Sometimes we stumble upon who we are by accident, and what we want to do--or feel we should do--with our lives is thrust before us when we least expect it. Generally, however, it takes a great deal of hard work to find out what really makes us tick. For some people self-discovery is a combination of luck, divine providence, and introspect; something occurs in our lives that triggers a thought that leads to taking action.
My grandfather, H.L., was a person who experienced a mix of factors that ultimately led him to his destiny.
A self-made man he spent his life pursuing a dream: flying. Growing up he yearned to attend flight school, but his father clipped his wings. Being the eldest son of a poor farmer did not align him with those who could afford such luxuries. One day circumstance aligned itself with fate and he saw a magazine in an Idaho drugstore. In that magazine was a photo--a photo of a craft that hovered over the ice. It sent his mind soaring. If he couldn't take to the skies, perhaps, he thought, it might be possible for him to fly just above the earth . . .
. . .or the snow.
What ensued is legend in my family. Tales that have been told and retold: Grandpa's bold adventures in the snow bound vistas of western Wyoming and eastern Idaho, his travels to Alaska to sell his inventions--Sno-Planes--to Eskimos, and his desire for speed that led him to win the races that were eventually created to showcase his dream turned reality.
Over the years I thought it wasn't my right to tell Grandpa's story. My father and his brothers knew my grandfather much better, and for much longer, than I. They were the little boys who were right there with him, along for the ride as he flew over both snow and ice. But of late I've realized that there's part of the story only I can tell. The part of adoring granddaughter whose imagination was captured by tales of the past, whose mind took flight when the man she revered as a hero spoke of his life and dreams, his blue eyes dancing in delight with each reminisce.
And so, with two of my general fiction novels in the hands of publishers and two in the hands of agents, I've decided not to sit by the phone and wait for what I hope will be good news. I've decided to start my second young adult novel--the story of my life with my grandfather. Because even though what I've written so far is near and dear to my heart, Grandpa's story and how it impacted me is the novel of a lifetime I must write. I'm still doing the course work for life's class on who I am and telling this tale is part of what I need to do.
Lori Nawyn. Mom. Fireman's wife. Author. Illustrator. Writing my way out of the shadows and into the light. I am the illustrator of the award-winning children's book What Are You Thinking? My first novel, My Gift to You, is due out October 2010.