I have these two great friends: Terry and Mike. They’re both prolific writers. Mike is one of the foremost Catholic scholars in the United States, has met the Pope, and published or edited more than 40 books on matters of spirituality. Mike and I grew up in the same town and have been friends for about 50 years. On most weekdays after school, I ate dinner around 4:30.pm at his house before heading home to eat a second dinner. Mike hails from a large Italian family, and his Mom and Dad wouldn’t allow me to leave unless I had minestra, homemade gnocchi, or whatever Mrs. Aquilina brought to the table. My mother never took too kindly to me dining at the Aquilina’s. “They have enough mouths to feed,” she’d say. Quite frankly, my Dad was a meat and potatoes man and while my Mom made a decent sauce for an Irish woman,it was never a regular menu item at our house. Mike’s mom filled the table daily with homemade Italian food that was culinary legend.
Ironically,Terry was Mike’s first college roommate, and at one point we all shared a house in State College, PA . Terry and I became fast friends, through Mike in 1981, and do not see each other as often as we wish. I have visited him in Maine and Niagara Falls, but getting to his current home in Knoxville, TN remains on the to-do list. A few years back, Terry won an internet-based writing contest for novelists. The grand prize entailed having his book published by Touchstone Publishing. “The Way Life Should Be” is a fast-paced, fictional crime story set in Maine, where Terry honed his skill as a newspaper editor. Being a fiction buff and having read many of the entries in the contest, I contend there were some excellent submissions. Terry’s work prevailed.
Naturally, when I thought about writing again, I emailed Terry for advice. Terry offered some simple words. “Write what you’re passionate about,” he said. And then he immediately referenced our mutual friend. “Look at Mike. He’s loving every minute of what he does.” So true. When you sit with Mike for a few hours, his contentedness is palpable.
So when I think about inspiration, and kick-starting this little thing of mine, my thoughts immediately turned to these two guys. Who better to have in your corner? It’s rare to have one buddy with such literary accomplishments. I’m lucky enough to have two.