One of my all-time favorite books is Up North at the Cabin. There is something quintessential about the cabin experience for many people who live in the Upper Midwest. This book, by our Skinny Dippin’ author Marsha Wilson Chall, has engaged readers and listeners for 27 years! Marsha has created many picture books that showcase her storytelling talents, including Bonaparte, One Pup’s Up, and The Secret Life of Figgy Mustardo. We invited Marsha to share her thoughts with us.
One green thing I wish everyone would do: Use less plastic! This includes but is not limited to plastic bags, plastic straws, plastic bottles, plastic containers, and plastic surgery (the vanity kind).
The best way to stay fit: Walking two dogs, especially when one of them walks you!
I never thought I would: Appear on a TV game show. That’s right, Family Feud in 1982. I presented host Richard Dawson with a pair of thermal boxer shorts, constructed by cousin Debbie. Did I mention that we lost?
My mom was right about: Life. “Everything will work out one way or another.” I’ve lived long enough to realize her philosophy does in fact cover every possible outcome.
If I could say one thing to my twenty-years-younger self, it would be: “Never get married again.” Only personal advice, mind you, dear reader. I think I have finally learned to consider that things may not work out precisely the way I imagine (see preceding Q & A).
I’m currently reading: E.B. White on Dogs edited by his granddaughter, Martha White. To quote White’s dog, Fred, “I regret nothing.” And I can be quoted to say, “I only regret not living with and loving more dogs.”
No one knows that I: Wrote a picture book that was read as part of a stranger’s eulogy and was buried with him. That book was Up North at the Cabin.
I tell myself every day: Show up. For my writing, for my family and friends (humans included), for my students. And always for dinner.
The bravest thing I’ve ever done: Caring for my father in his final weeks. I didn’t know if either of us could do it, but we gave our very best. Rest in peace, Bob.
Guiltiest pleasure: Watching one daytime soap opera because it revs up my plotting muscles and suppresses the inner critic. Why not go out on that limb?
The scariest book I’ve ever read: Pet Sematary by Stephen King. I will never forget the visceral reaction I had to the semi barreling toward the protagonist’s tiny son. Aaaaaah!!! No spoiler here.
What I do when I want to feel joy: Read to my grandkids.