It isn’t often fictional characters come to life outside of a writer’s imagination after the book is finished. Sometimes these people have become so real in my mind that I can’t help but wonder how they’re doing. The crazy thing, other than talking to imaginary people who live in my head, is they miss me as much as I do them. Occasionally, they drop in for a cup of coffee still needing to talk.
Jacob: Why did you write A SEASON WITHOUT RAIN?
Joe Schwartz: I wrote it to help dudes, those young twenty and thirty something guys struggling to get by, who might be using drugs and alcohol to escape their problems. That’s what I did and nobody tried to stop me. It’s a miracle I’m not dead or in jail.
Jacob: Do you really believe in miracles? In a God?
Joe Schwartz: Yes, I really do. Miracles happen all the time but it takes someone who desperately needs one to realize when it happens. It doesn’t have to be the parting of the Red Sea or walking on water to qualify. Simplicity is the earmark of the miraculous, getting what you need just when you need it. Take finding twenty bucks in an old coat when you realize you’re broke and desperately need gas. Not exactly the burning bush but I’ll take it. The trick I think is to remember when these good things happen. In the Old Testament they would build alters to mark where and when God helped them. In my case, I decided to write a book so I could never forget.
Jacob: Why didn’t you just write a happy ending? It doesn’t ever seem like things ever get easier for me.
Joe Schwartz: If everything is easy, if every good thing is handed to you on a silver platter, you won’t appreciate it. People win the lottery every day but it is wasted on people not prepared for wealth. Happiness is not about stuff or money or popularity, it is about gratitude, an appreciation for your life and an eagerness to make it mean something.
Jacob: Do you think this story will help anybody?
Joe Schwartz: I don’t know but I hope it does. If this book can keep one guy from getting a divorce or putting a gun in his mouth then I will consider it a great success.
Jacob: I suppose you think you’re hot stuff now that you got published by Great Minds Think Aloud.
Joe Schwartz: Not really, but I know for certain that a writer who isn’t being read is worthless. Not much different than the drunk who thinks he is funny and charming when really he is only fooling himself. Nobody wants to be that guy, the asshole. The best way to avoid it is to quit pretending you’re the center of the universe and start thinking about how your living is affecting others.
Jacob: I’m glad you wrote this book.
Joe Schwartz: Me, too. I hope a hundred years from now you will still be around, talking to dudes and helping them not feel so alone just like John Steinbeck’s Of Mice and Men did for me.