“Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?”
As a blond-haired little boy growing up in Tallahassee, Florida, my earliest memories were of my mom reading to me every day in our living room. The Poky Little Puppy, The Little Engine that Could, "The Berenstain Bears — I listened wide-eyed and concentrated on every precious word. I memorized those books cover-to-cover.

But I couldn't read them. Like a lot of kids, I had learning disabilities that prevented my brain from making sense of the letters and words. So I'd lock myself in my room for hours on end, clenching my fists until my knuckles turned white, thinking that if I only willed it, the words would come.

Little by little, they did. And when they finally made sense, I appreciated them more. I fell in love with novels, writing, and poetry. And whenever I struggled, I remember my mom saying the same thing: "You can do anything you put your mind to."

If my life is about one thing, I want it to be championing that same sense of possibility. Our world has been built on struggle, persistence, and dedication — the single-minded determination that things are only impossible if we allow them to be. How fulfilling, then, to fight that impossibility — fists clenched — to live with the childlike belief that the most perilous limits are the ones we set for ourselves.


— John Coleman