Success from obstacles
Authors turn setbacks into success
By Nancy Edwards
Two authors in the Fishers area have proven, through their writing and their own personal lives, that setbacks in life can create positive opportunities.
K.B. Laugheed is author of the new historical novel, “The Spirit Keeper,” and Robert Bell has recently published “The Hinge: The Importance of Mental Toughness,” a nonfiction inspirational book. Although different genres, the books provide readers with the message of how a single life event can forever change a person’s fate. Whether the outcome is positive or negative is up to the individual.
“It only takes one (experience),” Bell said, referring to the stories of 38 individuals interviewed in his book who each experienced unexpected life-changing events. “We don’t know when that event is coming.”
Bell, a sport psychology coach, has worked with champions on the PGA tour. His inspirations include athletes such as three-time Olympic gold medalist Rowdy Gaines, whose own setback caused him to have to wait another four years for the Olympics. Those extra years of hard work and determination resulted in wins that would not have otherwise happened.
Then there is the story of Indianapolis Colts kicker Adam Vinatieri, who was told that he “wasted an opportunity” by dropping out of West Point, the United States Military Academy. “He used that opportunity to prove people wrong,” Bell said.
Laugheed turned two tragedies into an inspiration for her book: the death of her mother and the 2011 Japan tsunami. Laugheed had previously written and tried to publish 12 books; she had not succeeded and decided to give up.
“I was not going to put myself through that again,” she said.
This time, Laugheed decided to write for herself. “Nature’s antidepressant,” as she refers to her writing, helped with her grieving process. She began diving into research to discover the effects of a gigantic earthquake on the Pacific Northwest coast in 1700. A tsunami was subsequently formed, which traveled across the Pacific Ocean and hit the east coast of Japan.
“I got to thinking what it must have been like, that huge, horrible earthquake,” she said. “That’s where the story started.”
“The Spirit Keeper” is set in 1747 Pennsylvania, where a 17-year-old daughter of Irish immigrants is taken captive after Indians raid her home. Along her journey, she discovers that one of the American Indians holding her hostage had a vision of her as a great gift to his people. In order to fulfill the young man’s vision, she must become his “spirit keeper.”
Laugheed said readers of the story have picked out their own interpretation to the book. Some may view the story as a romance, others a lesson in history or a view of life’s purpose.
“Pretty much everyone who read it has a different view on it,” Laugheed said, adding, “The book reflects what you bring to it.”
Just as Laugheed’s personal life inspired her published book, so did Bell’s. A self-described “OK student,” Bell reluctantly read Reader’s Digest in high school at the urging of his grandmother. He read an article about the euphoric runner’s experience, also known as “runners high,” which led to an undergraduate research project on the topic.
Bell applied to Temple University for post-graduate study. When he met with a Temple professor during an interview, Bell enthusiastically described his passion for his research project, “Runner’s High.”
The professor, as it turns out, coined the popular phrase and Bell was not only accepted into the university; he received a graduate assistanceship that paid for school. Ultimately his career choice led him to his vocation, which he calls “vacation.”
The book is called “The Hinge” because, according to Bell, a hinge is what connects a door. Without that hinge, a door is just a wall. In life, he said, hinges are those tragedies people face.
“Whether we like it or don’t like it, (tragedy) happens. From that point, things change when people can use their tragedy as an opportunity. Even though it’s painful that’s where real growth occurs,” he said.