Cool, Clever, Resourceful and Handsome.
No. I’m not talking about me, though I am none of those things.
His name was---Oh! I forgot one more thing…
He was that, too.
His name was Eli, and he was a super spy. An amalgamation (a.k.a. rip off) of my three favorite characters of the spy genre: James Bond, Jason Bourne, and Ethan Hunt.
I met Eli in a dark Manhattan alley on a rainy, spring night. He was running surveillance and calling the shots on a job that was about to go south. Dripping wet, I climbed into the car with him and another man. A few drops of water spattered onto Eli’s arm, but he barely noticed. He was locked in. What unfolded over the next thirty seconds is still a blur to me, but Eli remembers all of it. A gunshot rang out. Shattered glass. Blood and brain matter splattered onto the leather interior of the sedan, on my lap, in the crevices of my fingers. We scrambled out of the car to face his attacker, and, thus Eli’s adventure began.
I tagged along and learned the most basic of writing lessons.
Writing can be a heck of a lot of fun.
My first book, a historical fiction novel set during the American Civil War, took me six years to write and the rush of emotion I felt when I finally typed the words “The End” was exhilarating, but in many ways I didn’t enjoy writing that book. Like Mamma’s paddle, it taught me some hard lessons.
Eli taught me some hard lessons as well. However, kind of like that high school buddy who talked you into doing something stupid every time you hung out, we had a lot of fun learning them.
And that’s what I want to focus on now.
Whatever you do in life, as long as it’s appropriate, try to have a little fun. Cut loose. Do something kind of crazy. Make someone laugh or laugh with someone. Let those moments linger, breathe them in deep and wait to exhale for as long as you can. Be thankful for the sweat (both literal and metaphorical) at the end of the day, because you’re alive and you’re doing something.
Hard lessons will come. Life’s paddle won’t stay away forever, but remembering that gut busting joke shared at the lunchroom table or that pleasant surprise you received just when you needed it will lessen the sting.
Eli and I only hung out for nine months before our time together came to halt when I typed the words, “The End.” But I often think of him when my well of inspiration runs dry or when I’m standing in the shadow of a mountain of editing, and I plow forward knowing the sting of life’s paddle makes all the fun times that much sweeter.
Thanks for reading. God bless!
Also, my book, The Truth about Romantic Comedies, will be available in less than two months.