book.
When I was about 6 years old, I developed a severe case of asthma. Girls my age were taking dance lessons. I begged my mom to let me take ballet. But halfway through the class, I had to leave because I couldn't breathe.
Unable to do many things, I was a lonely, sad child without any friends. One of my favorite pastimes was playing with my dollhouse. I longed for little people to live in my dollhouse and constantly fantasized about how wonderful that would be.
After my children were grown and involved in their own lives, I took the first step toward pursuing my passion for writing. Inspired by a class, "Writing for Publication," at Pasadena City College, I began writing short stories. Pleased by my progress, I penned my first novel, "Kiss My Tattoo," followed by two novels in the Leah Gordon detective series.
Many years later, while participating in a motivational workshop, I was inspired to write a nonfiction book, "Paths to Freedom," about 12 women who triumphed over adversity. Meeting these brave women changed my life. I moved out of Los Angeles.
All through these years, I dreamed of writing my children's book. And then, in the seventh decade of my life, the miracle happened. It all came together.
I bought a dollhouse kit, spent three weeks painting it, then hired my handyman to glue it together. While furnishing the dollhouse, I thought of the dollhouse I'd had as a child and of my wish to have little people living in it, and I knew I had to write the book.
Each time I told my idea for the story to a friend, I would get tears in my eyes. Since the story had been in my mind for more than 25 years, it was now or give up the idea. I wasn't getting younger.
So one morning I got up early, went to my computer and started to write. I wrote every day for about a month until the book was finished. I asked my friend, Caryn Lennon, to take a look at it. She loved it and had a few suggestions, and then I began the revision process.
After about two weeks it was just right, so I called my daughter's friend Jenny Manno in Thousand Oaks, Calif., to tell her she could start illustrating it. I emailed her a copy of the manuscript, along with photographs of my dollhouse. When I saw my book come alive through her illustrations, I wept with joy.
When the book was complete, Rayford Hammond, my co-author on three novels, formatted it and sent it to CreateSpace, a print-on-demand publisher, for publication.
Women often put the needs of others before their own, thinking they will "follow their bliss" later on. To anyone out there wanting to fulfill a dream, here is my advice: Go for it. It's never too late.
About the book
"Madi's Dollhouse" is the story of a lonely little girl who can't hear or speak. When she is 10 years old, her parents give her a dollhouse for Christmas. Her unspoken wish is to have people living in it.
The book, illustrated by Jenny Manno, is $15 and available at www.alexispowers.net
Handmade Madi dolls soon will be available for $35.
A dollar of every book sale will go to Make Way for Books, a local nonprofit group that provides books to area preschools.
Alexis Powers lives in Oro Valley. She teaches motivational writers workshops at the Oro Valley Public Library.