This post was originally published in February of 2011.
6:35 AM and it’s time for The Writers Almanac. Unless I’m running way behind on time, I drop the morning routine and devote a few minutes to listen. For those who are not NPR Morning Edition listeners, the Almanac, hosted by Garrison Keillor, is as a review of whichever author or poet happens to be having a birthday that day and, typically, a story about how they began to work in their chosen field.
It was recently John Grisham’s birthday, and Keillor told the story about how Grisham came to be an author. Working numerous jobs, unhappy in all of them, Grisham knew he wanted to pursue his education as a means to open the door to opportunity. He completed law school, but wasn’t happy as a lawyer. By chance, he heard a young girl’s gripping court testimony, and it inspired him to write his first book. He quit his job when the movie rights were sold to his second book. Grisham reported that the day he closed his law office door was the happiest day of his life. How many of us have had the Grisham fantasy? We find the perfect thing, have great success, and walk away from the tedious other.
Yes, Grisham is a stand-out example, and as one of the highest earning authors, he has reached an echelon of success where there is not enough room for all of us, no matter our aspirations or our hard work. So what can we learn from Grisham? That we may find the beginning of the manifestation of our fulfillment in the most unexpected places – even the place from which our greatest desire is to escape.