Dear David Martin,

I’m looking at my bookshelf right now and I still have the orange journal you handed me the summer before I went to Westside Middle School.  That was back in 2002.  Now, I am completing a BA in creative writing from UNL, assembling a creative thesis, and applying to graduate schools.  Looking back, I think your camp was the first time someone told me that I could be a writer.  It wasn’t a place where teachers told me I couldn’t or that someone was better than me at something.  We just wrote, and that was just the best feeling.  Something as simple as a summer camp helped me feel like I could become the writer I am now, and even the writer I want to become later.

I am currently the editor of a regional magazine run through the Center for Great Plains Studies at UNL called  “Plains Song Review.”  I served on the review board two years prior, and I’ve been having a great time organizing the work of other writers and giving people a chance to be published.  One of my missions since going to UNL has been to give back to writers any way I can.  I also work at the UNL writing center and am one of the senior staff members there.  Every day I work with writers one-on-one.  I really can’t imagine any more fulfilling work I could be doing for other students while I’m at UNL.

If you need any help this summer with Fine Lines, please don’t hesitate to contact me.  I’d love to hear from you and talk writing.

Thanks again for my first writing journal and everything that followed.

-Neal Gebhard