My journey to publication began with a road trip. I had not much thought about writing before. It seemed like one of those dreams that was not likely worth dreaming. But as I watched from the window of our mini-van when we passed by countless dotted white lines, my mind inevitably wandered.
It was 1999 and I had just returned from my mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to the Cebu Philippines Mission. Best mission in the world, co-incidentally, as all of them are in reality. My focus had shifted from helping others to see a greater vision for their lives to thinking about what I was going to do with my own. Back then I didn’t know what interesting paths my future would take.
My family helped to sign me up for classes that would start soon, but for now we were on our way to Palmyra, New York to see the sacred grove where a prophet came to be, with his vision of God the Father and His Son Jesus Christ. Certainly if this truly happened as I believe and feel with all of my heart it did–given the countless experiences I have had to test those feelings of the Holy Spirit, letting me know of the truth of God’s dealings with man–then it is the greatest news that I can share to the world. I am grateful for the two years of missionary service dedicated to passing along that good word to at least a few of God’s children on the isles of the sea. But that’s not where my mind was on this occasion.
Neither had I fully immersed my mind into the world of academia. No, I was considering what it would be like to get back into another love of mine–soccer. Before going to the Philippines I had high hopes of trying out as a walk-on for the Brigham Young University soccer team. I heard rumors that the first day of practice would consist of strenuous drills intended to weed people out. If I could not run from the practice fields to the “Y” fixed high enough on the side of a mountain for the whole valley to see and come back in the front third of the group, I would not make the team. Or so I had heard. I don’t know how true that was and what other drills would be expected of a tryout in that tired state. But having just missed tryouts my freshman year before my mission I had already put myself to that test. I played soccer nearly everyday my freshman year and built up stamina just to see if I could run to the “Y” and back. I am happy to report that I made that feat, only stopping to rest for about 10 minutes at the top. There was no way I could do that now after proselyting for two years (mentally taxing work but walking around in the heat was not nearly as physically taxing as college sports would require). I was out of shape. I thought about how I would risk injury. And that is when I started thinking of living out the story vicariously. A story began to peal to my view as though the scenes of a film.
Granted I had not envisioned writing being anything more than my baseball dream as a kid–a fun pastime but rare to make a living by. I only saw this as a fun way to distract my mind with a story not yet available for others to view. I began writing a story about a soccer player trying to play through injury. He had a history of concussions and was downplaying how bad those instances were. I think many athletes were doing this at that time, and for many years before the 1990’s, for that matter. Today I think that book would have a good audience. I’m thinking about revisiting it. But on my family’s road trip typing out that initial scene I didn’t realize I was playing out a scene that would become common to me as my own life story unfolds, and that is me spending all sorts of time writing and now blogging for not just my entertainment, but hopefully for yours as well.