top of page

Keynote Speech at 2018 Conference on Children's Literature

Today I’m honored to share with you part of my book…

A book I call “How did I get here?…

You’ll see that as a child, the idea of me being an author was the furthest thing from my mind.


I accepted the limitations I placed upon myself-can’t sing, can’t read well, can’t do dishes!

You know Can’t is a bad word. It’s a swear word.

And do you know that’s how many people introduce themselves to me?…

Hi, I’m so and so. I can’t draw to save my life…


If there is a lesson that I would like to emphasize, it is that your speech is your reality.

What you say is your truth. And guess what, You can say Anything you want to be true.

So often my first lesson to anyone, no matter if they come to me for art lessons or creative writing.

Can’t Is a word we use when we don’t want to try something…Just swallow the T, Then You Can.


Being creative, it’s a double edge sword. We feel. We feel so much. We feel love and joy like no one else. And we hurt and agonize and feel heart break that never gets easier to handle.


But the world needs the creatives. You artists, musicians, you writers out there. You have a very important role. It’s a gift, and at the same time a curse. And it is a responsibility. The world looks to you to remind us where we been. To tell us who we are, and to show us where we are going.


Creative artists, writers, we found a way to live way beyond our lifetime. We leave with the world art, music and books that will comfort our loved ones and influence the world well beyond our time on Earth.


Today I’m fifty six. I’ve had art galleries, I write books, I have art schools, I write books, I travel all the time teaching art doing art and…writing books.


We all want to do well financially doing what we love.

But my faith, in that possibility, in that goal, is what I count on,

The belief that all the things I do will come together like one of my paintings

Is what I count on.


I’m Not the guy who wrote “How I became a millionaire writing books and doing art”

I’m Not the guy who wrote “How I went from rags to riches”.

But I Did write: To the artist who just hung your head in despair.

And: To the artists who just wants to die…

These are things that I wrote, that I may never have the courage to publish.


If you ever worked with me, you’ve seen what I go through. It’s the kind of stress most artists won’t endure.

And you’ve also shared some of the most rewarding times when the people we touch, go on to spark and excite others. We’ve shared times when we couldn’t believe how lucky we are to be creating art.


I’d like to ask you to think of that thing. The thing that you love or love to do. Find a way that your love can bless others. Will the world support you in your quest to do what you love? If the world finds value in it, Yes. For me, I like to put pictures and words together that will do the world some good.


I like to think that in some ways we are all Royalty, we just have to find our own kingdom, we have to make our own categories, ones which we can be the best at. If it doesn’t exist, then we make it up ourselves!

Just make it up yourself. Make your own category, your own genre, make one that is custom built to what you love, and what you are uniquely gifted to be the best at.


Then You will be the leading expert, In a niche that You designed yourself!

With Aloha from me,


bottom of page