One Book

As soon as I heard this story on my friend and mentor Dr. Rob Gilbert’s Success Hotline,* I had to share it. Rob is a big believer about the power of one: the power of one idea, one book, one encounter to have a life-changing effect. But he adds, “If you don’t go, you’ll never know” — if you don’t go to that program or event, meet that person or see that book, you’ll never be exposed to your personal game-changer.

Case in point: Years ago, when he was in college, Scott Kelly went to the school bookstore to buy some gum. While he was there, he happened to see a copy of The Right Stuff by Tom Wolfe. Something about it — the name or the cover — attracted him. He brought it and read it from cover to cover. As he described it, the book “ignited a spark in me.” By the time he finished it, Scott knew what he wanted to do: he wanted to be an astronaut.

Not long ago, he completed a 350-day mission in space and while he was there, he called Tom Wolfe to thank him for penning his book and setting him on his life’s path. Wow! What a testimony to the power of writing. Wordsmiths take heed and sustenance!

Great story, isn’t it? I wonder if all writers and aspiring writers are like Scott and can point to a single book or life experience that ignited their desire to play with words and create the world’s stories. When I ponder my own beginnings, I think of a short story a gifted teacher Mrs. Parsons gave me when I was about 12. We had just finished a story that I talked a lot about in class and Mrs. Parsons said, “If you liked that story so much, Karin, I think you’ll really love this one.”

She handed me a copy of “Neighbor Rosicky” by Willa Cather. She was right! I absolutely loved that story. Something about its elegant structure, its spare writing so freighted with emotion, affected me so deeply. In that moment, I came to appreciate what it meant to use
words to craft a story that truly touched the heart. And I knew I wanted to learn how to do that — that it was an important and worthy endeavor deserving of my time and devotion.

How about you? Is there a book or story that helped set you on your writing journey? If so, I’d love to hear about it as we all write on!

* Check out Dr. Rob Gilbert’s fabulous Success Hotline: 973.743.4690.

About karinwritesdangerously

I am a writer and this is a motivational blog designed to help both writers and aspiring writers to push to the next level. Key themes are peak performance, passion, overcoming writing roadblocks, juicing up your creativity, and the joys of writing.
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