And The Reason Is…?

Photo courtesy BigStock

“Things happen for a reason.”

My father used to tell me that all the time when I was a kid. Usually right after he discovered some chain of events I’d set in motion had culminated in a flooded basement, or a broken window.

I’m sure I’ve said something similar to my own kids (now grown men) once or twice over the years.

It came to my mind again last Saturday, as I sat on my deck … laid on it would be a better term … wondering what the hell had just happened, and why did my shoulder hurt so much?

Seems I’d overlooked a basic prerequisite for working with electricity (other than have a licensed electrician do it) … turn off the power.

I was changing some rusty, 28-year-old light fixtures on the back of the house. One of the two was finished and, as I went to work on the second one … controlled by a different circuit … I remember thinking I should go inside and check the light switch.

But the light wasn’t on (turns out the bulb was burned-out), and that particular sliding door is one we never use … ever.

There’s a sofa in front of it so we treat it like a big window and the light is seldom turned on anyway … so, I forgot all about that basic safety prerequisite.

Everything was going along fine. I had sliced through the caulking that sealed the fixture to the house, loosened the screws holding it to the electrical box, and removed the wire nuts that connected its wiring to the circuit.

I even took the time to place all the wire nuts on top of the garden storage chest just outside the door, so they wouldn’t fall through the decking.

As I returned to the fixture, my left hand brushed against the now bare wires and …

You guessed it, didn’t you?

I felt the tingle on the back of my hand, and the next thing I knew I was laying on the deck. I remember falling, and bracing myself with my left hand as I went down.

I also remember thinking: Whew! That was close!

Then there was the impact. My left shoulder hurt like hell from the stress of stopping my 200+ pound body from planting my face on the deck boards. It was a mini-hell trying to get up.

My shoulder still hurts when I try to lift it, although it’s much better today than it was Saturday or Sunday. I have an appointment with my orthopedic surgeon, to assess the damage.

I’ve had accidents before which tore my rotator cuff (other arm), so I know the drill.

Thankfully, this injury seems to far less serious than the last one (which was hurt after snowmobiling with friends up north).

Why am I telling you this, and what in the hell does it have to do with writing?

Well, I’m probably looking for a little sympathy … but it’s also a good segue into a writing mantra for all indie writers (with apologies to the Boy Scouts):

Be prepared.

Read the acknowledged good books that are out there. Study how the author has gathered … and kept … your attention.

Study character development. There’s a neat (if I do say so myself) free pamphlet about it available right here on this blog (you may need to come back to it, if you’re a subscriber, since I think your subscription only shows the blog post, not the whole page).

Learn how to tell a story. I gave you a valuable link in my last post to On Writing, by Stephen King … the best-selling book on how to write that’s ever been written.

Research dialogue, so you’ll understand how to craft it yourself.

And by all means, if you feel like fooling around with electricity yourself someday, remember to turn off the circuit first. It’s a lesson I knew, but overlooked … and will never forget again.

I might not be so lucky twice.


You can find my books as eBooks or paperback on Amazon, or at Barnes & Noble. You’re also invited to visit my web site, BROKEN GLASS, or like my Book of Face page. You can also follow my shorter ramblings on The Twitter.


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10 Responses to “And The Reason Is…?”

  1. John Parry Says:

    Hang In there mate – friends are dying all round me, I can’t afford to lose any more!!


  2. James Sloan Says:

    Sounds like another shocking experience!!!!….4 Advil every 6 hours until better should help in your recovery!!!

    Sent from my iPhone


  3. bushmanjeffrey Says:

    Sorry about your “current” situation.
    Thanks for all the tips. I’ve been working on a few short stories. One of which I just finished Sunday morning. I have a feeling that many of the things you discuss can help with my writing. Character development is a big one for my novel. If you would care to read my latest shortie let me know and I will email it to you. I would appreciate any critique which would help better my craft! Thanks again for all your insight!
    PS Bill just posted a picture of him and Scott down at Universal Studios. It was good to see them get together again!


  4. mickeyobe Says:




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