Friday, August 30, 2013

Funny Story Gets Funnier

Now that A Higher Voice is in print, every witty comment by a friend is followed by, "Is this going to turn up in your next book?" Finally I was asked, "Do you get tired of hearing that?" and I answered, "No, I don't pay any attention to it."

Until this week.

We were traveling in Maine with our friends Don and Carolyn, and Carolyn noticed that the man at the next table in a Searsport restaurant had begun to cry. She wondered what could possibly be wrong. And Don answered with a story that began something like this...

As Redding Pearce waited in line at the toll booth, he flicked his lighter over and over. An old habit, from his smoking years, but it helped him think. In the backseat of his dark blue '76 BMW convertible was a body zipped up in a black bag, and he needed to dispose of it quickly. When he reached the window, his eyes took in the wavy red hair of the voluptuous operator, and her name tag, which read Gwendolyn.

"Gwendolyn," said Redding, "I can tell you are a beautiful woman. I know I only have twelve seconds, but would you consider meeting me for a cup of coffee after your shift?" ...

Don's story continued throughout the evening, involving the fact that Redding was a chiropractor, Gwendolyn only had one leg, and something about a partially burned body and a mad dash for Shreveport. His tale fizzled at the end of Chapter Five with this sentence: Redding paused, mesmerized by the blue light flashing in his rear view mirror.

Fun, huh? But that's not the end of it. Our last night, in Bangor, we pulled in to a restaurant on the river, and there sat this '76 BMW:
"Redding painted his car so he wouldn't attract suspicion," said Don.

A man caught me snapping this photo after the others had gone inside, and he and I had a brief conversation about why I was taking the picture. That same man sat at a table near us, and Don said it was Redding. "Notice the shoes; he's definitely a chiropractor," Don declared.

After the meal, the man got up and left. Carolyn excused herself to go to the loo and came back. In a minute, the man came up to our table, put his hand on Don's shoulder, and said, "Excuse me, but I couldn't help but notice that your back is unbalanced. I'm a chiropractor, and I can help you with that." We all looked at each other--Don's eyes were huge. "Really, I am a chiropractor. Remember, you took a picture of my car?" I burst into laughter. He continued, "My name is John Redding," By then we were all laughing.

It seems Carolyn punked us. When she said she was going to the loo, she actually followed the man and talked him into the prank.

Good one, huh? Now if I can get Redding and Gwendolyn out of Shreveport, I might have a story...

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Live Alive Book Club

Thank you to the Live Alive Book Club in High Point, NC! This lively bunch of ladies was most attentive while I read from A Higher Voice, and they asked super questions. A great time!


Wednesday, August 7, 2013


A friend informed me that she had used my story to encourage her son not to give up on his dreams and talents. I suppose she was referring to the part of my story where I had talked about becoming a published author sometime in the previous century, and here, finally, I have succeeded. 

Well, hogwash! Here’s what I would like to tell him: Don’t quit your day job.

In the first place, I like to think that there’s more to my story than achieving a dream. I would like to think that, if I’m remembered for anything, it will be for these things: for loving people well; for laughing a lot; and for doing my dead-level best to live the life God gave me with intention.

And if anyone should examine my story, I hope that the lesson they might take away is this: There are seasons to life.

Some of those seasons are fun and creative—be grateful and don’t waste a moment!

Some seasons are just plain hard work— balance making a living with living life.

I’ve been through some seasons, and I’ll bet you have to, that were downright sucky— find perspective, learn what you need to, and be ready to move on.

You see, in every season you will find opportunities—if only you will look for them—to use your talents.  The season you are in right now may not be the season for you to publish your book, paint your masterpiece, sell your song, climb Machu Picchu (or whatever dream you may hold), but you can live every day well. You can lay down your life today in small ways, and live in expectation that every act of goodness is part of a plan that is bigger than yourself.

Because we’re all created for a purpose, and we’re all creative in many, many ways. So don’t quit your day job. Walk well the path you’re on right now, in this season.

But get ready, my friend, because seasons change!