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While walking last week, I noticed shadows of fallen leaves imprinted on the sidewalk. It made me think immediately of a similar sight in Toronto on Nov. 11, 1984. I had just arrived there on the heels of working on a victorious campaign for our congressman. I had fled to Canada to work on a novel with hopes of getting it written — or at least framed out — before returning home.
After emerging from the subway station, I walked toward my destination — the Karabanow Tourist Home. It was a rainy day and the sidewalk was covered with imprinted shadows of fallen maple leaves. At the subway station, I’d seen an old veteran sporting a red poppy in honor of Remembrance Day — Canada’s version of Veterans Day. The symbolism was overpowering and I remember trying not to step on the leaf imprints out of respect.
I went to Toronto full of hope that I could get that novel written and published. This was a chance to fulfill a dream that had been building inside of me.
That novel sits in a drawer; the first draft never was completed. Toronto was exciting, but in November it’s pretty dreary. I returned home and re-entered the work world I’d fled. Jobs came and went and other story ideas began to brew inside of me. This month I’ve been doing some major house cleaning (removing old clutter that had become invisible through the drudgery of my former job) and have come across a few of those ideas. They had similar themes with variations in plot; they were the humble beginnings of “The Cyber Miracles.”
I haven’t given up on that other novel. It’s still churning in my mind. But as I went on that walk last week and saw those shadows of hopes past, I was filled with such joy. It took 24 years, but today, finally, I can call myself a novelist.
Never, EVER give up hope!