Jennifer Thomas | Finding Inspiration in Others’ Stories

September 27, 2010
Somewhere over Missouri

Dear Friend,

I am on a plane next to a snoring stranger, and I have just finished your book. I have carted it with me across continents and oceans and it has magically changed my solitary seats in 5F and 22 B (I hated that one) into rooms full of intelligent and inspiring women, all sharing their dreams and ideas. I enjoyed it so much I read it twice.

You know how much I love to read fiction. I go in deep and get shamelessly lost, vicariously wandering in triumphs and tragedies that aren’t mine. I love losing my prosaic self.

Reading Dare, Dream, Do felt a lot like that, but better and more honest. It told an inspiring story, but urged and invited me to actually join the protagonists. It insisted that I dream, “I am the princess.” “I got the magic powers.” “I am the one who climbs mountains.” What fun!!!

It is a wonderful book and has left me inspired. I have taken lots and lots of notes and made some real promises to myself that I intend to find the courage to fulfill. But perhaps more importantly it shone a light on dreams that I have already dreamed and achieved. Acknowledging those explicitly to myself felt great, and gives me incentive to push forward.

At the end of my second go ‘round I made a list of women I will want to give it to. It is a list that might require me to take on a part time job, but I can think of so many friends who are chock full of potential it could unlock. I will have to get your manifesto of a well-lived life into their hands somehow.

Thanks for encouraging so many women to tell their stories and for having a strong vision of how they linked together in a noble narrative. I am blessed to know you.

With much love and gratitude,


What is your story? 

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This is a letter that Jen Thomas wrote after reading an earlier draft of the book.  She asked me to save it and post it around the time of the book's publication. Jennifer previously shared her story here: Louis XIV Lives Inside My Head Jennifer Thomas received Bachelors degrees in Italian and Art History and pursued graduate studies in Art History at the Institute of Fine Arts at NYU.  When finally faced with the need to support herself, she turned to major-gift fundraising and worked with an educational non-profit in NYC and MGH in Boston.  Occasionally she still creates and conducts travel study tours to Italy for both family and friends.  Jennifer is the mother of four boys, including 5 year-old twins, and lives outside of Boston, MA.

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