I grew up in an old house where I had a bedroom with a silver radiator and slanted ceiling. I loved the banister we slid down, the bookshelves my dad built into a “secret” staircase, and the shelf he put up in a closet for a television with goldenrod-colored National Geographics stacked below. Outside were creaky porches, a twisted crabapple tree, brambly roses, tumbling stone walls, and a sloping lawn often bright with dandelions and fragrant tiny purple flowers. Maple trees shaded me for summer reading of books set in the past with girls who were both daring and ordinary. Beyond were woods where my friends and I pretended we were almost anyone.
I didn’t leave the dreamy girl far behind when I chose English as my major in college. After I married and had a child to read to, we often chose books about girls and women who lived long ago. During the years when my daughter was growing up, I wrote about people who’ve not yet found their rightful places in history books, including female Arctic explorers, seventeenth century naturalists, paleontologists, and pilots. Now my daughter is grown and I teach Writing for Children at Simmons College and Children’s Literature at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst.
Views from a Window Seat: Thoughts on Writing and Life
This collection of inspirational essays for writers is the first book I’m publishing myself at Stone Door Press. Many of the pieces were shaped from my blog, Views from a Window Seat, where I write about challenges I find at my computer when trying to give old stories new shapes. Now available at Amazon.com.