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Close To My Heart: Making Up Islands

There were a lot of mornings when I woke up before dawn in the Rocky Mountain cold, bundled up under a heavy coat, scraped the thick armor of ice off my windshield and drove to a coffee shop to think about the Caribbean.

It was more than just pining for the warm splendor of beach and ocean. Instead, I spent about three hours before going to work — at a local newspaper — making all sorts of things up about an imaginary batch of islands and a group of people I sent from fantasyland to live there.

Being a journalist, I spent my days dealing with facts — some tragic, some frustrating, some inspiring and some, just plain dull. But during the time before daybreak at the only coffee shop open in my small mountain town, I allowed myself to create my own “facts.”

And I wrote them down — well, typed them into a series of laptops, and they became the novel I had always known I would write. It took several years, and it features reggae bands, revolutions, rocket ships and romance. It’s called “Down-Island View,” and it’s about independence, identity and scuba diving. It was the epitome of a labor of love: over-caffeinated love, that is.

Don’t look for it on Amazon — it’s not even self-published yet. Only about three people have read it. Aside from my wife and my children, it’s among the most important things I’ve ever done. It’s something I had to do and that’s why, whether it ever makes it to a Kindle or the shelves of Barnes & Noble, it’s close to my heart.

This story is featured as a part of our Close To My Heart promotion. You can enter your own story here for a chance to win $5,000 for yourself and $5,000 for your favorite local organization.

This is a story from our staff and is not eligible to win the promotion.

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