The Turner Family Trio lived across the street of our suburban neighborhood when I was growing up. They hunted snakes in the canyon with their flabby-bellied beagle, raised crops of corn and other produce in their front yard, and built cabinetry in their garage, grinding away with a high-pitched, high-powered circular saw at all hours of the day and night.
My parents have kept me up to date on this eccentric family over the years. Mr. Turner passed away a while back, and his son has since moved out, leaving 87-year-old Mrs. Turner in charge of the homestead. Last Friday, she was unexpectedly in the news.
Watching TV in a back room, deaf Mrs. Turner was oblivious to the raging inferno devouring the front of her house. Randy, a twenty-something surfer-dude from next door, charged into the smoke and dragged Mrs. Turner out to safety. Both are currently doing fine, and Randy has been hailed as a hero by local authorities. He has a tattoo that says: Do What's Right. Fear Nothing. How’s that for inspiration?
I can't help but have hope for humankind when I hear a story like this—unlike the reaction most of us had when we heard about Hugo the Homeless Hero last month in New York. Like Randy, he did what was right and feared nothing—but he died for it.
How do Randy and Hugo relate to my writing? I'm inspired by people who do extraordinary things, risking their own lives for others. Christlike, sacrificial love for another human being is a rare thing to find in this world, and it makes for some of the greatest stories ever told. I just have to be fearless enough to write more like them.