Destiny. Fate. An individual's ultimate calling. For writers, it's the sum of all their life experiences, no matter how circuitous or convoluted the path taken, no matter how suppressed the urge, culminating in the realization that they were meant to reach out to people and share those experiences through writing.
Tom Clancy did that and more. He began his college studies as a physics major, before switching to English his second year. After graduating and getting married, he got into the insurance business. In fact, it took about ten years after graduating before he began writing 'Patriot Games'. His goal was to write one book, but he'd found his calling and couldn't stop. Before completing his first book, inspiration hit and he began writing 'The Hunt for Red October', a story that ended up being his first submission and first sale...and a major movie hit.
Tom went on to become one of only a few authors to have sold two million copies of the first printing of a book. His interest in science and attention to detail came through with every military thriller he wrote. The motion picture based on 'The Hunt for Red October' was soon followed by motion pictures for 'Patriot Games', 'Clear and Present Danger' and 'The Sum of All Fears'...all starring beloved heroes like Sean Connery (James Bond), Harrison Ford (Hans Solo and Indiana Jones) and even Chris Pine (Captain Kirk) in his CIA thriller 'Jack Ryan: Shadow One' due in theaters this December. Tom also wrote the forward for the novelization of a movie featuring our nation's bravest heroes in 'Act of Valor'.
Deep down, Tom...the son of a mailman, a fleeting physics major, an English major who joined his in-laws' insurance company, a man intrigued with all things military...was a writer. A creator of courageous heroes and thrilling adventures.
Tom Clancy died on October 1st at age 66.
Thank you, Tom, for having had the courage to embrace your destiny, for writing that first book, for the adrenaline rushes and for showing those who have yet to discover the writer in them, that no matter how many careers they master or stripes they accrue, they shouldn't ignore the nagging voice in their head that whispers, 'You're not there yet'.
Rest in peace, Tom.