A few weeks ago I cleaned out the final remnants of my high school, university and early adult life from an old trunk where they’d been residing in my parents’ house in Canada. Memories came to Technicolor life, some excruciatingly happy, some brutally sad. Some big wins and some real losses. Each one of these remnants, I can see now, have made me who I am. Every weakness, flaw, imperfection. Every wish and hope.
Some of my favorite finds were my words from those days when I was discovering this world and who I am. Like this, an opening to a story—autobiographical, no matter how hard I tried in my youth to mask it! Perhaps one day soon I will finish it. I can feel the ending now.
“I remember those nights I used to come down to the seashore and walk along the train tracks beside the water. I’d find a big rock, out on the shore’s edge, and sit. Just sit there, cross-legged and lean back on my palms to stare at the sky. So many stars, bright ones, dull ones, too many to count. I’d look for the constellations they taught us about in school. All I remembered were two dippers, a bear and something called the Evening Star, which was really Venus. I looked up anyway, drawn by the brilliance.
The smell of salty air and the sound of the sea was all about. Sometimes a big wave would come, crashing so violently the spray would shoot up and get me wet. Waves. They started out as dark ridges moving toward the shore. Then they seemed to pick up speed and crash with a smack into the land. They turned from blue to white and sloshed rhythmically against a log. The sole purpose of the log seemed just to be there at that moment in time, for the waves.
I gained so much motivation from nature. There were the nights I would go home, and plunk myself in front of the typewriter, trying to type out all the great thoughts and story ideas that had just come to me. It was important to do this before they disappeared. I would have taken the machine with me to the beach, but there was nowhere to plug it in. Yes, I was a writer, or at least I was trying to convince myself I was one.
It was a night like this one in the heat of the summer when it all started. I was leaning over the White Rock pier, gazing down into the water, completely caught up in my writer’s mind, when I felt a stranger walk up and stand beside me. Even though I knew I didn’t know him, it was a warm feeling. When he spoke, his voice was oddly familiar.”