Maybe I shouldn’t have drawn on the walls of the garage…or the mailbox for that matter. Maybe that’s why my father brought home extra paper from work (for some reason it was pink) so that I could put the pictures and words swimming about in my head onto something more appropriate.
Pencils, crayons, sidewalk chalk—you name it—were always within easy reach when I was a child, and I used them into nubs. My mother was a naturalist and taught me to observe, wonder, and ask questions. My father taught me to laugh and make up stories (he’d often trick us with outrageous articles he pretended to read from the newspaper). Since my brother’s blindness took sight out of the equation, he taught me to enjoy and describe tastes, smells, feelings, and especially sounds (he had a habit of slamming doors because it cracked him up).
A new easel—Best. Gift. Ever.
I was the only jellyfish at the costume party!
In school, I wrote stories and drew pictures that are now in a big box in my attic. At Trinity College in Hartford, Connecticut (where I met my husband—who shared my love of ice cream, movies, and the dot game), I majored in Creative Writing and Art History. I went on to become a children’s book editor, for a few years at Soundprints (Norwalk, Connecticut) and a few more years at Children’s Press (Danbury, Connecticut). Then I left office life to enjoy the sunlight and fresh air, and have two children.
Through all that, I was always writing. My first book was published in 1995, and I’ve been writing every day since then. (Okay maybe not every day, but days I don’t write I feel like I forgot something important, like brushing my teeth.)
I decided to become a student again, so I could grow even more as a writer and artist. In the summer of 2015, I graduated from the Vermont College of Fine Arts with a Master’s Degree in Writing for Children and Young Adults. Then I decided to become a teacher, and taught writing classes at the University of Hartford as an adjunct faculty member. Currently, I spend my days writing, creating, and leading workshops. When I’m not writing or teaching, I ride roller coasters, watch movies, play Catan, knit too many scarfs, hike with my husband, put together jigsaw puzzles, and collect Funko Pops.
I love days by myself in my home in Burlington, Connecticut, when my writing takes me somewhere else so that I forget the time or jump if someone comes into the room. I love days in the classroom sharing my enthusiasm for writing. I love days I spend at schools talking to kids and fostering creativity in our next generation of writers.
I don’t draw on the garage wall or mailbox anymore. And I have long ago run out of the pink paper. But I still use my pencils until they are nubs, and there is always an ample supply on hand.