Last week, I was the grateful recipient of a bestselling author’s lavish generosity. A bit of back story is in order: My screenwriting co-author and I have been working on a project for several years now. As part of our research, we contacted a top expert on the life of one of our key characters. “Expert” is an understatement.
He is the leading authority on the subject matter who wrote an international bestseller. His research was meticulous. His travel extensive. His fame worldwide. His storytelling precise and compelling. Nobody knows more about our character than this guy.
You’re probably wondering, “Ok already, who is it?” I won’t mention his name because name-dropping irritates me. I will like you for who you are. Not for who you know. (A simple way for us to be generous to one another.) It’s enough to say this guy is a true professional; a researcher and writer with many book awards. His work speaks for itself…
I’ve read his book several times. He just might grin a bit if he saw my copy. It’s dog-eared and underlined in red. Notes in the margin. What better compliment could an author receive? His book is simply the best book on the subject.
For several years, we talked about reaching out to him. But we submitted to the slavery of those evil, conspiring triplets of all things creative—FEAR, DOUBT, & UNBELIEF.
But we submitted to the slavery of those evil, conspiring triplets of all things creative—FEAR, DOUBT, & UNBELIEF. Joey O'ConnorTweet Quote
So, a couple weeks ago, I sent him an email. I told him who we were and what our project was all about.
Later that afternoon, his response popped into my Inbox.
He said he’d be happy to speak with us.
Oh my goodness! What had we been waiting all those years for?
Over the course of the next couple days, we ended up having not one, but two phone calls with him. The conversation was rich, thought provoking and insightful. We asked him question after question about his research, the controversies he’d encountered, what it was like getting blasted by critics from other countries, the places he visited in his research and the obstacles he encountered along the way.
But the phone call wasn’t all about him. Enter generosity. He asked us about our project and how he could help. He was interested in our main character, his story and his life. He asked us key questions about the gaps in this character’s story and what our opinion was about this man’s role in history.
The more we told him about our project, the more he was genuinely intrigued. Wow, he mused, what if both projects could be made into feature films? He began to wonder “What if?” We were now no longer talking to “the expert.” We were dreaming together. Wondering. Imagining.
The phone call ended with more offers to help in any way he could.
Dang! The phone call began with generosity. And ended with generosity.
When we hung up, what struck me was not his knowledge, extensive travel, awards or international success. Most impressive was his generosity. His book was a gift to this world on a long-lost subject matter that is still playing out in wars today. The world needed his beauty then and here was his generosity overflowing into our lives now. His generous gift to us was his time and willingness to help.
Generosity is a beautiful Tree of Life to the scarcity and ugliness of selfish ambition so rampant in our world today. Generosity always bears new fruit, it’s seed scattered wide by hearts overflowing with abundance.
Generosity is a beautiful Tree of Life to the scarcity and ugliness of selfish ambition so rampant in our world today. Joey O'ConnorTweet Quote
I can’t help, but wonder, in the countless hours our bestselling author spent traveling, researching and writing his book, who was generous to him?
Maybe his success, in part, came from the seed’s of another’s generosity?
Next time we’re on the phone with him, that’s my first question.
Question: Name a time when someone has been lavish in their generosity towards you… how did their generosity make a difference in your life?
I’d love your thoughts and comments.