Terry Morrow: Dolly Parton shares East Tennessee wisdom in new book

Dolly Parton at Thompson-Boling Arena.

Photo by Saul Young, copyright © 2011 // Buy this photo

Dolly Parton at Thompson-Boling Arena.

Dolly Parton shares some of that Smoky Mountain wisdom of hers in a new book, out Tuesday.

The idea for the book came from Parton's commencement speech made at the University of Tennessee in 2009. In it, she encouraged students to follow their passions but to never assume dreams will come true without hard work and sacrifice along the way.

"There's a difference between wishes and dreams," the now 66-year-old singer told me in a 2009 interview. "I want to sort of define the difference for them. I want to give them some helpful hints."

Parton's "Dream More: Celebrate the Dreamer in You" (G.P. Putnam's Sons) divides up her personal philosophy into four distinct segments:

Dream More, exploring how dreams can be the foundations for life accomplishments, especially when others doubt or dismiss them.

When Parton graduated Sevier County High School in the 1960s, she faced laughter from the room when she announced at a graduation ceremony she wanted to go to Nashville to become a country music star.

"I wanted to go on to Nashville and live my dreams — which I did, but I did it when the time was right to do it," she said in that 2009 interview.

Learn More, drawing a link between reading and being inspired by what she reads. Those early ideas came from her mother reading the Bible to her as a little girl. Those explorations created her strong work ethic. She also warns of staying away from people who are negative or drain us of our energy and drive.

To that extent, Parton created the Imagination Library that provides books to pre-schoolers to stimulate an interest in reading before formal schooling can begin.

Care More, allowing real change to come from within a person and also in the people around him or her. Caring more for others and thinking unselfishly guide Parton's way of thinking.

Parton's activity in Sevier County includes the Dr. Robert F. Thomas Foundation, where she is an honorary member of the board. The foundation looks at healthcare needs in her native community.

Be More, revealing how being fair, generous and compassionate are keys to success. Following the Bible's "Golden Rule" — treating others as you'd want to be treated — is a cornerstone for being a success in whatever your dream may be.

Parton grew up in a Christian family but says these "be more" traits can apply to anyone's ideas on God and spirituality.

The lighter side. The entire book isn't without its infamous Parton quips.

Of which parent she looks most like — her mother or her father — she says, "That depends on whether or not I'm wearing make-up."

Asked how she looks without her hair and make-up? "Like hammered snot," she writes.

And on whether her parents were Catholics since they sired 12 children, Parton responds with: "No, we aren't Catholic. We're horny hillbillies. You know my family was big on the three Rs — reading, writing and reproduction."

Terry Morrow may be reached at 865-342-6445 or morrowt@knoxville.com.

Get Copyright Permissions © 2012, Knoxville News Sentinel Co.
Want to use this article? Click here for options!

© 2012 Knoxville.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Related Topics

Comments » 0

Be the first to post a comment!

Want to participate in the conversation? Become a subscriber today. Subscribers can read and comment on any story, anytime. Non-subscribers will only be able to view comments on select stories.

Already activated? Login