I did not want to go to my Dabble bookmaking class on Sunday night. In the wake of the Sandy Hook shootings, I, like many Americans, questioned my safety. Leaving my apartment felt like entering a 2012 wild west, where danger lurked inside every 24 hour CVS.

“You’re not safe anywhere. Not the mall, not the movies, not at school,” a co-worker, at the elementary school I work at, said on Monday. It’s true. The shooting tragedies over the past few years have proven no location is immune to violence. I was unclear how to fulfill my promise to Dabble if I couldn’t even get out the door.

A half hour before class started I pulled myself together enough to throw a coat on and grab my keys. Physically I was moving, speed walking down Western Ave, but emotionally I stalled out. I give credit to the wind and dropping temperatures for pushing me towards class. But more than that, I credit this quote, from one of my favorite children’s books, Tuck Everlasting, “Don’t be afraid of Death; be afraid of the unlived life.”

I’ve taken on the challenge to blog for Dabble, a company that embraces adventure and exploration. There is no way I can stop and hide now; the benefits are too good. I’ve agreed to surround myself with like-minded people, to grow in a community, to learn a new skill. I’ve told you all this before and I intend to keep my promise. We all need to make promises to ourselves about what we want out of life. The world is scary but it is also kind, awe-inspiring, weird, fascinating, and good. We should never forget this.

As far as my future as a bookmaker, those plans are tentative. I struggled with the Coptic style of book binding so much that I was in class a full fifteen minutes after the last student left. I helped the instructor clean up as she assured me, “not everyone picks up on it the first time.” As frustrated as I was, I was okay with failing. The steps to reclaiming my full life of Dabble exploration were put in motion. And to the universe I sent this message: I will continue to show up and learn. I am not afraid.


Ali Kelley is a 20-something trying to figure out her life one Dabble at a time. Be sure to check back each Wednesday to see her newest Dabble class adventure, and cheer her on with words of encouragement through the comments section below or on Twitter @freegiantparty.