Like Groundhog Day, but for Jews

At this time of year, in synagogs all over the world, we come to the end of the torah and start to read it again from the beginning. The creation story. It comes around every year at this time, just like Groundhog Day, except for the Jews. Genesis tells us of God creating the world, and all the wonders it contains. God is THE creative force of the universe. Genesis also tells us that we humans are made in the image of God. This means we can’t help but have creative tendencies.

Granted, we can’t say the word and make a glorious sunrise or a wild blue sea appear. But as an author, I can do the next best thing. In Almost Paradise, I created a world that had not existed previously. I populated it with characters of every sort—good, bad, and everything in between. Louise Golden and the supporting cast are as real to me as anyone.  Sometimes more so.

In fact, they sent me a birthday card. I picked up my mail and found a card with no return address. The note in the card said, “Thank you for bringing us to life.” It was signed by Louise, Dan, Doug, Brian, Marta, Ilan, Emmeline and Jackie, each in a different handwriting. I swear, this is a true story.

I’d been discouraged about the whole process of producing a novel and getting it published. I was of a mind to chuck the whole thing and move on to other endeavors. After receiving the card, I realized these people would not continue to live and breathe unless I gave them the chance. They would die almost before they’d begun to live. I went back to work on my book with renewed enthusiasm.

Thank God I did. Almost Paradise has been successful beyond my dreams. Louise and all her friends live on.


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