To jump off a cliff is Very Big Decision; one I recently made: I am going to independently publish my new book, Dead Letters (#8 in the Claudia Rose psychological suspense series). After publishing my nonfiction books on handwriting psychology for a while now, I find this choice infinitely more daunting. I waffled over it for a few weeks, not entirely sure it was the right thing to do. Then, this happened…
The day after making the VBD, I intended to go grocery shopping in the morning. But, procrastinator that I am, I put it off until well after lunch. Just before I left my keyboard, I emailed my friend and fellow author Peg Brantley to share the news. The subject line was: I just jumped off a cliff.
Sir Patrick Stewart
Words of wisdom
Driving across town to the local Winco, I tuned the radio to NPR’s Fresh Air with Terry Gross. Thanks to my lagging, I’d caught the last few minutes of what had clearly been a great interview with the venerable actor, Sir Patrick Stewart. When I heard what he said, I confess to promptly bursting into tears. Speaking of his early days in the business, he quoted a teacher who had told him something he said he never fully understood until much later:
“Patrick, you will never achieve success by insuring against failure.” I thought, huh, that’s so true. But it was his next words that made my mouth drop open.
“You have to take risks,” he said as if directly speaking to me. “You have to be brave; you have to step into the unknown.”
Then: “You have to step off the edge of a cliff.” OMG, that’s what I had just written to Peg! But wait, there’s more…
Patrick Stewart said, “I always make sure I’m dead letter perfect.” OMG, OMG, OMG!!! Dead Letters is the title of my new book!!!
To make sure I wasn’t misremembering or putting words in his mouth, I looked up the interview online and transcribed exactly what he had said. I don’t know about you, but I believe in spirit guides and angels, and I believe that when we ask for help, we get it. Oh boy, had I been asking! Just think–had I gone to the store in the morning, rather than procrastinating, I would have missed the interview. If I had been a half an hour earlier I would have missed the interview.
Look, I know that everything Sir Patrick said could be applied to any author. But I don’t believe in coincidences. If it had been just the first statement, well, that was encouraging. But the second, and the third—at that moment, those words were meant for me.
2020 was a super-rotten year for all of us, some more than others suffering intolerable losses of many kinds. But all of a sudden, a bright ray of hope carried me into 2021. Soon, I’ll have more to tell you about this adventure, but for now, I wish you a very Happy New Year. I hope that by my tale of jumping off a cliff, you will feel empowered and encouraged, too.
A version of this blog was published on 1/4/21 at Blackbirdwriters.com