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The Perfect Stroke

I enjoy golf. Am I good at it? No! Do I keep lugging my clubs out every week and try once again? Yupper! I think I heard someone ask Why?

Because I enjoy it and it seems like in every round there is that one shot, out of around a hundred, that is just beautiful. When I swing the club and hear the sound of the club striking the ball, the swish as it drives through the ball, taking out a perfect divot, then watching as the ball flies through the air, not an inch above the ground, and goes exactly where I meant it to go, not 75 yards to the right or left or buried in a sand trap so deep you can barely see it.

“Gee, that’s nice.” A sarcastic voice beat against me from the doorway.

“Hello Willow, glad to see you.” Not a chance.

She strode into the room, and you guessed it, dropped into her leather chair with one leg over the arm of the chair. I sure wish I could see the chair when she wasn’t in the room, it really looks comfortable, but that will never happen.

“Are you really that bad at golf?” She pulled back her blond hair with both hands, pushing the long strands back over her shoulders.

I kind of liked the way she wore it now, split down the middle. It reminded me of the 70’s.

“Unfortunately yes.” I was not proud of it, but anyone that has watched me play, would have to agree. “But I still enjoy the fellowship and as I mentioned, there is always that one shot that keeps me coming back.”

She twisted her lips and her brows narrowed, a common sign that she was thinking over what I said. “Seems foolish to me, but if you enjoy it, who am I to question you.”

“Thanks, I appreciate your support.” Not sure if my sarcasm came through, but at least I felt better.

She slid back, still sideways, in the lush leather chair [I really wish I could sit in the chair – it looks so comfy] and turned her face to look at me. “So you know my next question, right.”

“What does this have to do with writing?” I leaned back in my office chair, but it just wasn’t the same.

She nodded with a smirk.

I sat back up. She wiggled her shoulders sinking further into the cushion. I am sure on purpose.

“I have been writing a lot of words this last eighteen months.”

“Yes I know.” She held up a finger above her head, pointed at herself, and moved the finger back and forth. It reminded me of what Blake Shelton would do on the Voice.

“Yes, yes, I know you know.” She could be funny at times, but you had to like her sense of humor to appreciate it. “Did you know that the manuscript we are editing is over 167,000 words; which translates to over One Million characters? Each one I had to type, and in many cases, multiple times because of all the changes we came up with.”

“Wow, that’s a lot. I had not thought about it in those terms.” It wasn’t often I could tell her something she didn’t already know. “Are you saying trying to tell me you hit the ball a million times when you play.”

I had to laugh; which got another smile out of her. “It feels like that sometimes, but no, that is not what I am trying to say.”

“Soooo.”

“The point I was trying to get at is that I might swing the club a hundred times and maybe, if I am lucky, there is one stroke that I just love (someday, maybe more), that keeps me from giving up on golf and keep at it time after time.” I paused; which earned me the response I expected. She sat up and removed her foot from the arm of the chair, leaning forward with elbows on her knees. At least she wasn’t as comfortable as she had been. I smiled and thought score one point for me. But I couldn’t let her wait too long or I would definitely pay for it later. “Something like this happens to me in my writing.”

“How so?” Her interest was piqued and my smile broadened.

As I started to explain it to her my thoughts turned serious. “With all the jobs I have had from a government program manager to a chief scientist in the private sector to a college professor to ministry work with TEENS — writing is the hardest thing I have ever done.”

She only nodded having had a front row seat to the experience. At least the writing. We really didn’t know each other very well before that.

“And there have been many times I felt like just giving up; which is how I ended up with a drawer full of failed attempts from over the last forty years.”

“Why didn’t you. I mean, why now? Why not before?”

“One reason is you.” I said without the usual mocking tone in my voice she was accustomed to when I would compliment her.

The smug look on her face told me she knew I was serious.

I sighed deeply, it was hard to dig deep into how I feel about things sometimes. But I wanted to share this. With eyes closed I clasped my hands behind my head. “There are times, after writing thousands of words, where I feel like I want to dump the whole thing. I re-read what I just wrote and think this is really crap! Just like most of the swings I make in golf. But then I come across a sentence or a paragraph that is like that perfect stroke where the words are just… just perfect. You gave me the words to say exactly what I wanted to say and in a way that expresses exactly what I was trying to convey. It may take a hundred or more sentences, but then I come across that one… and it is all I need. These are the sentences that if I changed the entire scene, I would keep this sentence.”

I opened my eyes and saw that she had leaned closer as I was talking.

“That is pretty kool.” The smugness was gone and she just smiled, I like to think happy for me.

My energy level was rising. “Yes, it is. I have only written the first four chapters of my newest manuscript, the Young Adult novel about a young dragon trainer, and as I was re-reading it I came across the following paragraph. Well a little more than a paragraph, but I thought it was one of those, I got to keep this.”

He took two steps toward the manor, scanning from the grand double doors to the windows on either side. He sucked in and exhaled deeply as he looked down at the half-sword in his hand. His master had drilled him in between training dragons, and while Rylan felt confident in his own abilities, he did not like his chances against a full Ten or more of trained soldiers. He took another step forward looking at the window farthest to the right when a loud rushing noise beat against him as the air parted and the Green’s horned-head passed above him. The sudden eruption of stone, splintered wood, and broken glass surrounded the dragon’s head, causing Rylan to turn his head and throw up his hands. He turned back to the manor as the Green pulled back, leaving a pile of rubble around a large gap in the wall

Well that works,” Rylan said as he stared at the man-sized hole in the wall.

Yeah, kool… really kool.” She just nodded, her eyes glowing.

So, how about you folks. Is there anything that you do that is really hard or difficult, but then there is that one thing that just pulls you in, that one thing that points at the heart of your passion. Let us know what it is. I would love to hear what is your perfect stroke… your great sentence.

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