I suppose the true sign of a good novel is the opening sentance. So, in this post I am putting it all out there and printing an excerpt of “opening” . Since it is the first few pages there is no need for an intro.

For all my Cleveland friends living in Cleveland, please don’t be offended by my desire to get out of Cleveland as a young man. As we all know growing up in Cleveland had some great and scary moments. In my novel, Sam Cohen goes back to Cleveland, flashbacks, a novel device give context to the story.

A metaphor for the transitional time in life might be ” we are like seeds from the milkweed flower. At some point the wind carries the seeds in all directions to grow.” Our protagonist got swept all the way to NYC, the beast.

©Felix the Cat

I wanted out of Cleveland and so after college I had moved to Toronto, hoping to land a

job as a news photographer, only to be told by the Toronto Star that I needed to live six

months in Canada before I could be hired. I probably should have known this. I had a

friend in Boston who said I could crash on his couch until I found work and so I jumped

in my Toyota Corolla and drove back to the US, heading southeast on Route 403,

hugging Lake Ontario to Niagara Falls, and then connecting to Interstates 190 and 90. I

had $500 in my pocket.

To this day I cannot sit for long periods in a car and not conjure up unpleasant

memories from my Cleveland childhood, such as Sundays after temple school when my

family, minus my father who was always working, would jump into the powder blue

Oldsmobile and “go for a ride.” My mom would pick us up at the temple with the car

radio tuned to the “Melody Hour.” We’d go out to lunch to Corky and Lenny’s Jewish

Deli. Afterwards, my mom would drive us around the wealthy neighborhoods of Shaker

Heights to look at the mansions. My sister Rachel would complain about our modest

home and demand we move into a bigger one. Eventually the complaining would get so

bad my mom would stop the car in the middle of the road and explode in anger. “Just

shut up!” she’d yell. “We live in a fine home and in a good neighborhood. Count your

blessings!” We’d all sink back into our seats and remain silent for the rest of the car ride.

Every goddamn Sunday!

excerpt from the Novel ©Clevend by S.H. Begleiter

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