Skip to content

Celebrating books around the world!

Yesterday, my agent negotiated the Spanish rights to “Storyworthy” and the Bulgarian rights to “Someday Is Today.”

“Negotiated the rights” means that these two books will be published in those two countries, and I will receive an advance on both deals.

I mention this to remind myself of how fortunate I am.

This is the problem with making our dreams come true:

We sometimes forget to celebrate when our dreams continue to come true. We forget how joyous it once felt the first time, so we ignore these once seemingly miraculous moments when they happen again and again.

I published my first book – “Something Missing” – in 2009. Seeing my book on a bookstore shelf was a dream come true for me. As someone who was lost for several years – jailed, homeless, awaiting trial for a crime I did not commit – I never thought I’d find my way to publishing a book.

As someone who was kicked out of his home after high school and didn’t begin college until he was 23 years old, I never thought I’d find a door into the publishing world.

And as someone who didn’t know a single person in the publishing industry, I thought my chances of ever landing a book contract were close to zero.

Still, I tried like hell.

So when “Something Missing” was published in 2009, it was the culmination of a lifelong dream—a joyous, unimaginable occasion that I never thought I’d ever see.

I’ve published eight books since then. Two more will be published this year. With the publication of each one, I remind myself how lucky I am and how momentous an occasion it is to publish a book.

At least I try.

I try to remember how I felt with the publication of that first book, and I try like hell to remember that every book is a damn miracle.

My books have also been translated into more than 25 languages and are sold worldwide.

That was a dream come true that I’d never even dared to dream. An amazing, unthinkable, previously unimaginable stroke of good fortune, largely thanks to my literary agent and friend, Taryn Fagerness.

So when she emailed me yesterday about the Spanish and Bulgarian rights to two of my books, I thought, “Oh good.”

Then I stopped, slapped my face, and said, “Idiot. Your dream just came true again.”

All of those things really happened, including the slap.

We cannot allow our past success to mitigate or marginalize our excitement over similar success in the present moment.

I often remind myself about this during the school day. I am 25 years into a teaching career I once never thought possible. I had wanted to be a teacher for as long as I could remember, but when you’re in jail, facing felony charges, and about to lose your home, a teaching career (and even a college degree) seemed like an impossibility.

I try to remind myself that every day I spend in a classroom – about 4,500 so far – is the culmination of a dream come true.

I try to remind myself about this when taking the stage to tell a story, perform a stand-up set, perform my solo show, or deliver a TEDx Talk. There was once a day, not too long ago, when I dreamed of being a performer and finding a stage where I might be allowed to entertain audiences from time to time. Today, those stages are everywhere. My opportunities to perform are almost limitless. I cannot allow the realization of that dream to stop me from celebrating the ongoing, repeated realization of that dream.

I remind myself of this when I see Elysha, often for the first time every day. There was a time when Elysha was the aspirational, impossible version of someone I might one day marry, but I never thought it would actually be Elysha. The thought of someone like Elysha spending her life with me was ridiculous.

When I told my boss that I was dating Elysha, he didn’t believe me. It was April 1, 2003, and he thought I was playing an April Fool’s Day prank on him.

“Like Elysha Green would ever date Matthew Dicks!” he shouted as he walked away from me.

Three years later, he officiated our wedding.

But his initial response was indicative of my chances of ever marrying Elysha, so 17 years into our marriage, I still find myself, thankfully, astounded that she chose me. I try to remind myself of this as often as possible.

People like to use the word “gratitude” in situations like these.” And yes, gratitude is a beautiful thing. A wondrous state of mind that actually triggers a release of chemicals in the brain that make you feel good, safe, and balanced.

I have nothing against gratitude.

But I’m talking about something more than gratitude. Maybe even better than gratitude. I’m talking about the joyous, rapturous, relentless feeling of elation upon making a dream come true. It’s the same feeling a football player feels after winning his second or third or even fourth Super Bowl… still running around the field like a little boy, hugging teammates, shouting for joy, jumping up and down, and weeping over the culmination of a dream come true.


It never gets old for a football player to win a championship.

I don’t want my “dreams come true” moments ever to get old, either. Nor should you. Celebrate the hell out of them, even when they are happening for the second, fifth, or ten thousandth time.

Elysha and I have been married for 6,422 days. We’ve been together for 7,624 days.

Every day, I want to be as excited as the first. Maybe that’s not possible, but it’s certainly worth trying.

So… publishers in Spain and Bulgaria purchased the rights to my books yesterday. My books will be on shelves in countries I have never visited. Translated into languages I cannot speak.

Honestly, I didn’t even know that Bulgaria was still a country.

So excuse me while I celebrate by eating one of Elysha’s homemade chocolate chip cookies and listening to Springsteen’s “Thunder Road” while I dance alone in the kitchen.

I’d dance with Elysha and the kids, but they’re still asleep.

Let them sleep. Once I’m finished dancing, I need to get writing so I can dance again one day soon.