James Drew: Hope, not despair. Though there are evil people in the world, most evil I believe is the result of fear and greed, and those can be overcome or at least endured.

Name: James Drew

Social Media Handle/Username: @jimdrew12724

Introduce Yourself/Tell About Yourself: Hi!

I’m Jim Drew from Charlotte, North Carolina, USA, and I work in the financial industry doing information security work by day, working on my novel (currently Sojourners) most nights. I love reading, long walks, movies, writing, traveling, and museums.

I’m married with no kids – that is, unless you count my two rescue dogs, Ringo and Chewy. My wife, a social worker, and I have been married for 16 years and live in a suburb living a modest version of the American Dream – a house, fenced-in backyard, dogs, cars. In many senses, we’re very fortunate, though we still struggle to stow enough away for retirement – again, like many Americans.

What Inspires You Every day? : Great Question! I don’t have a single, comprehensive answer, but here goes:

My Christian faith – I’m not a Bible thumper except maybe at myself, mostly, b/c I’m acutely aware of my own faults and need to be closer to God. I’m trying to read the scriptures each morning and I get an inspiring email from my pastor as well.

My Muse – my label for my creative energy, which comes through in screenplays, short stories, and novels, which are my latest outlet. I love storytelling – both reading or hearing it through audiobooks and honing my craft to tell powerful stories. There’s a great book – “The Emotional Craft of Fiction” by Donald Maass – that’s recently inspired me to be both a better writer and a more authentic person.

My wife/friendships – My wife is probably also my best friend, but I value friendships and try to keep in touch with my friends as time and opportunity allows. I love great conversations and enjoy being challenged as well.

My sense of justice – I think that comes through particularly in my current work-in-progress novel, currently named “Sojourners” – about an unjustly used officer and engineer who has to fight the system on his world to try to save those he’s sworn to protect. I grew up in a dysfunctional family and I and my sister were the victims of injustice, but I’ve also seen injustice play out in many other contexts. I particularly remember the social and economic inequalities being played out in Central America, particularly in Guatemala, while I was there seeing several Mayan sights. I’ve also had the privilege of talking to refugees that have come to Charlotte and their stories are both heartbreaking and made me seeth with fury. Sometimes I get disheartened by the sheer extent of the injustices I see, but I hope that I can create powerful stories that help speak to my vision of what a slightly more just world could look like.

What is some words of wisdom you live by?: I have to quote from a movie – Galaxy Quest – “Never give up, never surrender!” I find that to be very true because –

“Life is confusing and full of frustrations” – that is my own saying to help me try to be more patient and human.

“Talent will only get you so far” – I believe that a person who is curious and willing to put in the effort can be more successful than a talented person who doesn’t put in the work. I’ve seen it time and again.

“Love your neighbor as yourself” – We are all ultimately neighbors. The corollary is just as true – “Every man’s death diminishes me” (and of course every woman’s).

What is your ultimate goal in life? : I want a good funeral. In other words, I want a good number of people to gather because they found I helped contribute something to their lives and my death would be a celebration of that.

Finding immortality through my writing would also be great, but that’s probably more hubris than attainable.

How have you been during the pandemic and how has it affected you? : The pandemic hasn’t hit me as hard as it hit my wife because I’m a natural introvert who was already working from home, so I weathered it fairly well. My wife was more challenged because she’s very much a social butterfly extrovert and had to work from home and then lost her job, so she was stuck with just me, so that was hard on her. And that became hard on me. But neither of us got COVID, so we were very fortunate compared to many we knew.

What is a message you would like to give others? : Hope, not despair. Though there are evil people in the world, most evil I believe is the result of fear and greed, and those can be overcome or at least endured. Then again, I live in the USA, so I know I have it easier than so many in the world (and in my own country). But I hope that, if we respect and care for each other because it’s both the right and practical approach to living better, we will pass on a better world.

What else would you like to tell others about you or your life?: As I’ve said before, I grew up in a dysfunctional home. It’s taken me years of therapy to know how to overcome the deficits that abuse creates. Along the way, I’ve realized there’s a gift in adversity – we who’ve suffered know how to be more empathetic towards those who suffer and that is a gift. It doesn’t make up for what we suffered, but we can use it to help support and protect others.

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