In my week of continuing If I Never anniversary celebrations, it would be remiss of me not to include a few thoughts from Gregg Fraley. Gregg is a thought leader in corporate ideation and the author of Jack’s Notebook – the first ever business fable about creative problem-solving. His original thoughts on If I Never were unique and immensely satisfying.
Over to you, Gregg!
When I read Gary Murning’s book If I Never last year, I had been in a self-imposed fast of not reading fiction. This from someone who has, on average, read a novel a week for my entire adult life. For about six months prior to my reading of Gary’s excellent gothic story, I’d been on a diet of business books. My thinking was “I need to get serious about my work.”
Like someone on a very restrictive diet, I was starving. Starving for the unique meal that only a truly good novel, a good story, can provide. So, I broke the fast to help out a fellow writer, and devoured “If I Never” reading it in several very big gulps. Two things about this:
One – many stories I read I immediately forget. For instance I love the novels of Elmore Leonard. They read like movie scripts they move so fast (in fact many have been made into films, notably Get Shorty). It’s like eating candy. Ask me two weeks later what was in the story and I’ll be darned if I can name a character or describe details of the plot outline. Not so with If I Never. The images, and the story, have haunted me, in a good way, ever since. These characters were made real to me in a way that is rare. The dilemma’s they faced felt like real life, complex, tinged with gray areas, regret, suspicion, and the messy psychology we are all burdened with. I still recall the image of the addled boy on the heath, and the disabled woman unable to protest her situation. I so look forward to reading Gary’s next book.
The second thing that happened for me after reading the book was that a long suppressed creative force was unleashed. Not only did I have some breakthrough ideas for my day job, I finally got off my ass and started serious work on my own novel. So, in a word, If I Never was inspirational to me in two profound ways.
My original review and blog post made the point that fiction is a great way to learn and to “incubate” – in essence a form of stimulus for personal brainstorming about things totally unrelated to the work itself. Why does it work this way? I’m not sure except to say that a good novel “feeds” your heart and soul. Thanks for the gourmet food Mr. Murning (who says the English can’t cook…). Congratulations on your success, one year on, and may it continue — accelerate.
Two sample chapters of If I Never can be read here.
To buy your copy of If I Never, please click here.