Saturday, February 20, 2010

When You Reach Me in A Wrinkle in Time

I was just reading a little about this year's Newbery Medal Winner, When You Reach Me, by Rebecca Stead. I haven't read the book, but it sounds interesting and I would like to read it. I've been reading a lot of 'kids' books in the past few years and doing some writing as well. It all started when I re-read A Wrinkle in Time, by Madeline L'Engle. It reminded me how much fun these books were, and I just began to allow my imagination to roam. I didn't always have to be reading these scientific journals or 'serious' books. Anyway, it turns out that Rebecca Stead also loves A Wrinkle in Time and talks about it a lot in this book as well.

This is part of an interview with her. I was completely like this when I was a kid too... actually I still ask these questions:

Rebecca Stead: I thought about time a lot when I was a kid. Not in a mystical way--it was just the passing of time, the idea of time stretching out forever, that interested me. I used to wonder, "What will my room look like on my thirtieth birthday? What will be the first words I say in the year 2000? When I’m forty, will I remember the ‘me’ I am now? Will I remember this moment?" I guess part of it was thinking about how we leave ourselves behind in a way, which I think we do, throughout our lives.

I was also really interested in what is "knowable." There’s a certain number of people alive on this planet right now, and it’s a simple number that anyone could write down or say aloud, and so in some sense that number exists as a truth, yet we can’t know it. That’s the kind of thing I thought about when I was Miranda’s age.

Also, this is from her website under 'about'. I really like what she says, so I'm copying it here:

It was at school that I began writing. Sometimes I invented stories, and other times I just wrote down things I overheard – jokes, or snatches of conversation.

Much, much later, I became a lawyer (I believed that being a writer was impractical), got married, and started working as a public defender. But I still wrote Very Serious Stories when I could find the time.

My first child, a fabulous son, was born. A few years later, I had another fabulous son. There wasn’t much time for writing stories after that. But I still tried.

One day, my then-four-year-old son, though fabulous, accidentally pushed my laptop off the dining-room table, and the Very Serious Stories were gone. Poof.

So. It was time to write something new. Something joyful (to cheer me up: I was pretty grouchy about the lost stories). I went to a bookstore and bought an armload of books that I remembered loving as a kid. I read them. I went back to the store and bought more books. I read them. And then I began to write, and I began to love writing. That’s when I became a writer.

Some people will tell you that real writers don’t use parentheticals (which is nonsense). The most important thing to know about writing is that there are no rules.

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