Hello everyone! Welcome back to my blog! Today I’m going to be reminiscing a little on my past. So here are some thoughts if anyone’s interested in taking a read!
Today I had the honour of visiting my old elementary school, Our Lady of Fatima to speak to their 4-8 students! I was so incredibly blown away by all the support and love I received from the staff and students. So thank you everyone. Truly. From the bottom of my heart.
Sometimes I am so caught up in the rush of my crazy life that I forget where I come from, my humble beginnings, and where it all started. If you don’t know me personally you may not be aware, but The Crystal Chronicles was born at Our Lady Fatima elementary school back when I was in grade 5. It was out in their schoolyard where I did laps with my best friend for hours at recess, planning and developing the entire series.
It took my whole grade 5 year to plan the series and it was in Our Lady of Fatima’s classrooms where the entire novel was written, rewritten, and then rewritten some more. The bulk of the novel was written by my 12 year old self in grade 6. It was then edited in multiple notebooks about 100 times in my grades 7 and 8 classrooms. The only pieces of TCC written after elementary school are the prologue and epilogue, which was written when I was in grade 9. I of course, edited the book in grade 10 but 90 % of my novel was written by my little grade school self.
Our Lady of Fatima is a place of firsts. I wrote my first ever book there, back in grade 2. In grades 3 and 4 I wrote 50 mini novellas in those classrooms. Fatima was the first place where I brought my first printed manuscript of The Crystal Chronicles. It was the end of grade six and that bulk of pages barely stapled together was my lifeline. It was my sole purpose in life, the only thing I really felt connected to. This was my purpose. In that school I learned to write, to make good characters, to make good plots and I slowly learned how to be the person I am today.
Planning and writing The Crystal Chronicles back at my little elementary school are some of my favourite memories of my entire life. It was exhilarating, and it was exciting. I had so many friends and teachers at that school that supported and believed in me. I never doubted I would publish the book but I never ever could’ve foreseen this outcome.
For any of my readers who are still in elementary school or actually attend Our Lady of Fatima, please know anything is possible. If one small idea in a playground can turn into all this, that just goes to show you that if you can dream it, you can do it. This is the message I try to bring to all the schools I visit. Age is just a number. It really is. If you truly love something, you can achieve anything. And that really is the be all end all of my message.
I was a different person back Our Lady of Fatima. Some people would be surprised if I told them that. I was painfully shy and my heart would pound every time I answered a question in class. The thought of speeches or presentations made me physically ill. I never voiced my opinions or thoughts and even though I had a lot of them – I could only write them. I had a few close friends and I was just the girl who was writing a book and who was always writing it in her notebooks. That’s all I felt like I was good at back then. I thought writing was my voice and it would always be my voice. But I was so wrong.
This is for the kids who were shy and timid like I was. Trust me, one day your voice will be heard, even if you feel like that day is not today. You will change and grow into something completely different. In grades 9, and 10, I was still painfully shy and rarely spoke out in class. By that point I was editing and working on publishing my novel. I was no longer the girl that writes books I was now the girl publishing them. Then in grade 11 I had a personality transformation. I was thrust into the limelight, in front of huge audiences and suddenly I had to speak by myself for a whole hour to hundreds of people on the only thing I actually loved: writing and my book.
And suddenly, I found my spark. The spark I needed. And boy, did I ignite. I discovered I loved sharing my story with the world; I loved inspiring students with my experiences and teaching them to love literacy. This was my purpose. To inspire kids to do something great whether that be writing or something else. I wanted to touch the lives of as many kids as possible and there was only one way to do it. I had to visit schools and speak to them in huge gyms and libraries. So that’s exactly what I did. I started touring local schools. To date I’ve spoken at 40 schools around York Region and the number continues to grow by day. I’m now a motivational speaker and an author. You can be so much more than one thing, please believe that.
Also, please know I never started writing for money and I don’t speak at schools for the money. I do it purely for the love of doing it. I do it purely for the kids who are my wonderful readers. And their love and support is priceless. Because in my experience, I’ve learned it only takes one spark, just one, to reach a kid’s ears and inspire something great in them. Every single day I try to be that spark. To try to reach them and make them aspire to do their own amazing things. We are a generation of capability. So just go out and do. It can be whatever you dream of. Just don’t stop and keep your eyes on the prize. You’ll reach it eventually. And even if you stop I’ll be lecturing each one of you to start again and keep going. Think of me like your personal guru. I’m always here for every one of my students and or readers (as many of you do not live in Canada). My contact box is always open. I’m here for you in every way I can be. This is what I want. To give back to this world and leave it in a better state than I’ve found it.
Inspiration is lacking in schools teachers. You have a duty to your students to bring that inspiration back. Strive for that. Always strive for that. And students, work to inspire each other. Great things come out of inspiration. I’ve experienced that firsthand.
If any of you reading this are actually from Fatima, remember this: you can walk those halls and walk at recess and strive for great things at the same time. Don’t be discouraged by anything or anyone. Don’t be discouraged just because you’re a kid at a small little school in Woodbridge. That didn’t stop me and that shouldn’t stop you.
I am eternally grateful for the 40 schools I’ve visited these last two years. Each and every school has encouraged me and has made me into the person I’ve always wanted to be. So thank you for everyone who’s listened to my story. From my Vaughan kids to my Brampton kids, to my Markham kids to my Lake Simcoe kids, to my kids outside of Ontario, to my kids who don't even live in Canada, please remember I love each and every one of you from the bottom of my heart.
Anyway Our Lady of Fatima will always mean so much to me. It really is the birthplace of something that has allowed me to touch the world in all the ways I know how. Thank you Fatima. For being the place that built the foundation of my whole world. If anyone from Fatima is reading this, rep us in the comments!
And again, thank you to all my readers and to the ones reading this blog post. I am so incredibly lucky to have this space to express my thoughts.
About the Author
Alessia Dickson is the author of The Crystal Chronicles series. She lives in Toronto, Ontario, where she is hard at work on her next book.