When kids in my high school swore they would never live in Iowa again, I swore I’d never leave. I’ve always loved Iowa and the Midwest. The weather, the people, the space.

Central Illinois = as much sky as land.

Look at the sky. It’s as much of the landscape as any town or lake or field or forest. When we talk about the weather in the Midwest we aren’t avoiding anything, we aren’t making small talk. We WANT to talk about the weather. It’s fucking intense. I remember my mother calling home once to tell my brother and I to run to the top of the hill to see a thunderstorm rolling in. We raced out and stared at the purple-black clouds like they were our own personal fireworks show.

That’s the kind of childish awe I want my kids to have.

Just the other day, a storm rolled through Illinois with the kind of lighting that seems to stick to the ground and the kind of malicious rain that seems intent on blinding drivers. I bounced in my seat, smiling, as the girlfriend clutched the wheel. How could we not talk about that?! Sticky lightning. Fuck, yes!

It’s not a place to visit – I must be clear on that- it’s a place to live.