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Walking the downtown streets of a hometown I grew up on the outskirts of. The city became cool as my children grew young, so the Children’s Museum we knew. The excitement and nightlife, though, was something that began as we sang a Dutch lullaby to close that part of each day. Still, I know the town, am familiar with its parts. But I looked up at that moment: companions at my side—younger city-dwellers those two—on a walk together that would have us stopping at various locations to write and be inspired, or be inspired and write. And have beer.

“I don’t know that I’ve ever been in this very spot,” I said, more realization than admission.

The building straight ahead reminded me of Boston, where I’d been twice, but only briefly, with my family. Very Bostonian, I think I thought, proud of myself for being so well-traveled and architecturally astute: yes, I do believe it was from the Bostonian period. Unfounded smugness aside, it was odd being in such an expectedly unfamiliar place, a sudden alien in the hometown I grew up on the outskirts of.

Then we reached the end of the street.

A few weekends before there’d been a downtown festival with food and art and music. Streets closed to cars filled with people walking or waiting in line for food or listening to one band or another. I’d gone on Friday afternoon with my family, and there across the street from where I was then standing—my two writing companions at my side—I had been captured on local television, cramming Greek pork into my mouth.

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All I had done is turn a corner and voila! I went from being somewhere entirely new to a place I’d been often—and recently.

Of course, not really. Really I’m just pretty stupid—and unaccustomed to having a beer at lunch. But also: perspective can be a tricky little wench, convincing us with alluring stare. See, she says—such supple lips—it’s just as I’m showing you and no, there’s no reason for you to question or think otherwise.

She turns out the lights and silences all the voices calling out “We’re here, we are here!” And that darkness becomes our world, our past present future. Oh, then, if only we would turn the corner and search the wall with hopeful fingertips for that switch that would change everything.

All I had done is turn a corner and voila! I went from being somewhere entirely new to a place I’d been often—and recently.

Note to self: remember, turn the corner.

Note to my children, my students, and you, patient reader: turn the corner.

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