I spent last week in Nebraska. I travel often, but this one was actually for personal purposes. Much of my family lives in Nebraska and Kansas, and this was my first trip to my hometown in six years. Whenever I write that I feel a bit like a jerk. Why haven’t I been back more often?

My mom comes to visit me much more often. It’s just easier. My work schedule varies and my husband just doesn’t take vacation. She comes here to see us both and work with out schedules. And, typically, there is more to do in a large city like Dallas, than there is in my 13,000-population hometown. I emphasize the typically, because this last trip was busy and wonderful.

And maybe that’s the lesson here. Never underestimate something small — a character, a setting and simple conversation — because it may become something much bigger and be something you and your readers talk about at length.

One of the perks of spending the 4th of July holiday (American Independence Day, for my overseas friends) in Nebraska is fireworks. Since moving away I’ve lived in Arizona and Texas. Neither are places where you buy the big fireworks and do them yourself. And I love fireworks. In addition to larger communities doing fireworks, most little towns in Nebraska have a display. We visited the town of Hickman, Neb., for a fireworks show and it was one of the best I’ve seen in person. Non-stop bursts of brilliant light and echoing booms for 30 minutes. All from a town of less than 1,700 residents.

Never assume you know the capability something small. If you give it the chance it may surprise you.

PS. Nice discussion on cliffhangers this week over at VBC

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