Darlene Foster's Blog

Planting the Seeds, Growing the Dream

Posted on: May 21, 2012

Today I am participating in a month long blog hop called Self as Child promoting an exciting new concept called YouthTube!


What sparks a child’s dreams? Who encourages those dreams?  

My grandmother gave me a colouring book filled with pictures of children from around the world dressed in traditional garments.  I loved that book and dreamt of visiting those fascinating places one day as I coloured each page. Growing up on a farm in the Canadian prairies, we didn’t venture very far.  My grade three teacher taught us about exotic places like Mexico. She gave us Mexican names, brought sombreros and serapes into the classroom, played Mexican music and served Chilli Con Carne. This further wet my appetite for travel. Miss Roll also discovered my vivid imagination and encouraged me to write my stories down.

Life truly does happen while you are making other plans. I got married, had children, worked full time, took correspondence courses, attended the occasional workshop and dabbled in writing.  I filled a number of scribblers with short stories and ramblings over the years.  The thought of being published was a distant and almost impossible dream.  It didn’t look like I was going to see much of the world either.

But the dreams that were planted remained. I boarded a plane for the first time when my second husband took me to England to visit his family.  You can imagine my excitement when I finally found myself in another country. Over the years we traveled back to England a number of times as well as to other fascinating destinations, includingMexico. With every trip, I became as excited as the child who held that international children’s colouring book in her hands.

Ten years ago a friend took a job in the United Arab  Emirates and invited me for a visit.  I jumped at the chance.  What an amazing experience.  I discovered a totally different culture, unique scenery and so much history.  I fell in love with the place and the people. Returning home, I had many stories to tell.  Although I felt compelled to write these stories down, they just didn’t portray the excitement and feelings I had while there.

Then one sleepless night I started writing the story from the eyes of a twelve-year-old.  I based it on my experiences and added some colourful characters and an adventure.  It was fun to spin my story in a way that kids would enjoy at the same time as learning about another country.  My hope was that it would entice them to travel to other countries some day.  Amanda in Arabia-The Perfume Flask was born and eventually published.  My dream of being published came true.

Miss Roll and me, grade three

Still pinching myself to believe I am a published author after all these years, I am so glad I followed my dream of travel, which led to a writing career.  I will forever be grateful to my grandmother and Miss Roll for planting the seeds, and for all the other people in my life who encouraged me to nurture and grow those dreams. As adults, we must all support the young people in our lives to follow their dreams and encourage their creativity.

Youth-Tube is a new enterprise of Plum Tree Books  for children 12 & under, that encourages early literacy and children’s creativity. We are offering a safe and constructive environment for children to share art, stories, favourite books, music, etc.     This is a great opportunity for children’s artwork to be showcased. All the relevant info can be found  HERE with details of submission guidelines. The submissions deadline has been extended past the original date of 15th May. So get your creative children or grandchildren on board!

Check out some of the other amazing blogs that have been taking part in the blog hop promoting Self as Child throughout the month of May.

Tues 1st May: launch on the event page:http://www.facebook.com/events/314596525276392/

and on http://www.facebook.com/PlumTreeBooks

Blog: http://ontheplumtree.wordpress.com/

Wed. 2nd – http://passionfind.wordpress.com Tonia Harris

Thurs. 3rd – http://thefairytaleasylum.wordpress.com/ Marta Pelrine-Bacon

Fri. 4th – http://www.shevata-cccole.blogspot.com C.C.Cole

Sat. 5th http://hiddenearthseries.blogspot.co.uk/ janet Young Beasley

Sun. 6th – http://thebumpyroadtopublishing.blogspot.com – Deb Hockenberry

Mon. 7th –http://ontheplumtree.wordpress.com – Niamh Clune

Tues. 8th – http://sooziebird.blogspot.com/ – Susie Bertie

Fri: 11th http://girlseeksplace.wordpress.com/2012/05/07/on-being-a-writer Brianna Soloski

Sat:12th http://optymyst.wordpress.com – JanCan / @OptyMyst – Not Quite Dead Yet

Mon. 14th – http://lorhainneeckhart.wordpress.com/ – Lorhainne Eckhart (The Choice of Giving)

Tues. 15th –http://www.Heartspoken.com -Elizabeth Cottrell

Wed 16th –http://loraneleavy.blogspot.co.uk/ Lorane Leavy

Thurs: 17th: http://thiskidreviewsbooks.com/ This Kid Reviews Books

Friday: May 18th http://aprilthomasbooks.wordpress.com April Thomas

Sat. 19th –www.jontybabe.blogspot.com Jonty-Babe

Sun: 20th: https://darlenefoster.wordpress.com/ Darlene Foster

Mon 21st – http://steepedinbooks.blogspot.com Georgia Saunders

Tues 22  http://marthamoravec.com/2012/05/too-fat-to-live/  Martha Moravec

Wed: 23rd May: http://tomdharris.wordpress.com/ Tom Harris

I am very happy to be part of Plum Tree Books and the YouthTube initiative.  Thanks Niamh Clune!


39 Responses to "Planting the Seeds, Growing the Dream"

This is a wonderful story, Darlene. I thank you sincerely for your support of our venture over at Plum Tree Books and the encouragement of early literacy and creativity in children. This project is just in its infancy. So we look forward to receiving children’s Art under the heading of Self. We have lots of wonderful, different projects coming soon, also. I can’t imagine how I would have fared as a child without the power of my imagination. How great it is to fulfil our dreams, as you have done with Amanda In Arabia. Yours is a wonderful series. We must make sure we review it on our book forum: What’s In A Book? Everything Imaginable!

