What does Walter Mitty have to do with Dangerous Women or Us? Come along with me a moment. I’ll explain everything. You’ll get a glimpse inside this writer’s mind and a glimpse of our futures.
First, Walter Mitty.
Walter Mitty was an ordinary man with a vivid fantasy life of personal triumph. His fantasy life was, well, much more in every way than his real life. He’s been with us officially since James Thurber created him in 1939. Mitty has endured so long he’s become an entry in the dictionary. Why? Because we all know a few Walter Mittys, don’t we? Indeed, there’s a little Mitty in all of us, right?
On the eve of 2014, we saw Walter Mitty’s reimagined new incarnation starring Ben Stiller and 2013 Kennedy Center Honoree Shirley MacLain. In this version, Mitty’s fantasy life is still strong. But Mitty is braver and his world is quite a bit more dangerously real than Thurber’s original. Here’s the trailer so you can get a feel for our everyman Mitty today:
Next, Dangerous Women.
Earlier this week, I shared this photo on my FaceBook Page, to the delight of many of you who hang out there daily with me (click on the photo if you’d like to join us over there sometime – we’d love to have you with us!):
The message is funny. But true, too. And both Mitty and the photo reminded me of people and things in my life that turned out to be much more dangerously exciting than I’d at first assumed. Dangerous people don’t necessarily carry guns and wear a flashing neon sign that says: Warning!
A few years ago, I was privileged to enjoy lunch with a famous author at a conference. She was a typical unassuming, ordinary Mitty. Lovely. Polite. Kind. Funny. Pleasant. Her books were remarkable and extraordinary, but she was just as ordinary as me, I thought at the time. It was more than a bit inspiring to realize that a totally normal person like her could write such amazing crime fiction.
Later, I found out the truth.
She’s a killer. Not metaphorically. She’s a convicted murderer, to be exact.
I spent a two hour lunch within point blank range of a Mitty who was truly a dangerous creature. And I didn’t have a clue. (If you know the famous author’s name, post it in the comments below.)
What about Us, going forward?
Here’s the thing I want you to remember the next time you think you might be a timid, ordinary Thurber-Mitty to whom nothing exciting will ever happen: Nothing and no one is as it seems. Never judge a Mitty as dull or lacking.
There are brave Stiller-Mittys and Dangerous Women all around us. Certainly, my books are filled with them. You didn’t think everything I write is total fiction, did you? Fiction comes from my Stiller-Mitty life. And from your Stiller-Mitty as well.
Let me leave you with one more truth from Judge Willa Carson: You never see (or hear) the bullet that gets you.
Which means you can’t anticipate everything. There are bends in the road ahead and you can’t see around the corners. Maybe 2013 was as terrific for you as it was for me — I sure hope so! And yet….. Amazing things are coming our way in 2014. Get ready!