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books by Laura Amy Schlitz


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Laura Amy Schlitz

As a child, I was very lucky. My parents gave me plenty of time to play and dream. Often, I pretended to be someone else; a ballerina, a horse, a mermaid, a spy. My brother and I ruled over a kingdom of stuffed animals - I was 'The Great Laurie', and the national anthem was the 'Grand March' from Aida. I adored fairies and fairy tales. I gathered bread crusts and hid them under the dining-room table - people in fairy tales were often described as "not having a crust to eat", and I was determined to save my family from this fate. I taught myself to sleep in the flying-leap pose, favored by Peter Pan on the cover of my fairy tale book. If Peter dropped by when I was asleep, he would know, from my body position, that I was willing to join him in Neverland (he has yet to turn up, but I still sleep in that position, though I wake with a stiff back).

I have made my living as a librarian (I took off a couple of years off, to tour with a children's theatre - it was a gloriously free, and disorganized life, but eventually, I had no money at all). I love the theatre, and wrote my first stage play for a friend, who needed a last-minute script for Beauty and the Beast. It turned out better than anyone expected, and I became a playwright - my plays have been produced in professional theatres all over the country. I love to make things; bread, marionettes, quilts, watercolors, origami animals. My hands get restless if I can't make things. For the past thirteen years, I've worked as a school librarian, and I am so grateful that I work with children - they make me laugh, and their energy reminds me to enjoy life.

As a writer, I do a lot of complaining. People often ask why I write, when I hate it so much. I answer, that I write because I am under a curse. I keep meaning to give up writing, but I haven't got around to it yet. I dread sitting down to write, and I have to resort to tricks to get myself to the paper. "One half hour, or one page," I promise myself, "then you can get up and do something you like." I go to the bathroom, take the telephone off the hook, fill my fountain pen, get myself a glass of water, and sit down. Once I sit, my rear end has to stay in place until I've written. I often say that I write with my rear end - it's the ballast that holds me steady while I fight for words.

 
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