Thanks Niamh. I also thank you for your support and encourgaement and all the work you do for the children of the world. So very glad we have connected.

I totally love reading how you came to start writing the Amanda series. We never know then those planted seeds will take root and start blooming. Good to hear that you’re supporting children and helping them develop their dreams. 🙂

Thanks Laura. It is interesting to read about others’ path to publication.

Darlene, thank you so much for sharing your memories. Youth-tube sounds like a wonderful idea.

It is wonderful indeed. Thanks Barbara.

what a wonderful post! Thanks so much for sharing. x

What a great blog hop and what a wonderful backstory for your books–thanks for sharing it with us!

Glad you enjoyed it Sandra.

Pictures of our youth are treasures. Thanks for sharing.

Youth tube sounds like an excellent idea.

Sometimes it takes a while for dreams to ripen. I’m happy to hear yours did.

Thanks Diane. The trick is not too give up, not to say, “It’s too late” or “I’m too old”

I think it’s wonderful that you can trace back the source of your adventure novels that way, Darlene. 🙂

Thanks Linda. I tracked down my grade three teacher and thanked her.

That’s a charming photo used in this post. And that’s also a great story. It’s encouraging and heartening to see someone’s dream come true. Congratulations on the publication and the travel. (A former Peace Corps volunteer, I love travel too.)

Another valuable lesson in your post is how sometimes the best way to write our stories is to change a few things. You wrote your story from a 12-year-old’s pov. Often times telling it “just like it happened” doesn’t lift the story off the page.

Thanks for sharing!

P.S. My actual contribution to the blog hop was on my other blog: http://mapelba.wordpress.com/2012/05/03/string-theory-childhood/
Instead of my fairy tale blog. That’s something I didn’t make clear at the beginning of this hop. Oh well!

Thanks for your comments. I have checked out your post as well. Blog hopping is new to me but it has been fun (and a learning experience)

The coloring book from your grandmother reminded me of the doll collection that my mother and I built up, dolls from all over the world in native dress. They enhanced my awareness of a greater, bigger, more diverse world at a very early age and I am grateful. Thanks for your lovely thoughts, Darlene, and for reminding us of what a sacred task it is to encourage the dreams of our children everywhere.

I think your post is great! I am glad that your dream came true! 🙂

When a dream comes true, you just add another one to the list. I am sure all your dreams will come true Erik. “Never let a day go by without a dream” (not sure who said it but I like it)

Darlene, just curious: on your blog roll of the Plum Tree Group, why did you skip May 22? (My day.)

Hi Martha, I think maybe Darlene got her list before it was updated 🙂 Looking forward to hearing from you tomorrow.

This is Martha’s blog: Tues. 22nd -http://marthamoravec.com/2012/05/too-fat-to-live/

I have added your day Martha. Look forward to reading it.

Congratulations on your success, Darlene. May your life be filled with many more.
Blessings – Maxi

Thanks Maxi. Life continues to surprise me every day. Hugs.

This is a wonderful post Darlene (love the photo). Thank you so much for the invitation to join you and Dr. Niamh Clune On the Plum Tree. It looks amazing and I would be honoured to accept. I hope you don’t mind though if I don’t participate for the next few weeks – I’ve decided to take a break from blogging (and all online activity). My batteries need a re-charge and I want to spend as much time as I can outdoors. When I return I’ll be right over! – Sharon xx

I really look forward to meeting you. Thank You for your interest. I am sure both Darlene and I will still be here in a few weeks. So nice of you to let us know that you would like to participate.

P.s. The art work is the Plum Tree logo for Youth-Tube, drawn by our Head of Art for Youth-Tube, Marta Pelrine-Bacon. Isn’t she marvellous?

I am so pleased you enjoyed the post. It is fun to pull out those old pictures from time to time. I hear you about needing a break to get re-charged. Spend lots of time in the glorious outdoors. See you when you are all refreshed! XO

Your article takes me back a few years to when I first met Marcelle and she said to me, “My Mom’s a writer too. And so you are.

Thanks Sheila. I remember all those years ago when Marcelle said, “You will like Gill’s Mom. She’s a book writer too.” So glad our girls introduced us to each other. Can’t imagine life without you in it. XO

Lovely, Darlene!

I used to write stories and hide them away so no one would make fun of them or me! I did enter poetry which was published in one magazine, and some pieces about cod tongues. Then I did 10 pieces under a pseudonym of Sonny. It was a humorous group of writing pieces.

We all have our early writing stories. I’m sure yours were humourus indeed. Sometimes it is fun to bring them out and reread them.

Nary a one exists. I guess I got very shy and threw them out. I wasn’t much for playing with dolls or cubby, but I liked exploring books and the outdoors as a child. Dressing dolls and playing house didn’t make much sense as I had 8 siblings playing house all the time for real! And dressing dolls would have been considered boring my me, as I still like to get dressed in under five minutes! We’re all different, I guess!

Darlene, here I am somehow just finding this post, very late but it was worth the read. I just want to say I enjoyed your story of how you got into writing and travelling, and now .. living in Spain is part of your dream come true. I am happy for you!

Thanks Lynn. Glad you found this article worthwhile!

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