I am often asked to speak at schools, but many booksellers, educators, and students have been surprised to realize that when I do, I barely talk about my books at all.
That's because I believe that there are reading groups, and dedicated librarians, and community-active booksellers, and best of all, excellent teachers who are more than happy to discuss the Dragons, and Myth, and Legend, and storytelling in my books with their students. But if I am given the attention of five hundred middle-school students for an hour, and only that hour, I'm not going to talk about my books - I'm going to talk about the things that I believe are most important in this life; about things I believe are True, and meaningful, and worth sharing (some of which I've often shared with you here).
I'm going to tell them stories drawn from my own life: examples about overcoming obstacles and adversity; stories about how making choices in their lives is like drawing a Dragon; vignettes about how I came to do what it is that I love most in the world for my job. But most importantly, I'm going to tell each and every one of them that they can make the same kinds of choices that I did - and that I believe in them.
Sometimes, being told that is the thing that we need most in our lives. And I think it's the most important thing that I can say to anyone: I believe in you.
After one of my presentations, I received the following letter:
“I pray I am sending this to the correct person, because the person who spoke Friday, at Jerling Junior High, in Orland Park, IL, was awe inspiring… Mr. Owen projected a message to our 8th graders, repeatedly, in a direct and appealing manner…[and] should not be listed as just author, but motivator to the young and young at heart, even those floundering, wondering what path to walk.”
- Bernadette M. Cronberg, Educator
I'm very gratified to say I have many letters like this - some of which are heartbreakingly sincere about how the presentation inspired a change in their writers' lives. But until now, most readers could not experience that presentation unless they attended a school, or some signing event where I was speaking - and in part because of that, we have long considered putting those stories, those things I most believe, into a book.
A book that is, I feel, the most meaningful thing I've ever written.
A book that will be available for purchase next week.
I have spoken to a number of publishers who were very interested - but none of whom was able to release it in under two years. And I had a motivation for wanting to do a deal to release it sooner - there are people whom I care about, who are in need. Some are friends, some are family. Some of these stories I have shared publicly, last December. Others, I've kept more private. And I have taken their hands, looked in their eyes, and told them I would find a way to make things happen, to help, to take care of them. That I had this, and they needn't worry. And they believed me.
I speak, somewhere, every month, and those who attend don't have to wait for these stories - so I didn't think that anyone else who wanted to should have to wait to experience them, either
I have always believed that if you create something of value, and offer it to people who will see the value, and understand it, and appreciate it, they will return that value to you tenfold; a hundredfold; and more. And so I made the decision to take the most valuable stories I have, and release them as an ebook from Coppervale Press, under the same title as my presentation: "DRAWING OUT THE DRAGONS: A Meditation on Art, Destiny, and the Power Of Choice".
And then I began to summon my Dragon Army. YOU. All of you who have heard my presentations, or been inspired by my writings, either online, or in my books. You are my army - and you know, you KNOW, that Magic is REAL... and worth looking for.
I need you to spread the word about this book - to buy copies for yourselves, and then, if so inspired, to tell people about it. Tell your family and friends; review it online on facebook, and twitter, and goodreads; blog about it; post about it. Tell your students and teachers about it. Share the magic that you find in this book. And, hopefully, it will inspire you to make more choices in your own lives help you see that the Magic isn't hard to find, after all. Because it's EVERYWHERE. And sometimes, to see it, you just need someone you believe in, someone you trust, to take you by the hand, look into your eyes, and say, "I believe in you."
DRAWING OUT THE DRAGONS: A Meditation on Art, Destiny, and the Power Of Choice will go on sale next Monday via my websites, Amazon, and Barnes & Noble, and will be available in all preferred electronic formats, including my own preference, as a pdf, for the retail price of $4.99.
I'll be posting links to excerpts throughout the weekend, and answering any questions you might have. And we'll be setting up a page (soon) on the website where you can share your stories as well as your own Dragon drawings. But please help me to spread the word , and next week, pass along the links. Yyou'll be helping me to help those I care about by sharing stories that inspire people - people like my friend Bernadette, and the thousands of students and educators who have heard me speak.At the very least, you'll enjoy some entertaining stories, and possibly learn how to draw a Dragon.
But it's also possible that there's a story in this book that someone out there needs to hear, right now. And that alone is reason enough not to wait.
Thank you for all your support. And for making this Magic possible.