Dixie Gillaspie is a successful business coach, thought leader, and speaker who has worked with business founders and leaders around the globe. She is also the Bestselling author of her most recent book, The Truth About Winter.
A respected business expert and author, Dixie has been a member of the Forbes Coaches Council, a columnist for Entrepreneur.com, a blogger for HuffPost, and has articles featured on FOX News. The Truth About Winter is simply the work of a masterful writer. Gipping with chills that transform is how best to describe Gillaspie’s latest masterpiece.
She resides in the Midwest and still reads and writes daily.
You have been a successful business consultant, analyst, and coach, helping countless people over the years. As an author, how do you define literary success?
I really measure success the same way whether I’m coaching individuals or groups, speaking, teaching, or writing fiction or non-fiction. It comes down to what I’m creating by doing the thing. If the end result of that activity is that I feel more alive, more on fire, then it’s a success. If the end result is that even one person is really stepping into their power and living a fulfilled life that lights them up, then that’s exponential success.
It really doesn’t matter how I’m creating it, what the role, or title, or activity is, because I measure success by my own fulfillment, love, and joy in what I do and by the impact I have in the lives of others.
How did you come up with the title for your latest book, The Truth About Winter?
As humans we’re always in search of truth and meaning, but so many things are not what they seem. Winter, for instance, is a time of year we often associate with sadness and loss, or struggle and suffering. As a child I loved playing in the snow or sliding on the frozen pond, but as an adult I usually thought of winter as something painful I had to get through. That became a metaphor for the times we are grieving or hurting and how we don’t allow ourselves to really experience and release it, we try to avoid it or at least survive it, and as a result we end up prolonging it.
So, we get to choose. We get to choose the truth that we own and where we put our focus. And that was exactly true for me with winter and with all the things that winter represents; cold, stillness, dark, death. When I was focusing on winter as a time of death and darkness and suffering then I suffered. But the truth is that winter is also about the pause before rebirth. It's about nurturing before the next year's growth and bloom.
Winter, as a time of year or a season of our lives, is just a part of creation. We need times of quiet, we need to dream, we need to rest, we need to release things that are no longer alive for us. And it’s natural that there will be some grief in that release, that there will be a feeling of “death” in the inactivity. But as the quote goes (although no one seems to know who said it first) “Pain is inevitable. Suffering is optional.” So “the truth about winter” is just that it’s inevitable, but we don’t have to choose to suffer or to get stuck in survival mode.
If your book were made into a movie, which actors would play your main characters?
That’s the hard part about movies, isn’t it? When the characters are so real in your head no actor alive could ever be them the way they exist for you. I think the character of Rose would be the hardest for me to sign off on. She’s such an anomaly of self-possession, other world knowing, and woman-child innocence. If I were casting that role, I’d be tempted to look for an unknown actor. The character of David is also so multi-dimensional that it would be difficult to cast, but I keep thinking of Denzel Washington – he has that deep gentleness and rangy fluidity that David in my mind has. Mads Mikkelsen also comes to mind, just for his presence and his expressive face or Charles Dance who might also have the mystique and presence to pull it off. As for who I would cast as the fictional me? That’s an impossible question to answer.
What is the most underrated book you have ever read?
I consume books like some people consume potato chips, so I’ve read hundreds of great books. But without a doubt the most underrated book, well books really because it’s a trilogy, was The Riddle Master Trilogy by Patricia A. McKillip. I’ve recommended this collection to so many people, no one had ever heard of it, but all of them came back to me and said, “Why haven’t I read that before? It’s amazing!”
The language is so evocative and immersive, the story arch is both thrilling and somehow nostalgic like we’re on the edge of our seat but also longing for a time we were born just too early or too late to have experienced. Her characters are layered and somehow, she makes us feel compassion even for the baddest of the bad ones. The trilogy is the usual length for epic novels, meaning it’s a very thick book, but interestingly enough a close second in the “underrated” category is The Changeling Sea by the same author and it’s short. Really short, and simple, and dense with magic between the lines.
I go back and read these books pretty frequently just to revisit places and people that I love, and I own everything she ever published. Unfortunately, McKillip passed last year so I missed the chance to tell her just how much I admire her and how much pure joy she added to my life.
If you could have any superpower to propel you as an author, what would it be and why?
If I had the power to project words directly from my mind onto the page without the need for any other interface, I’d probably spend all my time “writing.” The way words form in my mind is sometimes so pure and beautiful, like drawing water from the crystal spring, that even speaking them aloud loses something in translation. I love the feel of a pen in my hand, I have a special fountain pen that makes me feel like a “real writer”, but writing is too slow. I’ve tried speech to text, but it really only works for me when I’m talking to someone else. I’ll be telling a story or unpacking something that feels true to me and my partner, Philip, will start a recording, but if I just start a recording then try to think of what I want to write it loses a little bit of the magic. And typing is okay, I’m a really fast typist, but even my fingers can’t keep up with the speed at which my mind creates words. So, it would be a very helpful superpower to be able to just think words onto the page. But it would have to be a superpower not technology, because when I imagine the implications of technology that would make that possible, I very quickly go back to my notebook or keyboard!
Download your Copy of The Truth About Winter Today: