Because his father, Alexander Stirling Calder, received public commissions, the family traversed the country throughout Calder's childhood. Calder was encouraged to create, and from the age of eight he always had his own workshop wherever the family lived. For Christmas inCalder presented his parents with two of his first sculptures, a tiny dog and duck cut from a brass sheet and bent into formation. The duck is kinetic—it rocks back and forth when tapped.
I think I must have thought that books were born on the library shelves. But I was good at writing stories, and I had a good deal of practice. My primary school teacher came in every Monday morning in a rather grumpy mood.
He'd look at the work calendar on the wall, which told us that we should be doing maths, and put his head in his hands.
Then, "Why don't you write me an essay? He'd write a few titles on the board - things like, A Day in the Life of a Lost Coin, or Adventure at the Seaside - anything like that.
I loved those double lessons more than anything in the world except for reading. No sharing of ideas. No realising that someone else had also had your brilliant idea. I covered pages and pages, writing fast, hiding my work from the girl beside me. And I learned to judge the length and arch of a story.
It was the best training I could ever have had, though I still didn't know I'd be a writer. At school, I enjoyed languages most, and studied French and Spanish, along with History, for A levels. That meant there was no room for English, and so for my whole life I have been able simply to read what I want when I want, and only for pleasure or interest.
I suspect that this has been really important for the way I write, making it so much easier to think always of the reader. I studied Politics and History at University, and the interest in political issues shows up in many of the books.
And after that, if you're not the sort to get nightmares you could try The Road of Bones. I taught in a girls' secondary school for a year — exhausting! I was only in this job for two years, but still it changed my attitudes to money, to 'things', and to what is truly important in life, for ever.
In my first daughter Ione was born. Unable to get to the library in a snowstorm to change my library books, in desperation I sat down and started to write a novel. Clearly this was the right job for me, for I have never stopped writing for more than a few weeks since.
Six years later I came back to the flat we'd left in Edinburgh, and a few years after that moved to County Durham, where I now live with my partner Richard, who is an orchid specialist, and our huge hairy Bernese Mountain dog.
The list of books for both children and adults has grown longer and longer over the years. Whether writing for children or adults, I work in the same way - always in absolute silence, mostly on computer now, but often with pencil and paper and tea!
I still hide my work if anyone walks past, and wouldn't dream of talking about what I'm writing or letting a soul look at it until it's almost completely finished. Oh - and even after all these years I still prefer reading other people's books to writing my own!
A lot of my work, even for fairly young readers, raises quite serious social issues. Try Bill's New Frock or The chicken gave it to me.When T. S.
Eliot died, wrote Robert Giroux, "the world became a lesser place." Certainly the most imposing poet of his time, Eliot was revered by Igor Stravinsky "not only as a great sorcerer of words but as the very key keeper of the language.".
The Online Writing Lab (OWL) at Purdue University houses writing resources and instructional material, and we provide these as a free service of the Writing Lab at Purdue. Family Origins. Walt Whitman, arguably America's most influential and innovative poet, was born into a working class family in West Hills on Long Island, on May 31, , just thirty years after George Washington was inaugurated as the first president of the newly formed United States.
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