8/30/2015

A Fake-Sounding True Story of Inspiration

I met my wife in Kansas City, between Christmas and New Year's 2008.  She told me she was an air-traffic controller, and at the time, I though that was this guy:


Turns out it's actually this guy:


Not exactly, but that's another story.

Anyway, within two hours of meeting her, I told her all my deepest, darkest secrets.  Amazingly, this didn't scare her off.  By the second time I saw her, I knew I was in love.

The relationship progressed pretty much normally until 2010, when unexpected circumstances forced her to move to Los Angeles.  I wasn't about to let true love drive away in a U-Haul, so I asked her to marry me and threw my chips in with hers.

Thing is, as much as I loved Kansas City, I didn't have any compelling reason to stay.  Sure, my family was there, and I love them deeply, but families stay connected no matter what distances separate them.  And I absolutely loathed my job managing the bar at a failing golf club.  Matter of fact, I had never had a job I liked--unless you count working at a liquor store where we could smoke weed in the cooler when I was in college.  That was the perfect job for a college kid.  But not exactly a long-term career.

Anyway, I knew I had to go with her.  Never questioned it.  So I told my boss to go screw herself (she was a bitch that lived to scapegoat me anyway), and struck out, like so many before me, to seek my fortune on the West Coast, faithful woman at my side.

During the transition, my wife had to go through some extended training in Oklahoma City, and I spent those weeks mostly sitting on the couch watching Harry Potter.  I found us an apartment, and I started looking for jobs, but basically, I had no plan for the rest of my life, other than marrying the girl I loved.

Then, on October 10th, 2010, I was awakened from a fitful sleep by a strange phrase tolling in my  head:

Jim Frankenstein, Rock and Roll Space Priest
Jim Frankenstein, Rock and Roll Space Priest
Jim Frankenstein, Rock and Roll Space Priest

I got up and wrote it down, and suddenly I found that I had other things I needed to write down.  For some reason, I decided that Jim lived in a place called the Five Systems--five solar systems settled by humanity.  And I looked on Wikipedia to figure out which stars would be likely places for such settlements, and pretty soon I was doing my first world building exercise.

Before I knew it, it was morning, I had twelve pages of notes, and my wife was up.  We ate breakfast, then I sat her down and told her that I had a new plan for my life: I wanted to be a writer.

There have been a lot of ups and downs since then, and I've had to learn a lot of hard lessons.  But here I am, writing and editing fiction for a living.  I've published one book already, and I'm working on my first (publishable) full-length novel.  As silly as it sounds, the course of my life was determined by seven random words popping into my head in the middle of the night.

So that kind of thing happens, apparently.