Wednesday, March 20, 2013


At school visits kids always ask, "Who is your favorite author?" Or, "What is your favorite book?"

And my mind goes muddy and trash-filled as a bay when the tide is out. It's the introvert in me, I guess, who wants to mull over that answer before giving it... and after I've mulled -- usually on the drive home from whatever school I've visited-- I remember Gary Paulsen and how much I love his books. Well, his older books. I'm not really a fan of LAWN BOY and those other new ones. And that's okay, because plenty of kids are.

What I love about Paulsen's books like HATCHET and all the Brian books and anything he's ever written that includes a dog, is the wisdom I find there. I enjoy a big, wise voice, something that connects me to the world and the experience of life.

Which is why I want to share with you today an excerpt from his book THE ISLAND:

The anthill almost jumped off the paper into his brain. He could see it the way it happened, see the ants taking the stew, smell the rich formic-acid metal taste on his tongue that came when they bit him, feel the sun on his back again as he had while he squatted and watched them.

To paint, he thought. Just to paint like this and see these things and make them come alive on the paper! It was strange, so strange, but all there was in a way. To paint and write in the notebook and see and feel and learn and know – to know.

He put the brush in the stew can of water, swished it around to clean it and put it away. Then he took out the notebook and the pencil and wrote:
To paint.
                To write.
                                To know.
                                                To be.


By the way: Gary Paulsen is totally on my Ideal Dinner Party guest list. Would love to meet him and not even talk, really, just BE.

1 comment:

  1. I love him too, have used parts of his books through the years as mentor texts for the students. It's simple and clear, but passionate writing. My students could learn from it! This is nice, Irene!


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