A couple of weeks ago my son, Kevin, and I were lucky enough to attend the opening of the Terry Fox exhibit at the prestigious Canadian Museum of History just across the river from Ottawa. What a fantastic night!
I well remember Terry’s run which he started in St. John’s, Newfoundland, and wanted to end in British Columbia. Though he didn’t make the whole distance he did raise the one dollar for every Canadian citizen which was his goal, albeit after the run stalled in Northern Ontario. Terry’s cancer had returned.
Imagine that. He did not finish his stated goal to run across Canada but his courage and absolute determination electrified first the country he loved and then the wider world. Terry’s name is an international symbol and his story just doesn’t quit; the money just keeps pouring in.
The exhibit (there until next winter) features many artifacts on loan from the Fox family and as you walk through you see notations from Terry’s log as well as oversize representations of his encouraging sayings. Kevin and I were happy to stand beneath these words:
“Today is the day it all begins.”
I feel that way about my writing. Each day when I sit down at my computer and move my current work-in-progress a little farther ahead, it’s like a new beginning. I have another chance to tell the story of fictional characters who represent those unnamed real people who lived, struggled, and strove to build my country. I get to show the actual history of real people and events and, while I revel in that journey, it can be intimidating.
If we as writers can just have that attitude (Today is the day it all begins.), though, we will maybe do what Terry did. We’ll build a story that, whether it becomes widely known or not, will be an accomplishment for us as individuals and something to leave behind as a lasting remembrance. In that way, today is the first day of the rest of our lives. How will we use it?
I have three pages that are calling to be written. How about you?