Sunday, March 16, 2008

Maybe Some Day I'll Try to Write a REAL Book

Today's Washington Post Book World has a terrific piece by Lois Lowry, "The Writing Life: In Which a Chronic Liar Grows Up to Be a Celebrated Children's Author." Lowery's article on her childhood proclivity for creating "fiction" is funny and enlightening, a celebration of storytelling in its purist form.

The accompanying sidebar, "Lois Lowery: Making It New," written by Maria Arana, details Lowery's biography and her prolific writing career as evidenced by her 30 published books, including two Newbery winners.

A full page in the Post Book World devoted to a children's writer! Heaven on newsprint for someone like me.

Er, until the second-to-last paragraph of the sidebar, in which Arana for some reason feels compelled to ask: "Has she ever contemplated writing a novel for grown-ups?"

Huh? Am I being sensitive or does that question discount this woman's vocation (and avocation) of writing for children? Why do some people, including perhaps this Washington Post Book World reporter, seem to think "real authors" must write for adults?

Bravo to Lois Lowery for her response to this bit of idiocy: "I'm doing something far more valuable, writing for someone who is wide open -- aged somewhere between 10 and 14. I'm preparing kids to enter the difficult world of contemporary times."

One wonders if Lowery had to bite her tongue to give that answer. She is a better woman than I.


Lauren said...

Hmm... giving the questioner the benefit of the doubt... maybe they just wanted to know if she ever thought about it?

I wish I had seen your post earlier when I had been home and could have read the article.

LindaBudz said...

Ah, Lauren, you're a better woman than I, too! (That's a very large club, BTW.)


Katia said...

Linda, it's been a while, and I'm glad to see you're still busy, and acknowledged - SCBWI Scotland, WOW :)

I guess I belong to the club of lesser women, because I had the same reaction as you, when I read the reporter's question. And yet, I can see how it could be a legitimate and innocent question.

As for the chronic lying, I had to smile. My almost 4 years old comes up with the tallest tales, these days, and even though I try to be cool about it, I'm sometimes a bit lost, too. Where does one draw the line between the need to explain that lies are not ok, and the need to let a child's imagination run free...? Mm, the bitter sweet dilemmas of parenting.

LindaBudz said...

Katia, That's a tough one, and I have no advice. I think I would just say, "that's a funny story," or "that's a silly story" or whatever ... to let her know you realize she is making things up, and that that's OK so long as she is not trying to be downright deceitful.

Katia said...

Yeah, you and I are twins. That's precisely what I tell her. But, of course, when the lie is really not ok - as in, it has consequences that are not acceptable - I have to add something about the fact that telling lies is not acceptable. So, walking a fine line. But that's what parenting is all about, anyway :)