14 April 2009

Are you there Judy? It's us, Onions

Over at StudentPrintz.com, Tiffany Loyd reports on Judy Blume's latest award speech where she talks about falling in love with books (sigh), the book that inspired her to be brave (hooray!), the author-editor relationship (one of our favourite things), her unexpected call to activism (ra! ra!) and her dining room table (write on, lady).
Judy says:
'I totally identified with Madeline, even though she wasn't scared of anything and I was scared of everything. Madeline inspired me to be brave.'
Oh, Judy Blume. I actually remember where I was when I first read you. Does anyone else?

I was in Year Seven. It was the weekend and I had lugged my bag full of library books with me to the tennis courts (where my mother and father were both playing, singles, doubles, mixed doubles...). It was going to be another long afternoon so I curled up in a corner of the clubrooms and fished a book out of my bag. Are you there God? It's me, Margaret. I rolled my eyes. A God book? This will never work for me, thought I.

Wrong, wrong, wrong. The more I read, the more I curled away from the world, as if I were reading something illicit. Secrets. Judy Blume told me secrets. And I gobbled them up as fast as I could. I didn't totally identify with Margaret as Judy did with Madeline,* but I was quietly thrilled to be in on the secrets. And the secrets to be found in Forever, well... (blushes).

Here's to all the writers who inspire us to be brave and to the ones who show us things that are so new and exciting they feel like the most extraordinary secrets.

*And I was only occasionally distracted by the fact that it was a little old-fashioned and the author didn't seem to know how to spell Mum.

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