Life is Fragile

My dream of being a writer has had its fits and starts. When I all but finished my first book, I wrote a couple more short stories, and then didn’t write a word for ten years.

I was done with the dream.

I remember sharing with Rob one day that I used to dream of being a writer, but realized I didn’t have what it took. He responded with a story about a writer friend of his, or maybe he just knew this writer. He had her come into his classroom and discuss writing with his students. He then went on to say that, she wrote something like sixteen books before she sold her first one.

Inspiring, but it wasn’t enough to convince me I could be a writer.

I was doing a lot of writing in school, and it sort of got the juices flowing. But I was embarking on a new career, and when I did revisit that book I almost finished, I wasn’t sure if there were any more books in the tank.

I was happy to see it still on my hard drive, but not inspired enough to try to remember the password that protected it.

Then one day my ex-wife and I were driving home and my iPhone sounded the alert that told me I had an email. I didn’t think much of it, and assured Chris that it was just an email from my Yahoo account.

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When we got in the house, other distraction kept me from checking my Yahoo account. When I finally did, I read those life altering words. It was an alert that I had a message in my Facebook account

“Hey, Bill, this is Andrea, Jim’s friend from Alabama. I don’t know if you heard but Jim was killed in a car accident last night. His Mom has asked me to contact some of his military friends to let them know. We are devastated. Call me if you need…”

They were not the only ones devastated.

I wrote about Jim and our friendship in Best Friend. My biggest regret in Jim’s passing was that we didn’t stay in better touch. But my life was hell, and his was a whirlwind of chasing his dreams and the allusive “one”.

I missed Jim’s funeral. That sucked!

Jim landed a job in the British Virgin Islands with the National Guard, tough gig! Every other week he posted pictures of paradise. Kind of like my Facebook friend Bridgette, every day is a day in paradise. But there were pictures he posted that never showed up on my timeline.

I’ll get to those in a minute.

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When that gig expired, Jim came home and formed a band called Tramp Stamp. I know…right. He asked if I could still sing like David Coverdale. Sadly, I could not. Well I could, but only for about one song. Then my voice gave out. Didn’t matter, I lived in Minnesota, trapped in hellacious marriage and Jim was once again pursuing his dream.

His occupation on Facebook, Rock Guitarist.

I never envied Jim his accomplishments. I was happy for him. He was doing what I at one time boasted about. But up until now, he always had a normal job. I wondered why in his mid-forties he decided to form a rock band, and make that his sole occupation.

I was glad he had the means to do so.

Then we lost him.

And I was inspired.

Jim pursued his dreams. But more than that, he put in the effort, worked hard, saved when times were good, so that when he returned from paradise, he could pursue his dream of playing in a rock band.

I once called myself “Dream Chaser” but I wasn’t pursuing any dreams.

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Then I came across the photos you see scattered throughout this post. Jim titled the album that these photos are under Life is Fragile. Was this the catalyst that made Jim realize that tomorrow may never come? Was this the event that what inspired him to live the dream of playing live in front of an audience?

If we don’t at least try to obtain our dreams, we may never get the chance.

His tragic passing and my discovery of his near death inspired me. If it takes sixteen books for me to finally establish myself as a writer, then so be it. This is my passion. This is my future, and I will dedicate all success to my dear friend…Jim.

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