Steve Johnson, MN

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Steve honed his writing skills at Colorado State University and channeled that experience into a portfolio of engaging projects from children’s books and where-to to climate change and inspirational memoirs. Blending a genuine voice with a literary wallop, he deftly navigates the intricacies of a book’s publishing orbit. Steve brings big-picture editing talents and natural finesse to orchestrate projects to their very best, complemented with a generations-proud family history and soul-deep appreciation of where he comes from.

As a StoryTerrace writer, Steve interviews customers and turns their life stories into books. Get to know him better by reading his autobiographical anecdote below.

The Ride North

I was about 10, grinning ear to ear and about to realize a dream, when Dad helped me build a little BMX/cruiser Frankenstein bike, cobbled together with cast-off (or pilfered) parts from my brother’s bike. I rolled down our cracked and faded driveway for the first time on my new rig with hoots and hollers of delight.

Like most squirrely, outdoor-loving kids, I saw summer, and every other season, from the seat of my bike, noodling along the gravel roads and deer trails and field paths around my country neighborhood and small hometown. Those two wheels were an outlet for pent-up energy and a vehicle for adventure. In the summer before high school, Dad lashed a beat-up tent and ragged sleeping bags to our bikes and we rode on a two-day odyssey to our Wisconsin cabin.

…In the end, I realized a progression of just riding around to notching longer miles had me back where I started, savoring the journey and getting out there. A walk outside said it all:

Springtime is the listening season, and nature’s volume is all the way up. Chickadees are my favorite hit makers, whistling their zippity doo dah salute to the morning and dancing past my head with that shuffling card deck sound of their rapid-fire wing flutters.

At the lakeshore, a gnarled oak leaf shrunken with age and the weight of winter snow suddenly lifts on a mini tempest of wind into a pirouette at my feet. Three other leaves join the circular waltz, dancing stem to lobe in a tick-ticking beat. Out on the water, a dozen mergansers engage in earnest, murmured conversation beneath the brilliance of a sunny, cobalt sky.

The ice has relaxed its shore to shore grip, and every spring announces the moment with a fantastical ode to warmer waters uncannily similar to the songs of whales in a deep ocean. There is audible life in the otherwise static, frozen sheet, often accompanied by space movie laser sounds or the severe birth of a crack heaving a huge, horizontal iceberg from its host.

The mood is decidedly different at shoreline. A tortilla-thin layer of ice covers water so clear it seems no water is there. Small birch branches hover in suspended animation just below the surface, a light wind breathing a needle-borne melody.

I lean into the curve of an aged birch and listen. Ne’er a fairer place to be than in a northern spring.

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