My first short fiction piece was in fourth grade. The title was Balloon Friendship, and I remember that it was about a lonely orphan who puts a message in a balloon and sends it up to the sky, where it is discovered by another lonely orphan who longs for a sister. You will never guess this, but at the end, they become sisters! It was sappy and corny and I don’t know how I explained the orphan’s easy access to helium, but I enjoyed writing it very much. My wonderful teacher, Mrs. Kilborn, wrote a little note on the cover that said, “THIS is what you are good at. Wr iting. This is YOUR THING and I hope you write more of these.” I never, ever forgot that, so Mrs. Kilborn is in part responsible for this blog. I no longer own some of my pieces but here are a few I am fond of.