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Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Creating breathing opportunities


“Reviewers have called my books 'novels in verse.' I think of them as written in prose, but I do use stanzas. Stanza means 'room' in Latin, and I wanted there to be 'room' - breathing opportunities to receive thoughts and have time to come out of them before starting again at the left margin” – Virginia Euwer Wolff

Not to be confused with British author Virginia Woolf, Euwer Wolff, born this day in 1937, is an American author of children's literature.   Her award-winning series Make Lemonade features a 14-year-old girl named LaVaughn, who babysits for the children of a 17-year-old single mother.  True Believer, the second in the three-book series (they’re not really a trilogy), won the 2001 National Book Award for Young People's Literature.   And, in 2011, she was the recipient of the NSK Neustadt Prize for Children's Literature.

Wolff said she uses her own teenage years as the foundation for her writing.  “The teenage years are the years to examine faith - the need to be independent and the need to be anchored,” she said. “It’s a time to ask, ‘Who made all this? And what do I have to do with it?’”

 Virginia Euwer Wolff 

I have enjoyed learning that she does her creative writing a lot like I do – slowly.  No one writes as slowly as I do, I'm convinced,” she said.  “It's so hard for me. I learn slowly; I make decisions at a snail's pace.”  We definitely need to sit down and have a conversation because I often feel the same way. And, as for her writing routine, that too sounds a lot like my own.

“I work early in the morning,” she noted, “before my nasty critic gets up - he rises about noon. By then, I've put in much of a day's work.”  Definitely a kindred spirit.  Write on!



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