white door, open, showing the view of clouds and blue skies

Some of you may have noticed a lag between posts recently, which may imply I’m not writing as much. Au contraire. Last week I wrote at least six hours a day, sometimes seven and eight. What am I spending so much time writing if not Lessons from the Cockpit? Read on.

Readers sensed something brewing when I posted “Make the Leap” parts 1 and 2, and although I knew my end goal and held the destination foremost in mind, I was unsure when I’d make the leap and start the journey toward it. But sometimes the destination moves toward us. Recently, I felt a palpable shift in my life, a swirling energy mass gathering beyond the horizon. The clear skies circling me gave no indication anything differed from my normal routine, yet I knew the swirl approached, could feel it in my being. I kept angling my body in its direction with anticipation. I liken it to a summer storm where we can’t see the thunderheads building—they’re too far away or the tree line obscures them from view—but we know it’s coming. A breeze kicks up. The temperature drops five degrees. The leaves on the trees flash their pale green underbellies in rippling waves.

Before you think this energy mass was something ominous, let me say this. Some people don’t like storms, but not me. I get excited. Why? Because storms break up life’s monotony. They come when you’ve had ten scorchers in a row and are sick of the heat. They blow in just as you find yourself thinking, Is this all there is?  They show up when you need rescue from a hypnotic routine, and while they’re thundering toward you, as you imagine the aftermath, you suspect you might not be the same person you were before. Storms bring the potential for change, and the potential for change, is another way to say hope.

Storms may not be so fun in the middle of them, once they’ve descended in a fierce huff and puff, but I relish the altered landscape after one rumbles through. In its wake, crisp air stirs the soul. The sky wells a deeper blue. The world glistens, a bright, new landscape ripe for discovery, not only for the route never taken, but also for the familiar viewed through fresh eyes.

So, as this massive swirl advanced, edging into view on the horizon, I lifted my face toward it, losing myself in the cosmic artistry of its swells and churns, ready for anything. When its surge blew open a door near me, I leapt through it without hesitation, no glancing behind to learn if it had closed or not. Maybe that door still stands open, but even if it is, I’ll never return through it. My mind slammed that door, sealing the stagnant room behind it forever. And that’s all that matters. I have too many other open doors to run, leap and fly through instead.

Now, I’m writing full-time for the summer, working toward a solid draft of my first novel by the end of September. I’ll tuck it away for a month—won’t even peek at it—while working on other pursuits. Then in November and December, I’ll edit it and begin my search for an agent and publisher.

Many people ask the book’s premise, and I’m happy to tell them…in person. So if you bump into me and want to know…ask. But I’m not ready to divulge details online yet. I will convey this much: It’s the fictional account of a person whose life changes when he begins to discover, with a little help from his friends, how the world and universe works, that we must “flow” our way through life versus “fight” our way. He learns that clues to the answers of those age-old questions of “Why am I here?” and “What am I supposed to do?” already exist in everyone’s day-to-day lives, within their field of vision. We just have to learn what to look for, how to “see” them.

As I mentioned, the book is fiction. But the message, and method of interacting with life, are not. I’ve had amazing, wondrous events happen, not because I’m lucky, but because I’ve started looking for, and expecting, the amazing and the wondrous. I’ve started using my instinct and heart to lead versus my brain. I’m not bashing the brain; it’s outstanding at executing the plans we’ve set for ourselves. But the brain should never decide and drive what we must execute toward. That’s for our hearts to decide.

The Sanctuary of Greensboro, a creative center

One of the wondrous things happened a year ago. I discovered The Sanctuary of Greensboro, a creativity center—or creativity incubator as I like to think of it—that embraces artists of all levels, giving them a nurturing, non-judgemental environment. The more established artists teach classes there and new classes are constantly added. I started teaching writing classes there last spring and will resume in the fall. So, guess where I’m writing my novel this summer? You guessed it. I believe I may be the first ever Writer-in-Residence at The Sanctuary.

Shelves of books with chairs sitting in a circle at the The Sanctuary of Greensboro, a creative center

I’ve included photos of The Sanctuary including the striped chair where I spend over six hours a day writing my book. I’ve also been asked to take on the board presidency for The Sanctuary in the fall, which I’ve accepted. I’m now working with the executive director to revamp the website, so expect a link soon.

If you live in or near Greensboro, North Carolina, I invite you to drop in and say hello. The address is:

1150 Revolution Mills Drive, Studio 7

Large room with art hanging on the wall at The Sanctuary of Greensboro, a creative center

You can also join us for our weekly Creativity Circle, an open group that meets every Friday morning from 10:30 to 11:30, although coffee brews at 10 and most arrive early to socialize. I’m infused with tremendous energy after this creativity circle. We speak of sparks that ignite our creativity, as well as the wet blankets that can dampen it, if we allow them. I believe everyone is inherently creative, but it’s often beat out of us, by society at first, then ourselves as we shoulder the deep-rooted voices of others that we mistake for our own. But how much creativity we ultimately manifest, depends on how much permission we give ourselves to do so, regardless of what anyone else thinks. This creativity group is one big permission slip.

So, I look forward to seeing you at The Sanctuary, even if it’s just the next time you are passing through the area. Just don’t expect me to dress up for you. I’ve spent too much time over the last 12 years in suits and ties. My writing attire is cargo shorts, a t-shirt and flip flops. And I’ve never been happier.

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