Time for a confession. I’m an expert at keeping eye contact when the pastor is talking on Sundays, but my mind can sometimes wander. You know how it is. You go from hearing about Peter walking out on the water to thinking how far did he go? Ten yards? He went far enough for a first down? Next thing you know you’re wondering if you need to adjust your fantasy lineup before kickoff, or if Peter has to miss the game because of a concussion. By the time you resume tracking with the message, Jesus quelled the storm, the boat has landed safely on shore and you nod your head in agreement with the pastor all while secretly are wondering what ever happened to Peter? So one Sunday the pastor was talking about how our life is but a mist, here one moment and gone the next. He likened our life to that little hyphen on a tombstone between our birthdate and the date of our parting. Our whole life, defined by that little dash.
And it hit me.
That moment of inspiration. A book idea. Characters, plot and setting. The whole enchilada. I saw a boy; a runner, and his chasing after meaning for his time on this earth. I saw his struggle. I saw his dash.
Over the past four years I have been writing this novel, and now I am finalizing the publishing process. It has been a labor of love, crafting sentences, listening to the characters tell me their story, and then sharing the pages in bits and pieces with my wonderful students.
They nod and smile. Of course, they are also experts at keeping eye contact when I am reading to them.