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Winding Oak's Bookology Magazine

Drive

Writing Road Trip | Lisa Bullard | DriveI was plan­ning a road trip to North­ern Min­neso­ta to teach at a Young Author’s Con­fer­ence and decid­ed to include a small detour to my past: the town of Bemid­ji, where we lived when I was in 2nd through 5th grades. So after the con­fer­ence wrapped, I spent a cou­ple of hap­py days trav­el­ing down mem­o­ry lane.

I was warm­ly wel­comed at my old ele­men­tary school and then drove all over town tak­ing pho­tos and vis­it­ing my per­son­al land­marks: our old house and neigh­bor­hood, the amuse­ment park, the lake where we swam and went ice fish­ing, the col­lege cam­pus where we went to hock­ey games. Some of my mem­o­ries were miss­ing; many oth­ers had grown small­er or grungi­er.

Sad­ly, I couldn’t track down my favorite smell, since both the pub­lic and school libraries had changed loca­tions and lost the odor of old books in their moves. But most­ly I loved every minute of my gam­bol­ing about town. I had one regret as I loaded my lug­gage: I had man­aged to find the num­ber for my 5th grade teacher, but she hadn’t respond­ed to my phone mes­sage. See­ing her and being able to say “thank you” would have been a high­light: she was the per­son who made me believe, all those years ago, that I could become a “real writer” some­day. She even helped me sub­mit a lett‚er to the edi­tor of the local newspaper—my first publication!—after which I began prac­tic­ing my “famous author sig­na­ture.”

Life has thrown many detours along my writ­ing road, but her ear­ly belief in me has been part of what’s pro­vid­ed my dri­ve to be a writer ever since. I got in my car think­ing what fun it would have been to tell her in per­son that things had tru­ly come full cir­cle: not only had I grown up to be a writer, but I had just taught at a Young Writer’s Con­fer­ence attend­ed by some stu­dents from our old ele­men­tary school. I turned the key in the igni­tion, and my cell phone rang. Mrs. Hen­riques, despite the last-minute tim­ing, I got to say it to your face that day after all. But it bears repeat­ing here, in writ­ing, on Valentine’s Day: thank you for believ­ing, all those years ago, that I could become a “real writer!” Some­times all a writer—of any age—needs to dri­ve them for­ward, is some­one to believe in them.

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