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Inspiration: How I Became a Writer

When you're eight years old, living on a military base in the middle of a desert, surrounded by fighter jets, deafening sonic booms, and smooth-pressed uniforms, there's nothing you can't imagine. Secret fort under a hill? Check. Coded messages left behind through gold balls? Check. The general leading a plot to betray the base? Seems reasonable - just as reasonable as the legends spreading around the base that sharks lived in the dry lakebeds! I met my fellow detective (who went by the pseudonym Harper, just in case any villains figured out that we were hot on their trail) at Edwards Air Force Base, a tiny, isolated military base in the Mojave Desert of California. At first, there isn't much to see. The ground is littered with tumbleweeds, creosote, and snakes. The dry lakebeds shimmer as though they're filled with cool, refreshing water, but when you get closer you realize that's only a trick of the desert to pull you in. The wind batters you relentlessly, scr

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