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?
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