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Wednesday, August 25, 2021

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

Euwer Wolff, born in Oregon on this date in 1937, is the author of the award-winning series Make Lemonade, featuring 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 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, who grew up on an apple and pear orchard while living in a log house with no electricity, 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?’”


  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.”  And, as for her writing routine:

“I work early in the morning before my nasty critic gets up - he rises about noon.  By then, I've put in much of a day's work.”  


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