You have to have inspiration as a writer, more than just plot ideas and muses. I've become pretty selective about what I read regarding the writing life and publishing business because, frankly, it can be a real downer.
Inspiration came my way this week from an unlikely source. My nephew, who is about to graduate from the University of Cincinnati, is a finalist for a Truman Scholarship. It's a huge deal. Over Christmas, he asked me if I would read his essays to the selection committee and give feedback. This is what he wrote about his personal life, in addition to writing sharply about his field of study, accounting.
"Two and a half years ago I woke up on a cold
November night in the median of I-75 mangled from a severe automobile accident.
Before then, I was a mostly energetic person – sociable, athletic, humorous,
and smart. I often went through the motions and had just enough achievement on
my record to feed my worst enemy: complacency. That life and the road I was on
still haunt me. I was a confident passenger with my best friend at the wheel. I
never thought about driving myself. I was content, so I took off my seatbelt
thinking, “I don’t need security.” I was hopelessly optimistic as our driver violently turned the wheel. “Everything is going to be okay” was my famous
line. At the moment we hit the guardrail and flipped, I only begged that it
would soon stop. I frantically reached for a handle desperately trying to hold
on to what I had. I flew through the windshield and tried to cover my head as I
drew nearer to the pavement. I wanted to forgive, thank, and love more than I
ever tried to before. I was scared of what I would become if and when I awoke.
Traumatized with a brain injury and unable to walk, I was broken physically,
spiritually and emotionally. Yet, amidst the confusion and pain, I remember
refusing to accept my state of being as the one I’d live for the rest of my
life. The sense of urgency I felt to simply walk was overwhelming and when that
first step came four months after that brutal evening, I committed to remember
that accident as the incredible catalyst that now motivates me to transform
goals into achievements. I never had to question the life I lived before that
day; I had no reason to. But now, I don’t just question what I’m doing; I
question the impact I’m having. The accident taught me how to live with
conviction, passion, purpose, and motivation. It brought me to a new road and
now, I’m in the driver’s seat."
Now 22, he walks, thinks and breaths his convictions daily. I hope he gets the scholarship, too.