Thursday, April 17, 2008

Meetings and Inspirations

I had the pleasure of hearing the legendary Isaac Asimov speak. However, this event took place so many moons ago that I still walked the halls of high school. So sadly I don’t recall much of the actual lecture. Though I do remember a single piece of advice. He said to think of a magnificent ending, then do everything in your power to reach that ending. I sometimes stray from this advice, but I do believe in its merit. I tend to think of story tent poles, including the ending. Generally, however, I find that the characters (and I) will re-shape the events as the story develops. Thus, sometimes that great ending becomes either an even greater one or else completely askew from my original conception. Either way, it’s still a journey. But the sci-fi master had been right, one must keep sight of the ending. I have his signature on a piece of notebook paper.

I also stood in line just over ten years ago at a book signing of Richard Bach. As he is one of my favorites, I felt a little shaky standing before him. But he proved as charming as his philosophies and I soon had a little seagull drawing accompanying the touching line he wrote. As I exited the store with my signed books under arm, I realized: I did not have a copy of my favorite book signed! The reason for this oversight is simply because I made a habit of buying the book and giving it away on purpose. I had passed along my own copy to a friend. For you see, this is precisely how I acquired it in the first place. So I turned tail, grabbed Illusions: The Adventures of a Reluctant Messiah and rejoined the line. Some forty minutes later, when my turn came again, Mr. Bach looked up and, seeing me, brought a sparkle to his eyes and mouth and said, in bemused shock, “You’re back!” I explained my habit and that I decided I needed a personal, signed, copy of Illusions. I received not only another seagull sketch but the wonderful words “For Peter – Happy Flying!” I took them to heart.

I am flying, Mr. Bach. And I have a destination in sight, Mr. Asimov.
Thanks for the words.

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