Monday, July 2, 2012

what's it about--the story or the writer?

Margaret Wise Brown loved reading as a child and remembered all the stories she read but none of the authors. 


"It didn't seem important that anyone wrote them. And it still does seem important. I wish I didn't have ever to sign my long name on the cover of a book and I wish I could write a story that would seem absolutely true to the child who hears it and to myself."

It's as if the story is timeless. It just is. You as the writer were lucky enough to find it. You were available and it came through you. You were that person on whom nothing was lost. But it's all about the story and not about you, the writer. The writer is simply the servant to the story. If it at any point the story becomes the servant of the writer--if it becomes about you then you can be certain of one thing: you're in the way--and the story can't get through. And it won't be as good.

In the end the job of the writer is to be available, then get out of the way and let it go.

Margaret Wise Brown's two classics THE RUNAWAY BUNNY (1942) and GOODNIGHT MOON (1947) (both illustrated by Clement Hurd) are not only still in print--they are still bestsellers.
She led an adventurous life: dating the prince of spain, hosting parties in her Upper East Side apartment, generally being a stunning New York Socialite. 

 Here's what The Writers' Almanac wrote:

"Brown never had children herself, but she worked with young children as a teacher in a progressive education program at the Bank Street Experimental School. She was also a New York socialite — tall and strong, with blond hair and bright green eyes. She dated the prince of Spain and loved to host parties in her Upper East Side apartment. She spent her first royalty check buying an entire cart's worth of flowers, and often took the proceeds from a book and purchased a ticket to France or a new car.

"She died suddenly at the age of 42, energetic and adventurous up to the end. She was on a book tour in Europe when she was stricken with appendicitis and had an emergency appendectomy. She seemed to be recovering well, and she decided to show her doctor how good she felt — so she kicked up her leg in the can-can. It caused an embolism, and she died immediately."

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back to my site?
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