aprilhenry (aprilhenry) wrote,
aprilhenry
aprilhenry

Gary Paulsen says writing for adults is "artistically fruitless"

Gary Paulsen says writing for adults is "artistically fruitless." An interesting article in the August New York Times (now only available from the NYT for cash, but replicated here ) says … Mr. Paulsen stopped writing for adults 10 years ago. "It's artistically fruitless," he fumes. "Adults are locked into car payments and divorces and work. They haven't got time to think fresh. Name the book that made the biggest impression on you. I bet you read it before you hit puberty. In the time I’ve got left, I intend to write artistic books - for kids - because they’re still open to new ideas."

I think he has a point. I also think that we are at least encouraging teens to read and expecting them to read. No one expects adults to read. About the most they are expected to do is to keep up with American Idol and celebrity gossip.

The article also says … He grew up poor and lonely in the small town of Thief River Falls, Minn. "My folks were the town drunks," he says. "We lived in this grubby apartment building. My parents were brutal to each other, so I slept in the basement by an old coal-fired furnace." He pretended to sell newspapers in pubs, raking the drunks' money off the bar into his pockets when they were good and juiced. "I became a street kid," he says. “Occasionally I’d live with aunts or uncles, then I’d run away to live in the woods, trapping and hunting game to survive. The wilderness pulled at me; still does."

He said he was 13 when he stepped into a library for the first time. It was a frigid winter night. The library stayed open until 9 p.m., and its gold-tinted windows looked invitingly warm.

"The librarian typed my name on a card," he remembers. "I looked at it and somehow that made me somebody."

It's a fascinating article and makes it easy to connect the dots between Gary Paulsen and the books he writes.



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