Now, I would have thought, from reading this story, that Eddie had a deep knowledge of dancing and the physical demands and commitment it would put on a person, whether from personal knowledge, or from someone close to him. But you know what he told me when I asked? "My only attempt at dancing came when walking through the woods. I noticed a yellow cloud around me and I danced my way out of the woods and away from the yellow jackets. Dancing was too painful, so I quit after one lesson."
I laughed hysterically when I heard that. So, of course I had to ask what his inspiration was for this story, and this is what he told me.
Well, in 2009 I attended a meeting for the Atlanta Writers Club. The first hour was an author talking about her memoirs and journey to publishing. The second hour was a song writer. I have no interest in song writing, so I didn't plan on staying for the second hour. My wife and I headed out during the intermission. On the way down the hall, I had a sudden urge to stay. We headed back in and listened to a few songs and the two song writers discuss story telling in lyrics. They performed a song called, Dancer. It was interesting, but not my cup of unpasteurized whole milk.
Without warning, one of them said, "We have been trying to get someone to turn this song into a novel."
I looked up and saw an anvil hovering. Just as I said, "I wonder what that is," it hit me. My head vibrated for a few seconds, then I realized, this is something for me. I should write the story. In an instant, my mind raced through the plot and I saw the dancer as clear as cheesecake hiding behind cellophane. I saw what happened to the homeless man in the song, how his life played out, and how the song would end.
To make a short story long, I met with the two song writers, Tralena Walker and Tom Webster. They sent me the lyrics and gave me feedback on the novel. Two years later, it was published.
Amazing! Well, Eddie, I think this is indeed a wonderful story and a blessing from God!
I Called Him Dancer is a story about how one woman’s enduring faith and unconditional love drives her to reach out to a homeless man who has given up on life.
Here's a peek:
Traffic continued at its agonizing pace, but Broadway crawled into view. Raquel’s shoulders grew tense at the passing of each minute. With her extra hour gone, she now feared being late for her meeting.
A man near the intersection ahead distracted Raquel from her frustrations. She watched the vagrant in rags as he bounced from car to car with a squeegee and a spray bottle, cleaning windshields, and gathering tips.
A friend had warned her to always tip street washers. Though cleaning wasn’t invited, they expected payment. Raquel grabbed her purse and fished for cash. She pulled out a bill.
I doubt he has change for a twenty.
Other than the money she needed for parking, Raquel could only produce a dollar and some change. She poured the change into her palm and wrapped it in the dollar as the vagrant drew near. With the precision of an experienced windshield technician, the man rushed to the passenger side, sprayed the window, and drew the squeegee across it.
When the man reached for the center of the windshield, Raquel's heart stopped, frozen in a moment of shock. The window washer's crystal blue eyes looked familiar. Excitement and confusion gripped her heart, causing her pulse to quicken. Filth and a burst of whiskers obscured his face, but did she know him? Her mind rebelled at the thought, but her heart trumpeted with recognition. She tried to get a good look as the vagrant hurried to the driver's side to finish the job. In a moment, he stood at the car window with an extended palm.
Raquel brushed her hair aside and looked up, examining the man’s face, searching for Michael’s features behind the grime. The man refused to look at her, but glanced back and forth as though scanning for unknown threats. She started to hand him the money, but held it for a moment and tried to get another look at his eyes.
The man’s eyes widened for an instant, then narrowed. The whiskers around the corners of his mouth raised slightly. “There ain’t no dancers here, lady.”
Raquel stared for a moment. “You just look like someone I know as Dancer. Aren’t you Michael? Michael Camp?” Suddenly, she felt embarrassed by her question. How could Dancer be a vagrant? He is certainly a Broadway star by now.
“I’d do the Tennessee two-step, but it will cost you extra.”
The voice and the eyes seem like Michael’s, but that’s impossible. Raquel refused to accept the thought and began to deny her heart’s realization. Her thoughts warred against reason, trying to decide whether to accept the reality standing before her, or the image of Michael she’d expected to find in New York. She opened her mouth to speak again, but a blowing horn interrupted her. The car ahead had moved thirty feet.
The driver behind her rolled down his window to voice his complaint, but the sounds of car horns obscured his words as more drivers joined the protest. Words fled. Raquel handed over the money and pulled forward, followed by the line of impatient drivers. The man walked toward the traffic light, preparing for a new line of cars and reluctant tippers. When Raquel turned the corner, she adjusted her mirror to keep the man in sight until a building obscured her view.
Raquel parked her car and took a final glance at her watch. “Ten minutes late,” she moaned, then slammed the car door. Racing to the production office, she fought to push down her emotions, but she couldn’t get her mind off the windshield washer. Raquel wanted to reject the idea that he could be the man she loved, but couldn’t mistake those blue eyes. Could this be why she lost contact with him two years ago?
Her mind raced through the possibilities—and the impossibilities. Is it possible that one of the nation's top dancers is now homeless? If it is Michael, how could he have ended up cleaning windshields off Broadway?
This was such a wonderful story, I don't know where to begin! From the joy you can feel when he dances, to the sorrow Raquel feels when she finds Dancer and sees how low he has fallen, God's mercy and grace just shines through it all. Eddie draws us so deeply into the characters that you can't help but want to cry for Dancer, and cheer Raquel on as she follows God's leading.
I must admit, there were a few surprising twists in the story. Some made me laugh, others made me gasp, and yes, some made me sigh. Great job, Eddie. I can't wait for the next one!
I don't want to give one little bit of this story away. All I can say is, I'm sure you'll enjoy it!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Eddie Snipes is president of the Christian Authors Guild (http://www.
Over the last two years, Eddie has won five writing contests and in April, his first novel, I Called Him Dancer was released. I Called Him Dancer is a story about how one woman's enduring faith and unconditional love drives her to reach out to a homeless man who has given up on life. He has two other books in the process of being published. Watch for an upcoming release called Simple Faith.