"You need to have your head examined."
Updated: Oct 22, 2019
“I am writing a novel.”
“A book? What do you know about writing? And how will you have the time? And it’s so hard to get published. You need to have your head examined.”
I chuckle when I remember the admonition: “You need to have your head examined.” That is quite possibly true, and to be fair, many people with whom I discussed my new goal were fully supportive. Excited, even. But that one comment—from someone I trusted and whose opinion I valued (stop guessing, it’s not my family, and I’ll never tell)—stuck with me.
I had never been told that I couldn’t do something before. Not really. Maybe it was because I always took the “normal” paths. Or maybe I was just predictable: high school, college, medical school, primary care practice near my hometown, husband, father, deacon, youth coach. Whatever the difference, with the discouraging comment I found myself suddenly in uncharted territory, not only in the nature of my quest but also because of the seed of doubt planted unwittingly by a friend.
I didn’t let it stop me, though. Ever since I wrote a story called “Old Scrapper” in the second grade, I had dreamed of being a writer. The problem was, I never thought I had a story to tell. Then suddenly, thirty-six years later, it was there, appearing in my mind’s eye one day as I drove home from a family beach vacation, as clear as if I had lived it myself and awoken from a generation-long bout of amnesia. I couldn’t ignore it any more than a person can ignore their feet while standing in a fire ant mound. Telling my tale was just something that had to be done. So I began writing, feeding off those who encouraged me and attempting to ignore my detractors.
Now, four years after frantically typing out the first words moments after arriving home from a long drive, the story is nearly ready. Ready to leave the nest, to be released to the world, to attempt to fly on its own. Much like a new parent sending kids off for the first time, it is terrifying. But it is also exhilarating.
The good news is, The Truth That Lies Between—the story that popped in my head that day in July of 2015—wasn’t the only one. A sequel arrived at the doorstep of my brain shortly thereafter, is now written, and is in the editing queue. And a sequel to that is a work in progress. Then, a short story entitled “The Recruit” showed up a couple of months ago and will actually be released first. And if that wasn’t enough, there are other ideas taking a number and waiting at the door.
I’ll keep plugging and see what happens. And oh yeah, lest there be any confusion, I have no intention of cutting back on the other thing I love to do—treating and trying to improve the lives of my beloved patients.
But yeah, maybe I really do need to have my head examined.