Wednesday, July 3, 2013

One Punch

I had kept journals off and on for years and written some creative non-fiction but first started writing fiction in the spring of 2003.

I’d had a particularly hard day at school that day.

A student with fetal alcohol syndrome had taken a swing at me and connected. He was scared and I didn’t realize it and he swung wildly and connected just below my eye.

He was not a violent kid. I was not a pushy teacher. We just happened to be walking through a narrow walkway together after a particularly stressful day for him and he went a little wild.

I continued to work with him for the next year or so, but that swing changed me. Woke me up. Made me realize once again to take nothing for granted. I had to go to the doctor for some x-rays and yeah, everything was fine, but still, it was the closest I’d come to having my life altered by someone’s physical force.

I’d been kicking around an idea I had for a novel for a couple of years--chewing on it as I rode my bike to and from work.

More than anything else, that one punch stirred me to action. It made me realize that if I wanted to start writing a novel the time was now. There was no guarantee that tomorrow would be there. There never really is.
Without that one punch I probably would have started writing that novel sometime but I’m not sure when. I don’t think you need to have life threatening experiences in order to make changes in your life but some experiences can put you on a faster track for taking action.

What experiences have you had that have made you re-evaluate what you are doing or that have woken you up and caused you to make a change in your life?

Thanks for stopping by.


  1. Glad to hear you were ok. The turning point for me was when I lost my dream job. A career I had been happily working at for 17 years. But, sigh, budget cuts.
    I changed careers and picked up the notebook I had been scribbling in for the past year. And I haven't looked back!

  2. Sounds like you weathered a tough transition.
    Good luck with your writing!

  3. The birth of my son (1st child) changed my world completely. I began to view all kids (my students) as if they were mine, I quit smoking after the first look in his eyes (had been smoker for 20 years), and I made my goal to be a good man. All superfluous accomplishments and goals became, well, superfluous, and my eyes are always on living life the right way. I know it sounds cheesy, but it is the God's honest truth. See, my father wasn't around for most of my life, so it makes things even more important for me to right those wrongs (I will NOT continue the cycle too many men perpetrate). Great topic.

    1. Thanks for sharing this, Mike! Not cheesy at all. The awareness you have is golden.

  4. I'm glad everything was OK! I know that I often wonder why certain experiences happened or what would have been different had they not, but like you I've found that most often they launch a change (generally for the best) or kick start something that I really need to do.

  5. I got laid off after 23 years with the same company. At 2:00 pm I was employed. At 3:00 I wasn't. I didn't think I'd know where to go from there, but I did. I started writing seriously the next day. That was over four years ago and I am eternally grateful for that pink slip!

  6. I had an appendicitis that was misdiagnosed and almost killed me.

  7. Wow that's quite an experience. At least it made you take an important step.


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