Album 3: Early Writing and Teaching Years


This is my press card from Catalina High School in Tucson, Arizona. By high school, I wanted nothing more than to be a writer. I thought the best way to achieve this was to become a journalist. So I took journalism courses and began writing for the CHS newspaper. I wrote a humor column for the newspaper in my sophomore year, though it wasn't very funny. But it gave me experience in writing for deadline. By the time I graduated from high school, I wasn't sure I wanted to be a journalist anymore. I just wanted to write books.



I surprised myself (though not some of my high school teachers) and became a teacher. Here, in 1972, I was teaching classes of English and French to juniors and seniors in Michigan. My students easily noted that I had a "metal mouth" at the time to correct an overbite. They enjoyed ribbing me (of course). Part of my duties as a high school teacher was to direct the school play. Here I am in a very wide tie (and the next best thing to a leisure suit) directing students for a production of Cheaper by the Dozen.


After three years of teaching high school, I began work on my master's degree and started teaching reading and study skills to college students. Here I am at my first job at the now-defunct Detroit Institute of Technology.



In 1984 I got my first computer (an Apple IIe) and a daisy wheel printer and began to work on my first manuscripts. In graduate school at the University of Michigan, I had won a Hopwood Award for writing, but I wanted nothing more than to be a published author. In 1988 my first two books (How to Find a Ghost and Frog Eyes Loves Pig) were published.

I kept writing books and began to make school visits. From 1988 until now, I have published some twenty-five books. Of course, I wrote others that weren't published. That may come as a surprise, but every writer seems to have a drawer or two of unpublished work.