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The Making of a Writer

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The Making of a Writer

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Many of Joan Lowery Nixon's readers have written to her to ask how they, too, can become published writers someday. This memoir, including anecdotes and advice, is her answer to them. From her first...
Many of Joan Lowery Nixon's readers have written to her to ask how they, too, can become published writers someday. This memoir, including anecdotes and advice, is her answer to them. From her first...
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  • Available:
    1
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    1
Levels-
  • ATOS:
  • Lexile:
    1000
  • Interest Level:
  • Reading Level:
    5 - 7


 
Description-
  • Many of Joan Lowery Nixon's readers have written to her to ask how they, too, can become published writers someday. This memoir, including anecdotes and advice, is her answer to them. From her first publication at age ten--a poem entitled "Springtime" in a children's magazine--to her graduation from Hollywood High during World War II, Joan Lowery Nixon shares the events from her childhood that helped her to grow and develop as a writer.

    Joan Lowery Nixon took to heart and never forgot what her ninth-grade journalism teacher told her, "A writer must always have faith in herself. If you don't believe in yourself, no one else will." Both informative and entertaining, The Making of a Writer is a charming look at one writer's beginnings.

Excerpts-
  • Chapter One

    When I was young I filled notebooks with my writing. Sometimes I jotted down special thoughts, bits of description, verses, and short stories.

    The number of greeting cards I designed, with personalized verses inside, would have shaken the marketing department heads of Hallmark. Every member of my family received my illustrated poems on holidays, birthdays, other special occasions, and sometimes just-for-fun days. It made my relatives and friends feel special, and I suppose it also saved me money at the greeting card store.

    When I was ten, I mailed one of my poems to a children's magazine to which I subscribed. I can't remember the name of the magazine, but it had a page devoted to children's writing and art.

    My poem was titled "Springtime," and I remember that one line was "and children play outdoors because they're glad it's spring." There must have been some literary license involved because in Los Angeles children played outdoors all year round.

    In April 1938, just two months after my eleventh birthday, I opened the just-arrived issue of the magazine. There on the children's page was my printed poem, with the byline Joan Lowery, age 10.

    My name! My byline! In a magazine that people all over the United States would read!

    I can still visualize my name in print under the words I had written. This was what it was like to be a published writer. In print! With a byline! Delirious with success, I knew I was on my way.

    Chapter Two

    When I was a baby, my parents and my mother's parents, Mathias (Matt) and Harriet (Hattie) Meyer, whom we called Nanny and Pa, bought a white stucco duplex on the corner of 73rd Street and Gramercy in Los Angeles. They added a large, square room that connected the two sides of the house through my parents' and grandparents' dining rooms. Since my mother had been a kindergarten teacher, the room was outfitted like her former classroom with an upright piano, sturdy work table and chairs, easels and poster paints, a school-sized blackboard, a ceramic pot that held damp clay, a dollhouse, and a roomy space for toys. Everyone called it the playroom.

    My parents' side of the house was arranged in a square, and my grandparents' side of the house was shaped like an upside-down L. After my sister Pat was born, when I was five, she and my other younger sister, Marilyn, shared the second bedroom in our parents' side of the house. My bedroom was on my grandparents' side of the house, at the far end of the upside-down L.

    The two sides of the house were quite different, although both had chairs and sofas upholstered in the stiff, prickly plush fabric that was in fashion then. I can't remember what color they were because they were all covered in homemade slipcovers of printed fabric that didn't match but had been purchased at a "good bargain." The object was to protect the furniture underneath. The slipcovers were removed only for special guests and parties at which there would be no children.

    I can see now that the slipcovers cut out a lot of the stress to which children are subjected. With the furniture well protected, no one cared if we climbed onto the sofa with our shoes on to color the designs in our coloring books, or sat there munching on saltine crackers.

    The gas stove in my mother's kitchen was fairly new. It looked like a table on white enameled iron legs with the oven on top, next to the four burners. Nanny had an old, heavy iron stove whose oven was like a dark cavern underneath the burners. Mother had an electric refrigerator, but Nanny had a wooden icebox out on the service porch.

    Two times a week the iceman arrived in his truck, picked up a huge block of ice with...

About the Author-
  • Joan Lowery Nixon is the author of over 130 books for young readers and has been called "the grande dame of young adult mysteries."

Title Information+
  • Publisher
    Random House Children's Books
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  • Copyright Protection (DRM) required by the Publisher may be applied to this title to limit or prohibit printing or copying. File sharing or redistribution is prohibited. Your rights to access this material expire at the end of the lending period. Please see Important Notice about Copyrighted Materials for terms applicable to this content.

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