We’re living on the edge

Because I teach journalism and suffer the headaches of deadlines, possessed computers, staff death threats and other perilous mishaps, people often tell me that I’m either blessed or insane. I say a little of both. Honestly, I just like a life of adventure. Life would be boring if I didn’t live it on “the Edge.” Honestly, if it weren’t for the amazing students I’ve had both on my journalism staffs and in my English classes, I would have never had the courage to write my first novel, The Edge. Although the book is entirely FICTION, I won’t deny that my former students will recognize some of the details. They may even see some of themselves in one more or more of the characters. What can I say? These people have a wonderful way of rubbing off on a person.

The Edge is a story about truth and consequences. It’s a story about finding one’s purpose in life. The main characters are just your typical high school journalists, quirky, creative and a little bit crazy, definitely a little bit crazy.

TJ Westbrook is a skilled traceur, who relies on his parkour skills to help him escape the consequences of his edgy journalistic style. When TJ isn’t running from all sixty-eight members of the football team, he’s likely either stalking a celebrity or interviewing a superhero. Because he’s ALWAYS on the lookout for the “perfect” story, he’s willing to take the necessary risks. 

Fortunately, TJ can rely on the help of his cute, yet not so coordinated, best friend, Megan Crosslin. Megan’s number one mission is looking out for TJ. A hopeless romantic, she would like nothing better than to move up in the relationship ranks from best friend to girlfriend, specifically TJ’s girlfriend. But when a good-looking senior catches her eye at the wrong place at the wrong time, she begins to question her future with TJ. She’s tired of waiting on Mr. Right and is willing to settle for Mr. Right Now.

During a serendipitous turn of events, TJ and Megan stumble upon THE story that has the potential to change the lives of everyone at Edgewood High School, especially their own. TJ learns that being a guardian of the truth requires more than an adventurous spirit, and Megan learns people can’t go back once they cross a certain line. In other words, she learns you have to be careful when you’re standing on the edge.

If you’re an adventurous spirit or a hopeless romantic, I’d like to hear more about your adventures. What lessons have you learned serendipitously?

Special note: Many thanks to the fabulous freerunner Tcup for permission to use his images on my blog!  Also, much love to bluxhart for his graphics help in the wee hours.

25 thoughts on “We’re living on the edge

  1. This looks like an awesome story! Being one of your former students as well as a former editor-in chief, I would love to read it! I’ll also tell my daughter about it and all her friends! they love to hear my stories about cownapping my stuffed cow and the insanity of deadlines!

  2. One of my favorite lessons I learned from Teresa, aside from NOT to play with the waxer, was to always stand up for someone you believe in. I was a statistic, and got pregnant my junior year in high school. This did not affect Teresa’s opinion of me, in fact, she made me the editor-in-chief the following year, and gave me unwavering support at a time when I did not think I had anyone else at all! For this, she is my hero!

  3. Well, my serendipitous moment is still going on. I took a trip to Hawaii with my family. I’m in the Denver airport as I type. Hawaii is a magnificent place filled with adventure. The greatest thing about the trip is that I get to spend it with my family; consequently, it can also be the worst thing. We’re a crazy bunch a majority of the time, but we’ve been together for so long that we know how to get under each other’s skin. Yesterday, we went through a state park which was pretty much just rock. We rode in a seven seater van with eight people and luggage. I’ve realized that is perfect torture for your kids. There were attitudes coming from every direction.

  4. Between tripping over phone cords, flipping backwards in my chair, and falling over mountains of newspaper stacks, I have managed to see a serendipity like lesson in the midst of it all. I have simply learned this: take what you are given and roll with it. No matter the obstacle or time constraint, I have learned to find some way to make it happen and wiggle my out of different problems. Sometimes pulling a McGyver and rolling with it makes it more of an adventure anyways.

