Three Thanskgivings ago, I was in California. It was the first holiday after my mother passed away. My family was all back east, and although I had some good friends living nearby, I decided to take the long weekend and treat myself to a road trip. When I reached San Luis Obispo, I went for a long walk. And when I returned to my hotel, I wrote a story. Recently I found the story again, and I was amazed at the loneliness and longing that infused every syllable. Did I really feel like that as I walked those streets, or was it just my writerly imagination?