I’ve been a father who doesn’t take his heart condition seriously but instead focuses on preventing his daughter from marrying a man he doesn’t approve of. I’ve been his daughter, a recent college graduate who meets the wrong kind of guy and slides into drug and alcohol abuse. I’ve been that wrong kind of guy who isn’t an awful person but will manipulate others to achieve his goals. I’ve been a stable, married family man who survives a plane crash but suffers a serious mental break that throws his life into irreversible chaos. I’ve been that man’s wife, who must balance sympathy for her husband with taking care of herself. I’ve been a woman who saw something she shouldn’t have and is now on the run from an assassin in a dystopian world, and I’ve been that assassin who experiences a change of heart and helps to rescue her instead of killing her. I’ve been a college athlete who tries to make peace with the young man who sexually assaulted her, and I’ve been that assaulter, a damaged war veteran attempting to make amends and get his life straight. I’ve been an eleven-year-old who turns to an imaginary friend when his parents’ marriage dissolves. I’ve been that boy’s mother who has just left her gambling-addicted husband and I’ve been that husband who can’t control himself or leave his family in peace. I’ve been a police detective who knowingly pins a murder on the wrong man. I’ve been the business executive who committed the murder and gets away with it because the detective is pregnant with their child. I’ve been a suburban mom arrested for drug possession, and I’ve been her old boyfriend who sold her the drugs and gets in over his head on a big deal, and I’ve been her husband who is facing a professional and ethical dilemma for the shady marketing of pharmaceuticals. I’ve been kids and adults. I’ve been a cop and a criminal. Demented and sane. I’ve been a lawyer and a judge and a chef. I’ve been a woman who loves another woman, a husband who cheats on his wife, a man who rescues others from a burning plane. I’ve been a professional hockey player and a therapist and an entrepreneur and an emergency room physician. I’ve been an artist. I’ve lived in mansions and in hovels. I’ve been shot. I’ve been beaten. I’ve broken up fights. I’ve been threatened and I’ve threatened others. I’ve dumped a body in the river. I’ve helped a child learn to draw. I’ve been all this, I’ve done all this. If you want to go places, if you want to know others, if you want to learn empathy, if you want to live beyond the boundaries of the self, you can do it all from your own desk. Just write novels.