'Dear Mr. Henshaw' came about because..
'Dear Mr. Henshaw' came about because two different boys from different parts of the country asked me to write a book about a boy whose parents were divorced, and so I wrote 'Dear Mr. Henshaw,' and it won the Newbery, and I was - it's been very popular.
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The accidents of my life have given me the ability to make stories in which different parts of the world are brought together, sometimes harmoniously, sometimes in conflict, and sometimes both - usually both. The difficulty in these stories is that if you write about everywhere you can end up writing about nowhere.
My parents were early converts to Christianity in my part of Nigeria. They were not just converts; my father was an evangelist, a religious teacher. He and my mother traveled for thirty-five years to different parts of Igboland, spreading the gospel.
A news organization has a much different responsibility. I might not be telling you the whole story. I might not be telling you a story in a manner that is properly sophisticated.
I did not have a happy family life a few years ago. I was divorced, and I was very alienated from my daughter, and I was out there cutting every ribbon and running around New York hosting events for different causes to supplant my loss because I didn't have a family to go home to. Now I don't want to be Mr. Show Business anymore.
The main reason why men and women make different aesthetic judgments is the fact that the latter, generally incapable of abstraction, only admire what meets their complete approval.
'Jekyll and Hyde' I read in high school. I was expecting a Hollywood-type horror story and couldn't believe it when I got this very complex narrative from all these different points of view.
One of the nice things about books as opposed to television and movies to some extent is it's not a passive entertainment. People really do get involved, and they do create, and they do have their own visions of what different characters look like and what should happen. It's great - it means their brains are working.
America owes most of its social prejudices to the exaggerated religious opinions of the different sects which were so instrumental in establishing the colonies.
Kids don't read as much as you'd like them to, just in terms of seeing the world from different perspectives. I mean, that's the great thing about books, still. Here's television, here are the movies, and it's pretty limited in terms of the perspectives.
Without going outside his race, and even among the better classes with their 'white' culture and conscious American manners, but still Negro enough to be different, there is sufficient matter to furnish a black artist with a lifetime of creative work.
Man is alone everywhere. But the solitude of the Mexican, under the great stone night of the high plateau that is still inhabited by insatiable gods, is very different from that of the North American, who wanders in an abstract world of machines, fellow citizens and moral precepts.
In an amusement park, you can go on a roller coaster that carries you up and down, or you can go on another kind of ride that whirls you around in a circle. Similarly, there are different sorts of entertaining experiences in the theater.
I don't ever know where I'm going. Because one of the wonderful things about writing, which is different than working in programming, you don't need to know. You could just write and discover where you're going. And it's a great deal of fun.
A lot of people... kind of make heroes that are separate from us, people who are, you know, like... John Wayne and Errol Flynn and, you know, Denzel Washington... people who are different, who are larger than life.
Maybe I should say that memory interests me a great deal, because I think we all tell stories of our lives to ourselves as well as to other people. Well, women do, anyway. Women do this a lot. And I think when men get older, they do this too, but maybe in slightly different terms.
People are more aware now of cities and of different ways of life. I suppose the writing I do is a bit in the past, and I'm not sure it's the kind of writing I would do if I were starting now.
I think, often, people who run away are people who got into things most enthusiastically, and then they want more. They just demand more of life than what is happening in the moment. Sometimes this is a great mistake, as it's always a good deal different than you expect it.
For a long time, I had the idea that I would do a certain amount of work the best I could, and then I would reach a comfort zone, and I wouldn't be pushed to write more. I would become a different person. It's a surprise to me that this hasn't happened. Your body ages, but your mind is the same.
It's not possible to advise a young writer because every young writer is so different. You might say, 'Read,' but a writer can read too much and be paralyzed. Or, 'Don't read, don't think, just write,' and the result could be a mountain of drivel.
Part of what confuses people in times of upheaval is that you're getting so many different points of view and directions and so and so, how to do this and do that. And a lot of it is written in a language that honestly most people cannot understand.
Part of our tradition as black women is that we are universalists. Black children, yellow children, red children, brown children, that is the black woman's normal, day-to-day relationship. In my family alone, we are about four different colors.