The greatest beauty in life often rises from the darkest ashes of despair. Just ask Dustin Lynn.
"I was bullied severely," says Dustin as he reflects on his childhood. "When I was twelve, my mom recognized that I could write and I got away from the bullying with that. She really encouraged me to write. That was twenty years ago, and I've written ever since." By the age of 22, he'd completed his first novel. "I simply have to write. I feel weird if I don't write at least one short story a week." Thus far, Dustin has compiled five books of short stories, two plays, two novels, three screenplays, and two books of poetry. "Most of my work is southern fiction," he explains.
Like most writers, he is also an avid reader. "I started reading through Pulitzer Prize winning novels, and I could tell a big difference in my writing after that. It just took off then."
During a period of particularly brutal bullying, Dustin also discovered another lifelong passion. "I started martial arts and exercising during that time. Through martial arts, I gained confidence. I realized that it was something that I could make a career out of, so I pursued it."
Dustin shares Gracie Jiu-Jitsu with the world at Three Rivers Martial Arts Academy in addition to being a trainer at Energy Fitness in Paducah. "I love teaching kids," he says with a broad smile. "They truly are the light of my life.
"I can watch a kid come in here for the first time, see he or she acting goofy and not paying attention. In no time, I see them beam diligent, disciplined, and able to help other kids in class. They learn generosity and politeness here. We are doing something here that truly helps people. I really couldn't imagine my life without it."
Even though Dustin has been a prolific writer for many years, much of his work has been kept from the public. That, however, is changing. "It has matured to the where I don't mind people reading he says. That is why I decided to publish a few of my short stories."
Wherever You're Going, Wherever You Are is a collection of three short stories that follow people during changing moments in their lives. "Kentucky Anna" is an unflinching look at the reality of a teenage mother-to-be coping with her family and friends' reaction to her interracial relationship with the father of her child. "Balloons for the North" explores the dangerous lifestyle of American Christian missionaries in the demilitarized zone of the border between North Korea and South Korea. The third story "Prudence" discovers the underground culture of the 1960's yippie movement, following the colorful character Murray Eichner in his fantastic narrow escape from government law.