Wednesday, July 9, 2014

An American Anniversary

It was on this day in 1997 that, without consciously knowing what I was doing, I left my native Canada and launched into a new adventure in a new country. To mark my 17th anniversary in the U.S., here's an abridged version of how I chronicled that experience in Acts of Surrender: A Writer's Memoir.

"Sioux Narrows Provincial Park sits on one of the thousands of picturesque inlets that comprise Lake of the Woods, a vast lake system that straddles the Ontario-Minnesota border west of Thunder Bay. In the summer its shores are lushly green, and haunting loon calls from mid-lake usher in its otherwise-silent dewy mornings. That’s what I woke to on the morning of July 9, 1997 — unknowingly, my last as a Canadian resident.

"After scribbling a few postcards, I broke camp and drove five minutes south into town to mail the cards. My plan was to return to Transcanada Highway and the Winnipeg Folk Festival, which was to open a few days later. Once again my car had its own plan. Without fully realizing what I was doing, I turned right instead of left out of the parking lot. My new direction was south — toward Minnesota, the United States and, unbeknownst to me, my new country.

"The signal from CBC Radio, my constant companion on this open-ended road odyssey, was still strong as I crossed the border at Baudette. But as I continued southwest toward Bemidji, it grew weaker and weaker then stuttered into solid static.

"Canada was gone.

"In that moment, I knew that I was, too — for good."

© Mark David Gerson, from Acts of Surrender: A Writer's Memoir

It would be nearly a decade before I set foot in Canada again. Through those ten years I would call three U.S. states home, would marry, become a father and divorce, and would launch another open-ended road odyssey, this one lasting 30 months instead of the three that ultimately initiated my life in America.

Read more about the many acts of surrender that have comprised my journey in Acts of Surrender: A Writer's Memoir, available on most Amazon sites, from other online booksellers and from all major ebook-sellers. And read more excerpts on the book's Facebook page.


"A dynamic read for the creative spirit within each of us. Positive inspiration at its best."

"A book that has the power to awaken, empower and inspire anyone who reads it."
– Melissa Shawn, Austin, Texas

2 comments:

Nicole Pyles said...

This sounds like it would be a great book. I've longed to take a road trip journey for that lengthy period of time. How cool would that be?

Mark David Gerson said...

Nicole - Both my longish road journeys were amazing experiences. Do check out Acts of Surrender, if you feel so moved.