Questions & Answers about The Dot!

Here are some questions that Peter frequently receives about The Dot and how it came to be, as well as his answers...

Q: What is The Dot about?

A: The Dot is the first of three books -- a trilogy of books dedicated to creativity. I call it the "creatrilogy." In this first book, we meet a girl named Vashti who has convinced herself she can not draw. Her teacher dares her to make a mark. Vashti makes one little dot on her sheet of paper... which turns out to be the beginning of her creative journey!

But The Dot is more than a book about art. It is a book that encourages us to be brave about expressing ourselves. It gently reminds us to start small and explore the IDEA. It is also a tribute to great teachers who know how to use humor, "off-the-path" approaches, and who have the vision to see the possibilities in EVERY student. The book ends off with Vashti sharing this gift with others, beginning a ripple of inspiration.

Q: How long did it take you to write The Dot?

A: It took me about a year and a half to complete The Dot.

Q: How did you get the idea for The Dot? What inspired you?

A: Although it did take me about a year and a half to complete The Dot, the initial idea came to me as a quirky accident. I have a promise to myself that I will make a mark in my journal each night, even if I am tired. I will try to jot a drawing, or a poem, or a word, or even a simple mark to just prove I was alive that day.

One night, when I was exhausted, I made a mark with a black felt-tipped marker and promptly fell asleep. When I awoke with a start an hour or two later, I noticed the little mark had mushroomed into one giant black dot.

I put the cap on the pen, put the book to one side and went back to sleep. When I awoke the next morning, I looked at the journal again and instead of seeing it as a mistake... I suddenly realized that perhaps this was one of the best ideas I had ever had.

I grabbed the pen and quickly jotted "The Dot" above the black dot and "by Peter H. Reynolds" below it. I had just created the cover to my new book.

The story that belonged to the cover came to me quickly after that. I had the image of a girl staring at a blank page. She was frustrated by not being able to draw. I had another image of a gentle and wise teacher who would not see a blank page, but rather the potential that was there. With an encouraging word she could help this girl take a step in the direction of self-expression.

Where did the name of the main character come from?

A: Vashti is the name of the main character in The Dot. This was inspired by a young girl who I met at a coffee shop in Dedham Square, Massachusetts. She was selling flowers to raise money for her school. After I bought a carnation, she asked what I was doing. I said, "Painting. Here... you can have this one. I'll sign it to you - what's your name?"


I smiled. "Vashti? You're the very first Vashti I've met! Can I use your name in my next book?"

Her big brown eyes lit up. "YES!"

She disappeared with the drawing I had made for her. I have not seen her since. Perhaps one day she will discover The Dot and make the connection!

As its creator, what do you like most about The Dot?

A: I'm really excited about the message in The Dot, and I'm eager to hear from people who are inspired to make their own mark.

Copyright 2004, Peter H. Reynolds. All rights reserved.