In particular, what inspired my story The Letter: a photo from 1912, a hobby from the 1980’s, a box of old letters and cards, a two-week period of excited joy, and a mega dose of magical storytelling.
Earlier this year, I was cleaning out a closet where I had packed away a collection of dolls, a dollhouse, and miscellaneous repair parts. The living room transformed into a workroom, becoming a hub of activity, for cleaning, mending and repairing. For two weeks, chaos. Everything was unpacked, laid out, and catalogued. Feeling like a kid, I couldn’t wait to get home at night, and spend hours in my small heaven.
Back in the 1980’s I spent time making porcelain dolls and had given a Bye-Lo baby doll to my daughter. One day the doll fell out of her wagon and the head shattered. You can see the repair job in the image I’ve attached. I have a few antiques in my collection, including the old doll given to my by my Great-Aunt Mary. Along with her doll, she gave me the attached photo dated 1912. About the letters and cards, I was rereading messages sent to me over the years and feeling a deep level of appreciation. And the storytelling of Kate Dicamillo, so magical and engrossing, filled my mind with inspiration. With all the pieces in place, my story, The Letter, started to form on paper along with the illustration, and the rest is history: published August 21, 2011 in the Los Angeles Times Kids Reading Room.