  5. This sounds so amazing! I’m not just saying that, this is a book that I would love to read. I like the little tidbit about the superhero *cough**cough* catman*coucgh*, and the insane people that are on the staff. It definitly keeps things interesting. I know one thing I have learned about being on staff. You can’t give up, if you hit an obstical you dig a tunnle under it and keep going. Or, you blow it up and charge head on into the smoke.

  6. The hardest lesson to learn was the most important of them all. It’s incredibly easy to put all work aside and have fun first.

    But then your deadlines begin to approach, and the stress that you give yourself, as well as the stress later in your lap by your peers and your advisor, simply wasn’t worth the fun you had, no matter how fabulously fun that fun was.

    The inverse can be said when you finish your work first, then have your fabulous fun. The fun your have with the people you work closely with is he best. Work hard, play harder.

  7. You know, I never really looked for life lessons in things like that before, but looking back it’s fairly obvious. And although I wish my entire high-school life could have been more like T.J’s, I have had a number of personal ventures much like his, and I can relate when you say that possessing knowledge and using it responsibly requires great care.

    That said, I am VERY much looking forward to reading this!

  8. Hmmm.. Maybe you need some volunteer help this year… My last semester is really going to be light, only electives, and I would love to come out and help you… Think you can handle having my neurotic self back around?

  9. Up until sophomore year, I always thought writing was stuffy and strict. Even a couple of my first newspaper articles held that dry, boring flow. I wanted to get better, and I didn’t want to always refer to another for help. I learned to find my passion and drive. After that story, I used my heart to control the direction of an article. But, I changed as well. I stopped being such an emotionless robot (smart yet dull), put more compassion into the things I did, and took better consideration of my friends feelings. I always try to find the good in people even if it is no longer there.

    • You are anything but smart yet dull. I see that spark behind your eyes. You possess an ability to read people and to see what most people can’t see. I am hoping to get something worked up so that we can get access to all the Edger and former Edger blogs. Everyone needs to read your stuff, especially me. You have been my stable force. I hope you won’t forget me. I still need that stable force.

  10. Awesome story line, I just can’t wait to read it!

    Living in the moment and on the edge is definately how I live my life still today. I wouldn’t have it any other way.

    During high school like many I suffered the blahs… homework, study halls, school gossip, how much longer until lunch? Will 2:45 ever get here??… is it summer yet? Then after a total of four years a little thing called graduation happened. Maybe you’ve heard of it? Summer happened then what next? Hello there real world!

    The world after high school is a very interesting place. Often you don’t have that same routine that you had. You don’t see those faces you’ve known since kindergarten, you don’t stand in the same cafeteria lines, and you don’t avoid that math teacher who always gave you a hard time!

    Instead the world is yours for the taking! You can be anything or anyone you want to be. Your life is in your hands!

    I always knew through high school that I loved to perform! I’ve been on stages and infront of audiences all over Middle, TN. I’ve slapped on makeup, sang, dance, and yes even wore spandex infront of hundreds of people.

    I still love acting and performing. But over the years I have taken a different spin on things. When I started my job as a full time pharmacy tech. I wound up not getting free evening hours that I’d need for rehearsals and performances. So I had to pick up something that I could do on my own time.

    As a result of that, I turned to clowning. Something that I had done occasionally through church for VBS and such. I really started to study the performance history, the traditions, the skills, the talents, the secrets. While doing so I realized that there is a whole new world that comes alive when you put on that red nose.

    Last summer I attended a clown camp in Minnesota where I had a chance to learn from many great former Ringling Clowns. This past January I met up with a clown from Memphis who is currently touring with the Red show of the Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey circus. He took me back stage to meet the cast prior to and after the performance. In two more weeks I’ll be going back to Minnesota for another fun week of camp. This time I’ll be taking classes from Steve Smith who was the Dean of “Clown College” which sadly no longer exists.

    I’ve had many laughs along the way, met lots of people, and currently I’m in contact with the Director of Talent for the Greatest Show on Earth.

    So keep those fingers crossed for me and keep smiling. Look over the edge but never been too afraid to jump into the fun!

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