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Sunset over Lake Bemidji. Photo by author.

Sunset over Lake Bemidji. Photo by author.

Bemidji. I spent two days and one night in Bemidji for the Bemidji Book Festival. I went to this northern Minnesota town (near where the mighty Mississippi River originates) for the first time last year (here’s my blog post recounting my inaugural trip “up North”). I was so glad to have an excuse to return. The air is fresh, the water is clear, and the sunsets are remarkable.

How to write a memoir, The Guardian. Writers Jeanette Winterson and Helen Macdonald offer some great advice on writing memoir in this article. Some highlights: Don’t try to fit a formula or template; trust yourself; and sometimes you just have to scrap works in progress. Don’t stuff them in the proverbial drawer. “If it’s crap when it goes in the drawer, it’s crap when it comes out,” Winterson said. “There is nothing mysterious inside the drawer to make your writing better.”

Vintage postcards featuring the glory days of car travel. I went to my favorite secondhand store in Bemidji (full of things you might find in an attic; I love it!). I stopped at the box full of postcards near the door rifled through them for about 20 minutes. I probably could have bought all of them! I started to read the backs, thinking I would buy ones that had intriguing stories written on them. But as I was leafing through them, I noticed so many that featured roadside motels on the front. I decided to buy several. We would probably classify this type of motel as a “dump” today, but remember in the 1950s or 1960s, it was a treat for motorists to stay in carpeted, air-conditioned rooms with televisions. I bought some others, too, including one of Midway airport in Chicago and one of the interstate in California. We don’t think twice about airports, motels, or interstates today … I’m fascinated by the fact that there was a time when those were real modern marvels.

The Clark Inn Motel, 1800 E. Fremont Ave., Las Vegas. The postcard tats the carpeting, steam heating and air cooling.

The Clark Inn Motel, 1800 E. Fremont Ave., Las Vegas. The postcard tats the carpeting, steam heating and air cooling.

A postcard of a truck stop! It's the Deck Plaza at I-80 and Highway 82 in Geneseo, Illinois. The back says it has "complete modern interstate facilities."

A postcard of a truck stop! It’s the Deck Plaza at I-80 and Highway 82 in Geneseo, Illinois. The back says it has “complete modern interstate facilities.”

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