Frequently Asked Questions

The Stuff People Usually Ask Me:

Did you always want to be a writer?

I always liked telling stories and writing little rhymy things, no doubt influenced by my hero, Dr. Seuss. Wanna see my first published poem? I wrote it when I was in second grade and it made the cut for the annual school-wide arts publication:

Boats, boats, everywhere
I can see them very clear
Here they come, there they go
I can see them to and fro

By the time I was in high school my poetry got dark and angsty and I spent way too much time obsessing about writing just the right sentence. It kind of scared me just how much space the search for the right words could occupy in my brain, so I gave up writing for a long time. Then, in college, I took a creative writing class. I loved it! But was so focused on classes that would lead to a "real" job that again, I gave up writing for a long time.

So, did I always want to be a writer? Yes, but also no, because it didn't seem that ordinary people like me could really be a writer. Writers were my heroes. They took me to worlds so much more interesting than my own. It didn't occur to me till later that we can actually be our own heroes.

And now, what I also get is that what you need to do to be a "writer" is write. You don't need to meet anyone else's expectations. You don't need to write the next blockbuster. You don't need to write all the time. You just need to write.

What was your favorite book when you were a kid?

I loved books about fantastic things happening to ordinary kids. Edward Eager's books like Half Magic, Knight's Castle and The Time Garden were huge favorites. I so badly wanted to—snap!—just like that, be transported to a strange (but safe) world. I also really loved Nancy Drew books. Nancy and her friends had the coolest adventures! Where I grew up there was an old abandoned house and my friends and I used to make up our own Nancy Drew mysteries, which we would act out in that eerie (and probably incredibly unsafe) house. I also loved biographies about ordinary people doing cool things, or people with handicaps rising above all the stuff that made their lives hard. I guess, in a way, these kinds of books made me believe that anything is possible. They gave me hope that I could be more than ordinary.

Where do you get your ideas?

What if? That is my favorite question. When I look at everyday things and situations I wonder about them. What if the world behaved contrary to my expectations? What if a boy had magical buttons? What if an otter was jealous of his friend's pets? What if Mother Goose's goose got sick? When I walk in the woods, when I take a shower, when I'm driving in my car. Whenever I'm alone, I am wondering, what if?

Do you write every day?

I write every day, whether or not I actually put words on paper. Most days I do type things into my computer. Some days I only have the time to scribble things into my journal. And on days when I do not have time to write words down, I think about them.

 

Dr. Seuss

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