Grammy award winner Dolly Parton is considered "The Queen of Country Music," an entertainment icon who draws a crowd in Connecticut and wherever she performs. A longtime philanthropist, her Imagination Library provides monthly books to eligible children, including many in Connecticut, from birth to 5 years old. The Grand Ole Opry maven was bitten by the writing bug recently after giving a very well-received commencement speech at University of Tennessee. The new book, Called "Dream More, Celebrate the Dreamer In You" was written for those who want to change their lives by dreaming, learning and caring. Interspersed with tales of her childhood, her relationships and her climb to stardom, the book explains Parton's personal philosophy on life. The legendary lady was funny, candid and gracious, including about the gay rumors she addressed last week on "Nightline," and admitting it is a lot tougher to write a book than a song, as she Spilled the Beans with Java.
Q: Did writing the book do more for you or for others?
A: I enjoyed writing it but I wanted to write it for others. It was something I knew about. I thought it might be helpful to other people to know my philosophy, how I do my work, how I try to live. It was a way to generate money for my Imagination Library while I take a break from touring. I thought it would be a good thing to dig down and gather up some things I could share.
Q: In your book you write almost happily about being part of a poor family. Was there a positive side to wanting?
A: The good thing about being needy is you don't really realize it until you are older. Coming from a poor family, it made me always appreciate the value of a dollar no matter how much money I make. I remember how my daddy would scrape by to raise us. I never squander money. I don't spend thousands on a piece of clothing and while I have some good jewelry, I like my costume jewelry the best.
Q: How did you approach writing the book? How long did it take?
A: It didn't take me long, maybe about three months. I was asked to give the commencement speech at University of Tennessee and that kind of started it. I talked about my dreams and my life. After I gave the speech, people said 'you should put that in a book.' I am a writer. I do write songs. But writing songs is much easier than writing speeches or books. I'm sure I'll write another someday but not right now.
Q: Reports are that you smell really good these days? What perfume are you wearing?
A: I am working on a line of perfume of my own and still testing combinations so I guess that is what everyone is smelling. There's a lot of musk in the trials but we are getting close. It is going to be called "Dolly" and I've been working on it for a few years.
Q: You are so funny. Do you make up your own jokes, would you ever consider a comedy show and were you the class cut-up in school?
A: I would do a comedy show, In fact I've often talked about doing a comedy album. I think a stand-up comedy show would be fun and it could very well be the next thing I do. I do write some of the funny things I say but a lot of it just pops off the top of my head. I have always been funny. My daddy had the greatest sense of dry humor. My mother's people were witty and and creative. Family gatherings are great because we are all like that.
Q: When will you be in Connecticut again?
A: Maybe next autumn. I am putting a band together now and working on some songs. I'm working on a family show for Dollywood, too right now.
Q: The gay rumors that surfaced about you recently, are you surprised, disappointed?
A: I say people always love to talk and will talk about me no matter what I do. If I were gay I would be out of the closet so fast it would make your head spin!
Q: Your marriage seems to be a happy one. What is the secret?
A: I really believe God has blessed me in so many ways, including Carl. We were meant to be together. He was my destiny. We are complete opposites. We have completely different tastes in music, movies, a lot of things so I guess opposites really do attract. The thing is, we are the same about our love for one another. He is my best buddy. I enjoy his company and he enjoys mine and he knows when to shut up and I know when to shut up and I do. If something ever happened to him, I would never marry anyone else.
Q: What do you want for Christmas?
A: I want to be with my family and have a good time. I have everything in the world anyone could possibly want. There is nothing more.
Q: Something no one knows about you?
A: I don't think they really realize what a homebody I am and how private I am even though I look like such a party doll. When people come down to Tennessee to visit they are asking me where the night spots are or what restaurants to eat at. I tell then 'I don't know, I don't go out."
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OCTOBER 31, 2014
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