One of the greatest gifts I have ever received was a happy childhood. I tried on the world in joy—reading books, drawing—I loved drawing costumes from the encyclopedia. I spent endless hours telling stories with my dolls in the doll house my father made and my mother furnished, and I supplemented with my imagination—did you know a shiny gold lid makes a perfect table? Once a week I had a ballet lesson and a piano lesson. My first secret friend was the towering fir tree in our yard.
Not overly scheduled, I had lots of free time that I spent making things, pretending things. I believe I had a direct connection to the present moment.
When the teen years came, many things changed for me. It was as though I was wrenched from that happy childhood.
As a grownup, I now feel the direct connection to the present moment most strongly when I am outside, or when I am writing. (No wonder I love to write outside!) I have turned to middle grade fiction for three reasons: First, because I loved that time in my own life. Second, because I would love to live with that kind of presence. And third,
Because I would like to return the precious gift that was given to me. I would like to write books that connect kids to their own pure joy.
I wish you a Happy New Year.