I've written before about how the idea for this book came to me when I was directing a road show. For that reason, it's probably important to explain that Scott, the character that directs the road show is not really meant to be me. In fact, in some ways he's the character who is most unlike me.
That being said, there are a few similarities. For example, I did my PhD in theatre at a big, fancy university after going to BYU and both of us were called to direct a road show during a pretty low ebb in our theatrical careers.
I directed a huge flop of a show during my last several months in my master's program at BYU. It ended badly--artistically as well as personally with some of the people involved in the production. I deeply regret both of those failures--and to this day, I still break out in a shame-and-stress induced-stomach-knotting-boiling-sweat-raising-panic-attack when I remember the experience.
This experience was three or four years in the past when I was called to direct a road show for my ward. But it was very fresh. I hadn't directed much beyond some small class plays in the interim and I had no confidence anymore. But I was taught never to turn down a calling--so I accepted it. I'm very glad I did. It turned out well and helped me regain my shattered confidence--and it was a very healing experience. I firmly believe that the callings we accept--whether welcome or not--do this for us. They are stretching and hard sometimes, but they have always been powerful methods of moving me from a spiritual Point A to Point B.
For Scott, the road show is healing in another way. Scott's is a brilliant director working on his MFA. His great challenge is that he is addicted to pornography, and that interferes with his artistic work and his spiritual life. Those failures have brought him to a serious crisis in his personal and professional lives.
When I was the bishop of our congregation, I was called on to counsel and work with an alarming number of people (men and women, incidentally) who struggled with pornography.
I realize that our society has not come to a consensus on whether pornography is a problem or a perfectly acceptable adult behavior. But, after watching people grapple with this and after seeing marriages that it destroyed or maimed, I came to hate it passionately. My intent is not to start an argument here--just explain why I feel so strongly about it (if you want to read a depressing first-hand account of the potential for damage, click here).
I want to emphasize that Scott is a fictional character. Although his struggle to overcome this problem is rooted in the reality of people I worked with, he is not based on any person and I think it's important to make that clear.
At any rate, I hope you enjoy reading Chapter One. Also, please know the book gets happier!