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When I was eleven traveling home with my family from a fishing trip

in northern California, I fell in love with a pair of ladies’ shoes.

I found them in a junk shop attached to a gas station in a former gold mining town.

My dad, sensing my enthusiasm, unhooked them from the rafters and bought them for me.

Over the next hour of our journey, I told my dad and older brother about each woman

who had worn the boots, from first to last, until the moment I tried them on and

found they fit me exactly. Dad and my brother clapped and cheered at the story’s

conclusion. Were they simply relieved? No matter. From that time on I was

hooked on storytelling and the imagined people who move into my soul.

I write because I want to know how it feels to be someone else, how daily life would be

in a different time, and how the past weaves its way into the present.


A pair of shoes set me on my way.

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