Every Life is a Story
I met Dawn, the love of my life, when she moved into the house next door the year I turned fifteen. She was three years behind me in school, so it took some time to realize that I loved her. For us, friendship came first. We spent hundreds of hours, sitting in the grass between our two houses, laughing, teasing and supporting each other through the trials of being teenagers in small-town America in the 1970s. By the end of my junior year in high school, I knew I loved her, but it took until mid-way through my senior year before I let her in on the secret.
One short year later, we had made a lifetime commitment to each other, but had also been banned from seeing each other by her parents. I said good-bye to Dawn, I thought forever, on Valentine’s Day 1979. Although I never stopped loving her, I didn’t see her again until December 1st, 2006. When I did run into her again, completely by accident, it shook my world to its foundations.
After these events transpired, I began to realize that it was a story, and I wrote my book Feels Like the First Time. Now, after writing and publishing my own story, I have talked to dozens of people who said they related to our story of first love and lost love. Through these conversations, I have realized that every life is a story. Some are romances, some are action-adventure stories, and at least a few are comedies, but every life has a story arc.
With the changes in publishing over the last decade, telling that story has never been easier. When I first started writing Feels Like the First Time in 2006, I was intent on going to traditional publishing route – looking for an agent and trying to “sell” my story to a publishing house. By the time I finished it, I decided not to send out even a single query letter. The idea of being my own publisher had become too appealing to think of turning my own life story over to a stranger.
It was a steep learning curve for me, but I enjoyed every step in learning about editing, proofreading, cover design and interior book layout. It’s possible to do these things yourself, or you can hire professionals to do it for you. Before you get to that step though, you’ve got to write. And then write some more, and still more. Because I was an inexperienced writer, I wrote over two dozen drafts of Feels Like the First Time before I was ready to hire an editor to look at it.
I also recommend a thick skin. When I turned in the first draft of my story, it was over 100,000 words. When I hit “publish” five months later, it was 66,000 words. And that was after I’d already done dozens of revision on my own. Through the editing process, I kept a single mantra in the forefront of my brain: Whatever makes the book better. When you’re writing about your own life, it’s tough, but it’s good to get as much ego out of the way as you can.
Until you’ve done it the first time, the idea of sitting down and writing a book can be intimidating. That’s why I don’t recommend that. Instead, try just recreating various memories from your life, and telling them as stories. Write about your first kiss, or your first car, or when you lost someone close to you. Eventually, you may see a pattern emerging in those stories and a book might be in there, begging to be let out. Feels Like the First Time started as a series of emails between my oldest sister and I. It wasn’t until we had been exchanging those emails for two years that either of us realized it was a book.
Everyone has a story to tell, and it’s never been easier to share your story with the rest of the world.
Shawn Inmon is a husband and father, as well as a writer, Real Estate Broker, and member of KISS II, The Original KISS Tribute band. If you’d like to know what happened after he ran into Dawn in 2006, the answers are all in Feels Like the First Time, available in both Kindle and paperback on Amazon.
Title: Feels Like the First Time
Author: Shawn Inmon
Date Published: 9/5/12
September, 1975: Shawn meets Dawn, his one true love, when she moves into the vacant house next door. Many people spend their life searching in vain for happiness, but he was lucky; finding it at the age of fifteen.
February 1979: Forbidden to see each other and feeling he is harming her by being in her life, he walks away from the love of his life, apparently forever.
December, 2006: After decades of sadness and mourning the girl that got away, he has a chance meeting with her that might change his life forever… again. Can the sweet bond of first love not only survive, but flourish?
Feels Like the First Time lets you share in the magic of young love in small town America in the 1970s. No matter how much the world changes, some things – timeless music, high school dances, making out in the backseat of a Chevy Vega, and of course true love – will always remain the same.
“That’s it then,” I said softly, almost to myself. There was nothing left to say. My composure was completely gone. Hot tears ran down my face, but I didn’t care. This was the moment I had done everything to both cause and avoid. It was possible I might see Dawn again at some future date, but I would never see this Dawn. She was so lovely it broke my heart to look at her.
I went to her and put my hands on her shoulders. I looked deeply into her eyes. I didn’t ask her to wait for me. I was trying to set her free.
“When we can see each other again, if you still love me, I’ll be there for you. I promise I’ll love you just the same.”
She nodded. Her tears streamed down her face and she looked away.
I walked out of her house, across the familiar yard and into the rest of my life.
Shawn Inmon is originally from Mossyrock Washington, where his first book Feels Like the First Time is set. He has been a real estate broker in Enumclaw Washington for the last twenty years. Prior to that, he worked as a short-order cook, travelling T-shirt salesman, radio DJ, Cutco Cutlery sales rep, department store buyer, video store manager, crab fisherman, Kirby vacuum cleaner salesman, business consultant and public speaker. He is married to his high school sweetheart Dawn and has five daughters, five grandchildren and two chocolate labs named Hershey and Sadie.