The Flying Nun And Me

God was listening way back in 1969 to a seventeen-year-old boy who was living in public housing projects in Chester, Pennsylvania.  He was listening when that boy was inspired by an episode of The Flying Nun (and did not hold it against him that he secretly had a crush on Sally Field). 

He even answered the prayer request that the boy had that night: Dear God, it’s me, John.  I know that you are probably very busy, but I have a special prayer request.  If it is not too much trouble, God, could you please make me a writer?  I think I would make a pretty good one, wouldn’t you agree?  So, God, when you have some free time, please do whatever you need to do to someday allow me to be that writer.  Thanks, God.  I appreciate your consideration of my request.  Amen.

            God apparently was listening, and He chose to answer my prayer, right there and then.  He zapped me with the gift of creative communication.  How did I know?  Because within a few seconds of saying that prayer, I dusted off my old Royal typewriter (the one with a few bent keys) and tore out a few pages from a marble copybook.  Then I put those pages into that typewriter, and I proceeded to write an episode of The Flying Nun..  When I was finished, I read it several times and thought that it was a pretty good story. 

            I took it to school the next day and showed it to my English teacher.  I told him I had finally decided what I wanted to do with my life. “I am going to be a writer,” I said, with my head held high.  He nodded politely, as he continued grading papers.  “I wrote an episode of The Flying Nun.  Would you like to read it and tell me what you think?” I asked him.

            He was very interested when I mentioned The Flying Nun.  (I joke about how we had to watch it as a homework assignment and discuss it in class, since I was attending a Catholic high school.)  He said he would read it overnight and give me his honest critique the next day.

            The next day was the longest day of my life.  Finally, when school was over, I went to his classroom and asked him what he thought about my writing sample.  He told me, “this is the worst piece of garbage that I have ever read.  Perhaps you should consider a career in manual labor.”  I was shocked, and too numb to respond.  He continued, “if your writing has no purpose, then there is no purpose in your writing.”  Then he left the room.

            I am not sure how long I stood there, but I remember vowing that one day I would see my name on the cover of “many” books (34 as of this writing), and that I would travel the country, encouraging new writers to get published (which I now do). 

           A few months later when I graduated from high school I enlisted in the Navy, and after four years of service I left and began an employment journey that took me through many jobs that I didn’t really like, but I never lost sight of my dream of becoming a full time author and freelance writer.  I never went to college, except for one accounting course that one employer required me to take. 

           So I owe all of my writing successes to God, who believed in that seventeen-year-old boy who had a thing for Sally Field.  Thank you, God, for believing in me, and for never giving up on me.  Winston Churchill said on many occasions: “Never give up, never give up, never, ever give up!”


I never gave up, and never will.

DelawareWriter DelawareWriter
56-60, M
5 Responses Feb 22, 2010

Churchill also said,<br />
<br />
"History will be kind to me, for i intend to write it."<br />
<br />
Sounds like you have written your way to your own destiny! Awsome

Hi Delawarewriter<br />
<br />
Amen. God is faithful. Your perseverance and your waiting upon the Lord's timing is remarkable!<br />
<br />
I hope you have forgiven your English Teacher. I know you must have felt very miserable, standing there for "the longest time", (for when one is in pain, time seems eternity) Then again, his extremely nasty remarks made you even more determined to be a FAMOUS author!<br />
<br />
I have a question... <br />
<br />
Are you the FAMOUS John Riddle ;p

nice. <br />
<br />
I've always wondered how writers could write about something they didn't necessarily experience. <br />
How do you do it? just imagination?

I have plenty of writing samples I can share. But the most precious piece of writing is a book that I co-wrote with my daughter a few years ago when she was in college. "For God and Country" tells the stories of four military chaplains from the Civil War through World War Two.

and i am glad you never did. <br />
<br />
I would love to read your most precious piece of writing. =)