Now that it's October, everybody wants to know: "What's your costume? Who are you going to be?"
But when I was a kid, I loved wearing costumes all year long. My older cousins sent us a big box of their frilly prom dresses. When I got too old to be the Sun Princess or the Lady of the Moon, I started being in plays. That totally expanded my range. Then I could be a man, a teacher, an old woman or even, as you see in this picture, Mole from The Wind in the Willows. I'm the one on the left. My friend, Wendy Lueker, is Rat. I was very jealous because she got to have a tail!
I loved acting because I was always glad to escape myself. I thought my own life was rather dull. So I did what I could to make it more exciting. I amplified my emotions. I sought conflict. I spent a lot of time pretending to be other people.
In other words, I was getting ready to be a writer.
We put on costumes. We explore what it means to be other people. And when we do that well, we enable our readers to inhabit people too. That's how empathy begins.
Why, just today, as I sat at my desk, I got to be a witch, an evil racist, a bully, a little sister, a mom, an inventor and a boy who loves outer space.
It was so much fun -- especially being the witch.
For the record, she isn't really a witch. People think she is because she lives all by herself in a house at the edge of a woods and she spends all day making creatures.
So......who are you going to be?