Inspired in Illinois

I was born on the prairies of Illinois, in a hospital just a stone’s throw from the Knox College site of Abraham Lincoln’s Galesburg debate with Stephen A. Douglas. The building still stands, and a plaque on it inspired Carl Sandburg to write a six-volume biography of Lincoln.

Sandburg, too, was born in the ‘Burg, just a block from where my uncles have owned a grocery store for more than five decades.

My parents and grandparents were great storytellers. They always made me proud of my state, its history and its stories.

A course on Illinois literature led me to the classroom of the mentor who helped me see my passion for the Prairie State’s rich literary legacy on the very first night of class, and who, through the years, gave me hope that my words might be worth reading.