Father-of-three Matthew McConaughey has joined the ranks of celebrities such as Dolly Parton, The Duchess of Sussex, B.J. Novak, Jimmy Fallon, Gabrielle Union, and Mariah Carey (and many, many more) celebrities who have written or attached their name to a children’s book. McC’s book, “Just Because,” is a “playful collection of life’s lessons for readers big and small.” Like many of our best ideas, Matthew says that the idea for the story came to him in the form of a Bob Dylan song while dreaming. May we all dream in Bob Dylan or the artist of our preference. As for the content, it’s geared towards children because being a dad has Matthew all up in his feels.
Linsey Davis: You are already a New York Times bestselling author for your memoir, “Greenlights.” What made you decide ‘I’m going to go out and write a children’s book’?
Matthew McConaughey: I’ve got three children. So you start to, I think every parent knows, you start to see life through the lens of having children, and you start to think that way. And this came to me in a dream one night, and I thought it was really like a Bob Dylan ditty of a song and it had this little meter in my mind, and I was dreaming to it. [Singing] “Just because they threw the dart, doesn’t mean that it stuck. Just because you got skills, don’t mean there is no luck. Doo doo doo, Just because…”
And so I woke up, and I kept that – you know, you wake up from a dream, you don’t want to stop the rhythm of what you – So I started writing it down and it sort of just came out on the page. And after four hours of writing, I decided, well, OK, I think I got my dream down, went back to sleep, woke up, come back and check it, ‘cause you want to check those 2:30 a.m. ideas to see if they still hold the next day, and it did.
LD: “Just because you follow doesn’t mean you’re not a leader. Just because I keep winning doesn’t mean that I’m a cheater.” It feels like this is not just for children. I mean, for the adult reader, there’s a takeaway here.
MM:: I hope so. I mean, I’ve learned that through life. I used to think that if you were going to be a leader, you had to be in front. And I got in front many times where I should have been in front, and I got in front many times where I didn’t know where I was going, and I shouldn’t have been the one in front. And I started to learn that you’re a better leader if you fall in behind someone who knows where they’re going and you want to go, someone who has a good aim.
Having kids absolutely does change your perspective on life. You start to worry about things you didn’t worry about before and for me, it was when I really began to actually feel my mortality. All of a sudden, you’re aware of how what you do, say, and act will affect your kids. So, I get it. That said, I want to talk about getting great ideas from a dream! It seems like people get their best ideas while dreaming, working out, or in the shower. I am fascinated by dreams, lucid dreaming, and all that. There’s the famous story about how Paul McCartney dreamed the melody for “Yesterday,” and wrote it down using some lines about “scrambled eggs” while trying to figure out where he had heard it before. John Lennon, Albert Einstein, Edgar Allen Poe, Mary Shelley, and Stephen King have all famously gotten some of their best ideas from dreams.
Does anyone write down their dreams? I’ve had great ideas, profound thoughts and deep realizations while falling asleep. Sometimes, I type them into my Notes app and then completely forget about them until I find the note open a day or so later. I wish I could keep a dream journal, but honestly, I sometimes spend several minutes trying to convince myself to get out of bed to go to the bathroom in the middle of the night. I don’t have the discipline to fully wake up to write down a dream at 3am. I wish I did!
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