a collection of steps


Agent Maxwell Smart began his day marching to his desk through a multitude of doors.  The weekly TV show’s determined detective was portrayed as not-so-smart, but his entrance into work was spectacular.


Some doors Smart encountered were disguised.  One, I recall, was a brick wall.  Others were made of unlikely door material, but all opened at precisely the moment his foot reached the last space of floor in front of the obstruction that threatened his path.

Not all doors opened the same way, nonetheless, each opened.

What is most intriguing, however, was not so much that the doors opened, but that he never thought they wouldn’t. His eyes were fixed on his destination and it was clear by his pace that he never doubted that those obstacles would be removed by the time he arrived.  He didn’t get stuck – he simply kept walking.

Life, I’ve found, is a series of doors; some disguised, some daunting, some seemingly impregnable. The doors Agent Smart encountered opened for him. He expected them to open – he knew they would open.

This book is one of my doors.  Forever I have wanted to write one.  I say ‘wanted’ because I wasn’t actually writing.  I was scratching paragraphs, catchy titles and irresistible opening sentences into blank-paged journals – foolishly believing that someday my fragmented scenes would miraculously fuse into a compelling plot.  To seriously pursue writing – to knock on a publisher’s door – that was a brick wall.

Then came a year of closed doors and opened windows; a time when I realized that my life was as fractured and plot-less as my writing.  Every year had been an interesting paragraph that led nowhere.  How could I lure a reader into an interesting tale, hold their attention and conclude with a memorable point if I couldn’t make sense of my own story?

The door to my writing career was disguised in a small ad in my hometown newspaper announcing an annual essay contest.  Beyond its threshold lay a path to a newspaper column and eventually to the compiling of this book.  Had I known this, I may not have entered the contest, but the step I took was small and now, after many small steps, this book exists.  I guess you could say I’m starting to walk with more faith that the doors will open when it’s time to walk through.

The telling of one’s experiences can sometimes be embarrassing, but when you read through these pages you may, with me, come to accept the fact that life does not always read like a novel.  It doesn’t always flow from one exciting chapter to the next and rarely draws to a thrilling, satisfying conclusion.

Many of life’s details are boring and seemingly insignificant.  But, if we look for the door, whether it’s in plain sight or hidden in the back of a wardrobe, if we muster the courage to step through it – if we crawl through the windows, we will discover the treasures that only seekers find – and we will never be the same.

Look back over your life.  Think about the myriad doors that opened before you.  Did you step through?

More doors are ahead.

Dare to start.

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