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Lynn Reiser is the author of many popular books for children. She is a Clinical Professor of Psychiatry at Yale University and practices psychiatry in New Haven, Connecticut. She lives in a house in a garden in a forest in a town on the planet Earth.In Her Own Words...
"I am a psychiatrist. Much of my time is spent practicing and teaching at Yale Medical School. In recent years I have also found pleasure in making books for children.
"My books start out as images and sketches and evolve as I draw them. Out of the art comes a dialogue, and from this the story emerges. Putting a picture book together is like playing a game—there are rules and surprises. The book must have a beginning, a middle, and an end, and fit into a set number of pages and a particular size.
"I draw wherever and whenever I have timewaiting in a train station, sitting by a stream, even on an airplane. Sometimes I begin sketches for a book years before I have a complete story or text. I draw the whole book in whatever order the images come, then I cut and paste the drawings until they fit. I listen forthe rhythm of the words and of the pictures-once I sense it, it becomes another guide and constraint. The finished book is always a surprise.
"I always knew I liked to draw. I did not know that I liked to write until after I began to do it. One of the first books I submitted to Susan Hirschman at Greenwillow Books was the wordless dummy for Bedtime Cat I asserted that the words were obvious. Susan said, "Then write them down." Through this process of "writing them down" I became a writer. Now I collect interesting words and phrases as well as sketches, and play with words as I play with images.
"I like to learn as much as I can about nature, the world, and people. Studying biology and medicine and psychology satisfies my curiosity about these subjects, and practicing psychiatry and teaching fulfill my wish to work with people and to help them. At first glance this sort of work may seem very different from the process of making picture books. But I feel that it is similar in that much of what I do as a physician is help others to express themselves, to discover their own stories, and to fit them together to make more sense of their lives. Words and dream images appear in my work every day. Metaphors and stories are part of communicating with students and patients.
"I have learned to trust that whatever comes to mind and hand is likely to be relevant and useful, no matter how silly it may seem at first.
"Making books is hard work, but it is a joy."
After repeated warnings from his friends at the edge of the sea, a little clam digs in with his strong foot and succeeds in escaping the dangerous predators who want to eat him.