Winding Oak's Bookology Magazine

Writing Road Trip

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Round Trip

by Lisa Bullard One of life’s great sat­is­fac­tions is return­ing home after a long jour­ney. We rejoice in the famil­iar clasp of our own bed, in the brac­ing taste of our home air. Every­thing seems com­fort­ing­ly the same, yet also fresh and remark­able. This is because, even if home has stayed the same, jour­ney­ing has changed us.… more

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East, or West?

by Lisa Bullard I think road-trip­ping togeth­er should be a require­ment for every cou­ple con­tem­plat­ing life part­ner­ship. There are few oth­er cir­cum­stances that allow you to so quick­ly learn about how some­one nav­i­gates through life. Would you rather plan the whole trip in advance, or just get in the car and dri­ve? Do you stop and ask for direc­tions, or go ahead and get lost?… more

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Are We There Yet?

by Lisa Bullard My Texas grand­par­ents  usu­al­ly made the long dri­ve to Min­neso­ta. But the sum­mer I was thir­teen, my par­ents piled me, my two younger broth­ers, and a bor­rowed boy cousin into the old sta­tion wag­on and head­ed us south. I escaped into the far back, prop­ping myself up on suit­cas­es and read­ing a thou­sand-page-long Civ­il War nov­el called House Divid­ed.more

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Places We Never Expected to Go

by Lisa Bullard On-the-road Lisa is dif­fer­ent than Lisa-at-home. Trav­el­ing Lisa takes big­ger risks. She’s less respon­si­ble. She puts her­self in the way of more trou­ble. You might almost call her my Evil Twin. Some­thing hap­pens when I’ve moved out­side my com­fort zone. I per­ceive things in a fresh way. I feel a free­dom to be some­one oth­er than who I usu­al­ly am.… more

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You Be Thelma, I’ll Be Louise

by Lisa Bullard It’s best to bring a bud­dy when you hit the high­way. With a trav­el­ing com­pan­ion along for the ride, the guf­faws are loud­er.  The adven­tures are grander. The late-night soul-search­ing is more soul­ful. Then there are times like the morn­ing I woke up mid-road trip with severe food poi­son­ing in Myr­tle Beach, a day before need­ing to catch a plane in Raleigh.… more

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Shifting Drivers

by Lisa Bullard If you go road trip­ping with enough dif­fer­ent peo­ple, you dis­cov­er anoth­er way that human beings sort them­selves out: into the dri­vers of the world, and the pas­sen­gers of the world. The dri­vers are only com­plete­ly hap­py when they have con­trol of the steer­ing wheel. But, on every trip, there comes a point where they tire out and lose their con­cen­tra­tion. … more

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Traveling Abroad

by Lisa Bullard In col­lege I spent a month trav­el­ing in Europe. I savored dozens of excit­ing new foods. But it was the ketchup — some­thing I usu­al­ly took for grant­ed — that stood out. For­eign ketchup was so for­eign. Had ketchup become so famil­iar at home that I’d stopped notic­ing its taste? Was it because I was eat­ing ketchup in Switzer­land that it seemed like I was tast­ing ketchup for the first time?… more

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Changing Course

by Lisa Bullard My fam­i­ly didn’t camp when I was a kid. So a few years ago, when a friend asked if I want­ed to go on a camp­ing trip to Arkansas, I said, “Sure. I’ve always want­ed to try camp­ing. It will be fun.” I assumed there would be lots of yum­my toast­ed-marsh­­mal­low moments. You know what they say about mak­ing assump­tions, right?… more

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Pulled Over

by Lisa Bullard My brother’s wed­ding rehearsal is in three hours, but my cousins and I take a jaunt from Hous­ton to Galve­ston any­way. Then a cop car pulls us over. One cop stands behind our car, gun drawn; anoth­er leans men­ac­ing­ly into the win­dow and grills us. Even­tu­al­ly, he admits that our car and the three of us match the descrip­tions of the per­pe­tra­tors of a just-com­mit­t­ed, seri­ous crime.… more

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Collecting Souvenirs

by Lisa Bullard Not all writ­ers can claim the vast and var­ied assort­ment of sou­venir snow globes I’ve acquired on my trav­els. But most writ­ers I know are con­stant­ly col­lect­ing oth­er things: sto­ries, words, images, emo­tions, quirky char­ac­ters, new expe­ri­ences, and odd­ball facts. These “writ­ing chachkas” clut­ter the rooms of our imag­i­na­tions until we need inspi­ra­tion Then we pick one up, shake it, and watch to see what lands in our writ­ing.… more

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Heavy Baggage

by Lisa Bullard I wrote in “The Beau­ty of Road­blocks” about how stu­dents some­times for­get to include the crit­i­cal ele­ment of conflict in their sto­ries. Some­times I’m faced with a differ­ent prob­lem: a kid will include painful, intense conflict — some­thing that is clear­ly based on their own expe­ri­ences. Some young peo­ple car­ry around “heavy bag­gage,” and a writ­ing road trip can unex­pect­ed­ly wrench those bags open.… more

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Taking the Wheel

by Lisa Bullard Some days I real­ly wish I was bet­ter at being a bad writer. Here’s why. Draft­ing, that ear­ly stage of writ­ing when you are just try­ing to cap­ture your ideas, usu­al­ly works best if you can get words down as quick­ly as pos­si­ble. But my inner edi­tor is hor­ri­bly crit­i­cal. If I let that inner edi­tor take the wheel while I’m draft­ing, it’s as if my car has hit a patch of ice: my wheels start spin­ning, I skid, and even­tu­al­ly I crash into a snow bank.… more

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The Beauty of Roadblocks

by Lisa Bullard Can you guess which of these real­ly hap­pened? a) After acci­den­tal­ly invad­ing the Stur­gis Motor­cy­cle Ral­ly, my trav­el­ing com­pan­ion and I were in a three-way stand-off: our car, a Harley, and a 1,000-pound buf­fa­lo. b) I peered over a hotel bal­cony high above the Mis­sis­sip­pi, watch­ing the bomb squad and 50 oth­er emer­gency vehi­cles squeal into the park­ing lot direct­ly below.… more

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Packing Your Bags

by Lisa Bullard One of the basic writ­ing exer­cis­es I use with kids starts with hav­ing them cre­ate per­son­al “Time Cap­sules” (down­load the activ­i­ty). It’s a great way to explore how writ­ers build a char­ac­ter through the use of “telling” details — in this case, the items a char­ac­ter val­ues the most. But a person’s stuff can reveal more about them than just the obvi­ous.… more

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A Writing GPS

For a cou­ple of years run­ning I was hired for two-week “writ­ing road trips” across the south­west­ern Min­neso­ta prairie. On my dai­ly jour­neys I often passed with­in a few miles of the banks of Lau­ra Ingalls Wilder’s Plum Creek. But I didn’t have time to stop and vis­it Famous Author Land­marks. I had been hired on as a “Famous Author” myself, to vis­it a series of schools and talk to stu­dents about writ­ing.… more

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