We had the good fortune of connecting with Tracy Blom and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Tracy, let’s start by talking about what inspires you?
A lot of my ideas come in dreams. It has been this way since I was a little girl. I would wake up, write down notes, staple them together and give them to my parents. Since then, not much has changed other than hiring illustrators and actually having my work professionally published. I can usually tell the book dreams from regular dreams in the way that they are presented; book dreams appear almost as if I’m watching a movie and includes things such as location, character names, plot lines, dialogue, and even time of year. It is always fun for me to wake up and research places I’ve only seen in dreams, and see what parts merit truth, or what parts are yet to be written. Aside from dreams, I am constantly inspired by the world around me. Something as simple as seeing my shadow inspired an entire backstory for a character. When I travel, I’m like a little sponge, absorbing inspiration from different cultures and ways of life, that eventually find their ways into my writing.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
We all dream, but it isn’t something that most people talk about, or even act upon for that matter. I’ve only met one other person besides myself whose ideas come in dream form and found a lot of comfort in our friendship. For a long time I thought that maybe there was something wrong with me or that I was weird for dreaming like this— after all it wasn’t just books I was dreaming about, but events that would happen in the world, some not so great. Then again, I saw something remarkable in this ‘nightly vision’ and eventually changed my rhetoric to include words like ‘gift’ and ‘blessing.’ I went on to write books that encourage unity, compassion, and celebrating our differences as gifts. I figured that if I could make a positive impact in the life of even one child then I have succeeded.
In the vein of following my intuition and helping others; I had a dream that I built a giant tunnel that evoked a sense of joy upon entering. In the dream there were children in hospital beds going through it, and when I woke up I thought, why would I ever build something like that!? Now, six months later I have partnered with a company out of Cincinnati called the Ken Anderson Alliance to build the Happiness Tunnel. It is 40-foot tunnel shaped like a caterpillar on the outside, and inside it is filled with broken pieces that come together to form butterflies at the end. Each butterfly was created by a person with either a physical or learning disability, and promotes the idea of lifting each other up and creating joy in unique ways. The tunnel is a mobile piece, and will be making its first appearance at the Children’s Home of Cincinnati. This is my first time ever creating something like this, but I thought— it might sound crazy, but it might be great! (maybe that should be my moto!)
If you compare my early work to where I am now you can see an evolution of skills which I think is crucial no matter what field you are in. If you always stay in your comfort zone you will never grow. If there is something that I feel drawn to trying, like building a forty foot tunnel shaped like a caterpillar, I usually do a bit of research, assess the outcomes, and go for it. It was through this mentality that I wrote my first theatrical play, screenplay, novella, and environmental comic book series. I might be abnormal in the way that I am an extremely fast writer… I usually can write a children’s book in a matter of days, and screenplay in a matter of months. Though, I’ve also learned the power of teamwork which includes editing, finding beta readers, and asking others who might know more about a topic than you for help. Creating a book is not a one person job… it really does take a village.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
Funny enough, my husband and I moved to Delaware, Ohio right before Covid, so in a way we feel like new comers to the area though we’ve been here for nearly two years. Some of our favorite places include the short north area of Columbus, which has lots of cute shops, galleries, and restaurants as well as downtown Delaware, which looks like something out of a Hallmark movie. The oldest movie theatre in Ohio is located here right down the street from our favorite diner, the Hamburger Inn, which has been there since the 1930’s. I’m big into hiking, so I would definitely take a day to go to Hocking Hills and either kayak or hike, and maybe visit The Wilds which is a safari-type experience that is part of the Columbus Zoo. If our guest is lucky enough to visit during the first Saturday of the month, they will get to experience a ‘Maker Hangout’ at our house which my husband (Zack Herberholz) hosts in his shop— which includes woodworking, forging, good food, and great company.
Other: New Play Exchange – https://newplayexchange.org/users/48141/tracy-blom
The image of the boy holding the ‘I Make’ book was taken by Nick Key of Key Woodworks