Winding Oak's Bookology Magazine

Skinny Dip with Marion Dane Bauer


Newbery HonorWhat is your proud­est career moment?

My proud­est career moment I sup­pose should be the day in 1986 when On My Hon­or won a New­bery Hon­or Award. But though that was the moment that changed my career more than any oth­er, it’s not my proud­est.

My proud­est was when I was just begin­ning writ­ing, had fin­ished my first nov­el and had no idea whether what I was doing had any val­ue at all. I had no one to read it to tell me. So I pre­sent­ed this first manuscript—it was Fos­ter Child—at a writer’s work­shop where the New­bery-Award-win­ning author Maia Woj­ciechows­ka read it. She made an announce­ment telling the entire con­fer­ence that “Mar­i­on Dane Bauer has writ­ten a nov­el called Fos­ter Child, and it’s good! It’s going to be pub­lished!”

That’s the moment when I knew for the first time that I could do this thing I want­ed so bad­ly to do, and I’ve nev­er been proud­er. From that moment on I’ve believed in myself and my work.

Describe your favorite pair of paja­mas ever

pinsThey were new­ly made, pink with cheer­ful kit­tens all over them, and they were coör­di­nat­ed with paja­mas made new for my iden­ti­cal-twin friends, Bet­ty and Bev­er­ly.  Their grand­moth­er had made the paja­mas for the three of us and fin­ished them just in time for an overnight togeth­er. The only problem—and this is what makes the paja­mas par­tic­u­lar­ly memorable—was that their grandmother’s sight was no longer very good, and she sim­ply sewed all the straight pins into the seams and left them there. We spent the whole night, all three of us in the same dou­ble bed, say­ing “Ouch!” every time we moved and pulling out more pins.

What’s the bravest thing you’ve ever done?

No ques­tion … hav­ing chil­dren was the bravest thing I’ve ever done and, as well, as being the thing I’m most grate­ful I did. I didn’t have chil­dren because I was con­scious­ly brave but because I had no way of know­ing what lay ahead, all the dif­fi­cul­ties, all the joys. When you have a child you con­nect your­self to anoth­er human being—a com­plete stranger—for the rest of your two lives. No divorce pos­si­ble. And that, if you stop to think about it, is real­ly scary! For­tu­nate­ly, few of us stop to think those thoughts before we bring a child into our lives.

What’s the first book you remem­ber read­ing?

I’ve for­got­ten the title and have no idea who the author was, but I can still see the fuzzy pink lamb on the pale blue cov­er. It was a sto­ry of a lamb with pet­table pink fuzz who got lost and couldn’t find his moth­er. Things got so bad that on one turn of the page light­ning cracked in the sky and rain fell and the pet­table pink fuzz went away entire­ly. All the col­ors went away, too. That whole spread was done in grays. I remem­ber touch­ing the smooth gray lamb again and again, want­i­ng to bring the pink fuzz back. Of course, anoth­er turn of the page brought every­thing back and the lamb’s fuzzy, pink glo­ry. The lamb’s moth­er came back, too. Such a sur­pris­ing and sat­is­fy­ing end­ing!

What TV show can’t you turn off?

I sel­dom watch TV, but I’ll admit to being in love with Down­ton Abbey. When an hour’s show ends, I always want more!

One Response to Skinny Dip with Marion Dane Bauer

  1. David LaRochelle May 18, 2015 at 12:14 pm #

    What a great “proud­est moment” Mar­i­on! And no won­der those paja­mas were so mem­o­rable. Ouch! If you haven’t done so yet, I hope you use that paja­ma idea in a sto­ry some­time!

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