Skinny Dip with Marsha Wilson Chall

Marsha Wilson Chall
Mar­sha Wil­son Chall

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.

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