Lillian Pluta

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From the Mixed Up Files of Middle Grade Authors


Once upon a time there was a little girl with dirty blonde braids who lived in a tiny brick house with a huge backyard where her daddy grew strawberries, onions, and something icky called Swiss chard. Her favorite possession was a pair of white rain boots, and her favorite days were the rainy ones when the red clay street turned into a sticky, oozy wonderland. She loved to dip her white booted toe into the puddle and watch the mud swirl and wiggle into patterns like a miniature Milky Way.

A school house stood on the other side of the muddy road. It was here the girl struggled with penmanship. Her mother made her copy passages from books onto long pads of yellow lined paper. This whole copying business didn't sit well with the girl, so she started making up her own stories. She was eager to learn each new capital letter and longed for the day she would learn to make a Z. Then she could write about Zillian, a beautiful girl, her alter ego, her imaginary twin.

I'm not sure what happened to Zillian, but the street and parking lot were paved, and the girl grew up into me. I don't have white rubber rain boots anymore, but I do love to dip my toes in puddles -- and I can write a pretty snazzy Z.


Me today

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