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Never too late

“It’s never too late to be what you might have been.”
Author and columnist Helen Row Toews. Photo supplied.

“It’s never too late to be what you might have been.” - George Eliot

George Eliot was the pen name of renowned novelist Mary Ann Evans. She grew up in England during the Victorian era when writing was considered unladylike. At that time, women authors faced many obstacles when trying to publish their work which was part of the reason for her use of a male pseudonym. Her motivating words, hastily penned on the back of an old grocery list (by me, not George Eliot) and attached to my desk with a length of sticky tape, have been inspiring.

I won’t bore you with a tedious trip down memory lane, but I’ll tell you I wanted to be a writer as early as I can remember. When I was eleven, my mother wrote to W.O. Mitchell, acclaimed Canadian and Saskatchewan writer, performer, and teacher, asking him what steps her daughter Helen should take to become an author. Remarkably, he replied, albeit briefly.

“Tell her to write something every day,” he scrawled at the top of my mother’s letter. At the time, it had seemed a poor response for a girl hungry to learn the inside secrets to success, but it was, in fact, excellent advice. Writing ‘something’ every day, even when you don’t feel like it, the cat has thrown up in your shoe, the baby is crying, or your brain feels dry as dust, causes you to improve, whether you like it or not.

However, although I wrote little bits of stories in-between having children and being a wife, mother, and truck driver (an odd combination, I’ll admit), I’d given up on my dream of being an author. Then, miraculously, one shining day, I was given an opportunity by the former editor of my local newspaper, Mike D’Amour, to write a column called Prairie Wool. I’ll always be grateful to him, and to the Lloydminster Meridian Source, for making that dream a reality.

Hooray! Fear of failure, the ravages of old age, or the unhappy decay of imagination would not claim my sorry hide just yet. I was given a chance to be what I might have been.

George Eliot, you were right!

*Canned applause*

That was almost eight years ago. Although it isn’t always easy to come up with a fresh new column each week, it’s meant a lot to hopefully send a smile your way through my humorous anecdotes. It also opened the door to a whole new world.

I first published three books of the best of my Prairie Wool tales. Then, wrote four books in an epic fantasy series called Runestaff Chronicles. They have been likened, by readers, to The Chronicles of Narnia and The Lord of the Rings. High praise indeed. Although I do not claim to place myself in their illustrious company, I’m proud of my books.

Most recently, I’ve written my first romance. One Golden Summer was released this past weekend and is doing well. While the story begins here, on the prairies, the reader soon escapes to sun-drenched Provence, France, where dreams sometimes do come true. My next novel will take place in the Cinque Terre, along Italy’s rugged coastline, since my love of travel has finally found release.

So, to sum up this article of blatant self-promotion, I hope you might be interested enough to give some, or all, of my books a read. They can be found on Amazon or on my website

But most of all, remember, “It’s never too late to be what you might have been.”

As for me, I’m an author.