Try to learn something about everything and everything about something.
— Thomas H. Huxley

Everyone needs a friend like my friend Lynn. You have to be in shape for it, of course. Actual real life conversation:

L: I need to to 20 Tuesday. I\’ll do five in the morning and then meet you for 15.
(we run long distance every Tuesday, for marathons. Told you being in shape was a requirement)

Me: (not wanting to look like a wimp) Nah, come right over. I can do 20.

I mapped out the run on and about mile four into the run, I broke the news to her that what we were running would be a little more than 20, maybe closer to 21. Around mile 14, I came clean and told her it was a little more than 23. Did I mention the temperature was getting up to 87?

Point is, every writer needs a friend like Lynn, not because she drives you to unfathomable physical feats, but because she\’s is interested in everything. She asks great questions and wants to really learn about anything. Grass growing to the local murder on page one, to the Space Station. We don\’t always know answers, but we spend the four or five hours we run talking about a million subjects. Never a dull moment.

Even better, she\’s read some of my really sucky manuscripts and she\’s still my friend. (Although, she\’s learned not to ask to read things anymore. See, I told you she\’s smart.)

But yesterday, we spent a good deal of our time \”populating the minivan.\” The minivan, most likely a KIA because it is funnier than a Chrysler and easier to type over and over, is the setting for a book I\’m starting to pre-write. Lynn knows a few characters who belong in the minivan touring Alabama. And we have a new phrase for folks who get on our bad side…

Yeah, that person belongs \”in the van.\”