YESTERYEAR with Joshua Graham

outdoor-sepiaThis photo makes me contemplative…

It’s hard to believe that this picture was taken twelve years ago, when I was still giving concerts as a cellist. The fact is, I used to play professionally as a soloist, recitalist, chamber, and orchestral musician. I’ve been blessed to have performed in Carnegie Hall, Avery Fischer and Alice Tully Hall in Lincoln Center, in the Cairo Royal Opera House, and in concert halls in South Africa, Israel, and Amaan Jordan (the latter a televised command performance by the Queen of Jordan.)

But in all those years as a musician, I never knew or dreamed that my life would take me through a long and winding path to where I am today (a professional writer, and author of thriller novels.)

I actually spent about 13 years in the IT industry after graduating with a doctorate in music from Johns Hopkins University. This was mainly to support my family, while I performed and taught cello on the side. But soon after I became a father, I realized that it was not going to be feasible to continue both concertizing and working at a full time corporate job, and spend enough time with my children.

The choice wasn’t too difficult to make, because I felt such a strong love for my kids. That’s why I let the concertizing go and focused on supporting and being there for my family.

But it seemed my creative side would not be so easily put to pasture.  Soon, I became interested in writing and made my first professional sale to an anthology published by Simon & Schuster/Pocket Books.

This is where one would usually say, the rest was history, except my own character arc and development had only just begun. Soon after I decided I wanted to become a professional writer as my ultimate career, my company for which I’d worked for almost a decade, decided to outsource my entire department to Bangalore and I found myself without any work or means of supporting my family.

Suffice it to say, there were many days of prayer and digging deep into my faith. If God is the good and all powerful God I believe Him to be, then did it make sense to despair? I’ll tell you this: my head and my heart had some work getting into alignment. But that’s what faith is, isn’t it? The hope for things unseen.

Within a couple of years of unemployment (with a short stint at a better job than the one I’d lost), I became a published author with my debut novel BEYOND JUSTICE. I had no idea how it would do in the market, and I can only say that it was divine providence that it received accolades from Publishers Weekly, Suspense Magazine, and hit #1 on several Barnes & Noble and Amazon bestseller lists.  A little while later, Simon & Schuster/Howard books offered me a contract for my second thriller DARKROOM (just last year).

Sometimes, if when I feel uncertain, I look back and realize that though my life has had its ups and downs, it’s always been protected and provided for by a loving Creator, who knows exactly what I’m meant to do and be.

Last night, as I listened to a recording of a Brahms Trio performed by Isaac Stern, Leonard Rose, and Eugene Istomin, my heart felt homesick for the musical life I once had. Maybe one day, I’ll return to the concert stage and play all the beautiful masterpieces I used to. But for now, I am counting my blessings: I have a loving family (a beautiful wife and exceptional kids), amazing friends and–I daresay, fans, I’m a full-time writer doing another thing I love doing. Truly my cup runneth over.

I’ve recently learned that we need to speak to our souls the truth. Not about the present circumstances, but about the blessings we actually have, and the One in Whom we can put our absolute trust.

I can already see how everything in my life has happened for a purpose higher than I can understand.  But I know that it has already begun to make sense and will continue to do so until the ultimate reveal–the understanding of what it was all about.

In closing, let me leave you with a passage of scripture that has always helped me trust in God’s master plan:

For My thoughts are not your thoughts,
Nor are your ways My ways,” says the Lord.
“For as the heavens are higher than the earth,
So are My ways higher than your ways,
And My thoughts than your thoughts.

“For as the rain comes down, and the snow from heaven,
And do not return there,
But water the earth,
And make it bring forth and bud,
That it may give seed to the sower
And bread to the eater,
So shall My word be that goes forth from My mouth;
It shall not return to Me void,
But it shall accomplish what I please,
And it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it.

–Isaiah 55:8-11

What kind of path has your life taken though the years? I’d love to know about it. Feel free to share in the comments section below.


PS: If you’d like to hear some of my cello playing, please click the play button at the very bottom of this page.

Joshua Graham is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author, winner of the International Book Award and Forward National Literature Award. His thrillers include DARKROOM, LATENT IMAGE and BEYOND JUSTICE, and TERMINUS. Graham's works have been characterized as thought-provoking page-turners.

Legal Notice: All information on this website and blog are from Mr. Graham's personal experience and insight and should not be viewed in any way, directly or inferred, as qualified professional advice.

All creative writing on this website or Mr. Graham's books: This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, businesses, places, events, locales, and incidents are either the products of the author’s imagination or used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental. (novels, short stories)


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