Friday, October 26, 2012

Got a Life Changer?

People who tell me they want to write but have little to write about just don’t get it. I can think of dozens of moments—literally seconds in the vast timeline of my life—that changed me. And I’m not talking about when as a pedestrian I evaded an oncoming truck that would have flattened me, or when I stepped into an abandoned warehouse with the elevator doors closing behind me and two Dobermans snarling at me for an endless twenty seconds until the elevator opened again. No Bruce Willis moments, although those are pretty cool too.

I’m thinking about the time as a ten-year-old kid I landed in Luqa Airport, Malta, after my first trans-Atlantic flight ever to meet for the first time relatives I had heard about my entire young life. I remember being tossed from one relative to another, kissed and squeezed and never before having felt so much undeserved love. Or a decade later when in the Montreux Jazz Festival, Switzerland, I heard Sonny Rollins soloing on his booming tenor saxophone during “To a Wild Rose,” making me a committed jazz fan for the rest of my life. Or only half a year later when I sat in a college classroom checking out a woman sitting next to me who I did not know would become my wife of 36 years and become the mother of my two daughters.

I bring up these moments for two reasons. First, to remind anyone who wants to write that you do have plenty to write about. Second, to remind myself that new life-changing moments await me as I head to China next week for the first time to teach report writing and presentation skills to graduate students at the Beijing International MBA program. Writing opportunities lie everywhere: notice and record them when they happen.

If you’ve got a life changer, I’d enjoy hearing about it!