It’s never too late to follow your dreams, to leave behind your legacy and to tell your story. That’s the motto Montgomery author and artist Julie Kline lives by, swears by and preaches.
In her 60s, Kline recently published her first children’s book which she wrote and illustrated herself. It was a project five years in the making, but one she hopes will leave a lasting impact long after she’s gone.
“Milo Mouse Searches for a House”, which Kline will be reading and speaking about on Feb. 23 at 2 p.m. at the Yorkville Public Library, is the story about finding your place in the world. Milo goes to the zoo seeking a new home, but runs into several zoo animals who seem quite intimidating off the bat.
“All of these animals are weird looking and scary, but if you keep persisting, you can find your place. You can find your friend,” Kline said of the story which draws along the lines of the Aesop Fable “The Lion and The Mouse.”
She hopes by sharing her creative process, she will inspire others to leave behind stories of their own.
“This is something I’ve wanted to do for decades,” the grandmother said of her desire to write a children’s story. She grew up reading to her own children and found story ideas and characters swirling around her head often. When those children grew up, and her first grandchild arrived, Kline knew it was time to put pen to paper
“One day, you’ll wake up and there won’t be time to do the things you want to do,” Kline warned. “A lot of people say that (getting started on a project) is easier said than done, and it is, but at least start something! Everybody wants to hear stories of your life.”
Whether it’s putting a few stapled pieces of paper together with some hand-drawn pictures, or taking things the publishing route, stories are something you can treasure and keep forever, Kline impressed.
“It took me 60 some years to figure this out,” Kline said. “I want to encourage people to follow their dreams before they see the end of the tunnel.”
Kline, a former Yorkville school bus driver, is making sure she inspires people to do just that.
“Life’s a journey,” she said. “Enjoy the ride.”
Julie is a resident of Montgomery and a member of the Kendall Arts Guild, the Aurora Art League and the Naperville Art League. She’s also a graduate of the Art Institute of Boston and has won numerous awards for her art, including a recent merit award from the Naperville Art League’s January show : Million Dreams.