Why I became a writer
I owe my being a writer to a snowball fight.
A bunch of us were leaving an AA meeting in the middle of a brutal Chicago winter, snow drifts everywhere, hundred pound icicles bending gutters, breath coming out in puffs lingering like cigarette smoke. In our new-found wisdom gleaned from the meeting me and these three guys (all of us grown men, mind you) promptly got into a snowball fight. We were hardly prepared for it. Leather-soled shoes, overcoats, no hats. But snowballs flew everywhere like missiles, and we ran around, ducking, sliding, throwing and laughing so hard we were crying. So it was all good, right?
A couple of days later, I saw one of the guys and was all excited remembering the snowball fight and started talking about it, and he was like, "Yeah, it was fun, but I lost my diamond wedding ring in that snowball fight."
I was rocked. This guy was a super nice guy. He was being strong about it, but you could see he was hurting. We promptly set out to look for the ring, but the snowball fight had taken place over the course of a block, and the snow was piled so high it was an insane task. Thoroughly down-hearted we gave up.
Three weeks later I woke to the sound of rain ticking my bedroom window. As I lay in bed it started dawning on me: this rain is going to melt a lot of that snow.
I jumped out of bed, dressed and hurried to where the snowball fight had taken place. There was still a lot of snow everywhere, but it was getting melted pretty good by the rain. I felt like an idiot, though, looking all over the street, sidewalk, people's lawns, like the people who lived on that block were going to call the cops and report a crazy person walking around.
Then I saw something shiny lying in the middle of the street. My heart surged. Could it be? No, I thought. It must just be the aluminum foil of a chewing gum wrapper, or the liner of a cigarette box. I walked at it.
It sure was looking like a diamond ring, though, lying right out in the open in the middle of the street. But yeah, could it be?
I bent low to look, as if my eyes were deceiving me.
They weren't. I picked up the ring and held it tightly in both hands.
I could hardly wait to see the guy who lost it. A week later I ran into him at a meeting.
I set the ring on the table in front of him and smiled. He clutched the ring to himself, looked up at me and started crying. Then he gathered himself as best he could and told me how the ring had this huge emotional significance to him. He'd lost it once before when his father died. He was distraught and didn't know if he was going to be able to go on living. He told me he'd prayed, 'God, give me a sign that I'm going to be able to make it.' Then later as he was cleaning out his car just before going to his father's funeral he found the ring—that was his sign.
I thought this was a story worth telling and so I went home, sat down and wrote it.
That stared the ball (not snowball) rolling and it hasn't stopped since!
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Gregg Bell writes suspense. Suspense loaded with intrigue and excitement but lacking gratuitous violence, sex and profanity. Gregg likes reading books that entertain but also challenge him and would like to think he writes the same.
Born in Chicago, Illinois, he's done everything from selling puka shells on the beach in Florida to working for Sears in their corporate headquarters at Sears (now Willis) Tower. A lifelong Midwesterner he lives in suburban Chicago. He’s a biking enthusiast (recently getting over a bad spill), a photographer, and insists he would be a good golfer if only he could putt.
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