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Students on the Life of the Writer
Betsy Larsen's letter to Robert Cormier
In this short, well-written, typed letter dated January 3, 1996, Betsy Larsen, a high school senior from Ottawa, Kansas, shares her enthusiasm for Tunes for Bears to Dance To with Robert Cormier. She expresses that she enjoyed its depth, brevity, and fast pace. She asked how he came up with his ideas for writing and thanked him for taking the time to read her letter.
Robert Cormier's reply to Betsy Larsen
Robert Cormier's letter to Betsey Larsen, answered only three weeks after her letter was written, thanks her for writing. In it, he explains one detail she picked up on -- the fallen hammer -- in Tunes for Bears to Dance To. He gives her a glimpse into his writing life, sharing that he started writing poems when he was 12.
Brooke Hausman and Carly Meltzer's letter to Robert Cormier
Two seventh grade girls wrote to Robert Cormier expressing admiration for his work, and some of their early confusion in reading his works, In the Middle of the Night and We All Fall Down, especially his use of non-chronological narrative structure. They also ask questions that attempt to connect their observations of his writing with his personal life.
Robert Cormier's response to Brooke Hausman and Carly Meltzer
In this one-page typed letter dated April 14, 1998, from Robert Cormier to Brooke Hausman and Carly Meltzer, he shares his writing technique of "gradual release," that it takes him 1.5 to 2 years to write a book, and that emotions are the engine for him. He advises that would-be writers must "read, read, read" and write daily because "practice makes perfect." He says that he thinks he has received a lot of correspondence from students at their school, but "evidently" had misplaced it. He asked the girls to convey his best to classmates and that he would reply when the letters turn up.
Jared Turgeon's letter to Robert Cormier
In this one-page word-processed letter by Jared Turgeon to Robert Cormier dated 18 October 2000, he asks Cormier about his use of "symbol titles." He references specifically Tunes for Bears to Dance To. Then, he shares that he did something similar when writing fiction based on a tough experience he had had in sixth grade. It's not clear what grade Jared is in, though he does mention his classmates.
From the "archives" of the Internet, The Center for the Study of Reading at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign published a 1983 report "Author's Intentions and Readers' Interpretations."
Equating the life of the author and the work of the author is a troubling process that takes an interesting turn in Tim Lott's article "The loneliness of the working class author" in The Guardian. He ponders why working-class authors are "making it" if they deny their class roots and write about and pass for upper-class literati.