Do the Dream Dance With Me

By Peg Brantley

I was asked to write a guest post for RMFW shortly after my third book became a finalist for two awards. I was stoked. The post would be due shortly after the banquet for the first award and I joked that I’d write about what it felt like to lose. I had some Susan Lucci images banging around in my head I thought would be humorous.

And then I lost. Or perhaps more accurately, my book didn’t win. Not winning didn’t surprise me. The feeling of disappointment did. Suddenly there wasn’t too much humor in living my own version of a Susan Lucci life.

And then I remembered…

Once upon a time, a fearless little girl lived in my body. Peggy Ann dreamed little girl dreams and went after them with a sureness that startles me when I think about it today. Her parents told her she could do anything she wanted to do, and she believed them.

It took me decades to realize she'd gone missing.

When I tried to figure out where I had lost that gutsy dreamer, I determined there was no defining moment, although I’m fairly certain the concept of failure was involved. As far as I could tell, successful people didn't fail. Ever. Successful people won every award every time.

I can still hear my dad's voice: "If you're going to do something, do it right." Dad encouraged my sister and I in character building almost every day of our childhoods, so when he wasn't telling us we could be anything we wanted to be, he was telling us that a half-assed approach to things was not acceptable. At some point, I morphed "right" and "perfect" and adopted the philosophy that if I couldn't be perfect at something, I shouldn't do it at all. Not my dad’s fault. It just was.

It became easier to let dreams fade, even when the only way to let go was to turn by back. To walk away before I could once again be reminded I wasn't perfect. That way, I couldn't fail. Right? Mediocrity, a life without dreams, might be mundane but it would be a life without failure.

Then the concept we hear all the time, Nobody is Perfect, sat up serious shop in my brain. That’s when I realized when dreams are achieved, they’re achieved by imperfect people. Say what? Dreams are achieved by people who reach out of their imperfection to touch something bigger than they are. Who aren’t afraid to fail. Who consider winning as something within themselves, not outside themselves.

There’s one more award ceremony to attend. Although I might be disappointed, I will already be winning my dream.

So writers, whether you’re writing your first scene in your very first manuscript, or have an entire bookshelf that belongs to you, check your dreams. Polish ‘em up every once in awhile, and know that inside, because you’re reaching out, because you’re dreaming, you’re already a winner.


IMG_1166-webA Colorado native, Peg Brantley is a member of Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers, Colorado Authors’ League, and Sisters In Crime. She lives with her husband southeast of Denver.

Peg’s third book, The Sacrifice, is a finalist for two 2014 Colorado literary awards.

You can learn more about Peg at or meet up with her on Facebook at or follow her blog at

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9 thoughts on “Do the Dream Dance With Me

  1. You’ve given us a great truth here, Peg. Polishing up our dreams is the way we keep trying, keep growing, keep taking chances. One disappointment does not make a failure, one lost award doesn’t prevent another being in our future. Well done!

  2. Dreams should be what we are made of, not perfection. I go crazy when I hear people say “I had dreams”…really? What do you mean “had”. I do not care what people say, you should never stop dreaming, no matter your age. My dreams are what fuels me, helps me to get up every morning, helps me to fall asleep every night. My dreams will go on for as long as my kids carry them on after I’m gone. Being a dreamer does not make us scatter brained and unrealistic, they make us creative and strive for our goals. I love this Peg!! Well done!!

  3. It is true. My father also told me I could do anything I wanted to – of course I put some qualifiers on it (My Mom’s influence.) And then I came from a family of high achievers. I understood from my grandfather that I was expected to put my name on the list in one way or another. I couldn’t help but think that was a lot to accomplish and somewhere along the line, I quit trying so hard.

    Thanks for pointing out that I can still follow my dreams.

    • You made me remember something kind of funny… my cousin is the family historian and knows about all of these wonderful accomplishments from previous generations. I keep picturing them saying, “So what have you done lately, Peg?”

      I’m glad I could help you remember your own dreams.

    • And L.J., you were a huge encourager for me to get in the game. Without your solid advice and example, I might not have reached for the dream on my own. I will never forget you telling me to just do it. If I felt I was ready, then I was ready. xoxo

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