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Normal Storyteller Tells Story of Normal

Published March 6, 2006

Ring out the bells.  Stop the presses.  It's time to celebrate.  The man who had troubles getting through his college English classes has again written an article that will be published - this time in a national literary magazine.  Dr. Mike Lockett has written a true historical story called "How Normal Became Normal."  Working through part of a grant received by the Twin City Tale Spinners, Lockett (the current president of the group) did research about the history of early McLean County, including research that led him to this story.

Yes, it's true that Lockett dropped English 101 the first time around (almost 40 years ago at Illinois State University) and retook it during the summer semester at a different college.  It seems that Lockett's opinions of some of the stories read in class and some of the writings did not agree with the instructor's opinions those many years ago.  However, this time, Lockett agreed with the experts who did much of the research on the history of Normal and cited his sources in his story.

"How Normal Became Normal" will be published in "Night Train," a national literary Magazine.  The article will appear in Volume VI, which will be published in March/April, 2006.  The magazine is sold at popular bookstores throughout the United States and through on-line subscriptions.

Lockett, retired educator - currently a national storyteller, was surprised when Tom Jackson, Marketing Director for Night Train, took interest in his story while helping film episodes of the television pilot for "Tell Me a Story, the Search for America's Greatest Storyteller."  Jackson was operating under a different hat as co-writer of the television pilot, and Lockett was one of the featured storytellers for the event.  During conversations, Lockett found out from Jackson that the spring issue would feature a "rail stop" at Normal and that the publishers were looking for stories about Normal.

What could be better than the man who is called "The Normal Storyteller" retelling the history of how the town he calls home got its name - or "How Normal Became Normal."

You can see the list of publications by Mike Lockett on his website at  Lockett was quoted saying (tongue in cheek), "The list isn't too shabby for a man who couldn't pass his college English class the first time around."

Former students who wish to hear more of the stories that Lockett once told in the classroom can hear stories recorded on auditory CDs.  They are available at and at and at various local stores, including The Towanda Schoolshop at Towanda Plaza.