The Doppel Gang

“It is not often that someone comes along who is a true friend and a good writer.” —E. B. White

Have I mentioned I have an evil twin?  No?  I do.  Sort of.  OK, I’m the evil one.  Mike, on the other hand, is actually a pretty good guy.

I met Mike over a decade ago, and we soon discovered we have an awful lot in common.  First off, we share a mutual faith.  Then there’s the fact we both studied journalism at BYU where we each served in our own time as the editor-in-chief of the student newspaper.  Later, we both attended law school at the University of Nebraska.  During his time in law school, Mike worked as a law clerk in the office where I’m employed.  We’ve shared some of the same church responsibilities, and the list goes on from there.  We’re exactly the same.  And completely different.  All at the same time.

Unsuprisingly, Mike and I also share a love of the written word.  That’s why I thought of Mike a little over two years ago after reading a book about the fantastic friendship of C. S. Lewis and J. R. R. Tolkien and their Oxford writers’ group known as The Inklings.  There was something inspiring to me about their creative collaboration.  I yearned for a similar experience, so I approached Mike.  We’ve been meeting monthly ever since, sharing our projects and offering feedback and encouragement.  Sometimes we just talk about life.  When Mike moved from Nebraska to Arizona, I figured our meetings were over.  Mike told me we’d keep them going online, but I wasn’t convinced.  I guess he was right, and I was wrong.  It wasn’t the first time.

This year, we decided to try something novel.  We’re working together on a fantasy book.  I think I was the one who suggested collaboration.  I’m not sure what got into me.  I’ve never been one for group projects.  I’m too much of a control freak.  Then there’s the issue of our divergent writing styles.  I outline my stories to death.  I don’t write anything until I know exactly where I’m headed.  Conversely, Mike’s what I’ve heard referred to as a “pantser.”  He’s flying by the seat of his pants as the story takes him on a wild and unexpected ride.  Our partnership has forced me to do a little pantsing myself – something way outside my comfort zone.  We’re almost halfway to a full manuscript, and you know what?  So far, it isn’t half bad.  And that’s just the rough draft.

Face it, the fellowship of anything is a bang-up beginning and an even better ending.  That’s why this introvert, descended from a long line of introverts, is grateful for people like Mike and a host of others who’ve come into my life over the years.  I count it no small miracle that in my short time on Planet Earth I’ve been blessed with some truly wonderful, well, friends.


Follow me on Twitter @seif_train.

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