Arts & Entertainment, Writing

Judy’s Childhood

Judy Blume

Lesson time 06:03 min

Judy was an anxious kid and used stories she invented as companions and a creative outlet. Hear her talk about the early beginnings of her rich imagination.

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Topics include: Two Judys • Stories as Company


What was I like as a child? Well, it's funny because I always ask writers when I meet them, what were you like as a child, because I'm so curious. I was very small. I was anxious, but I was also, I like to make people laugh. Tremendously curious and imaginative. And I think, that's the big thing. The imagination never stopped. The stories that were inside my head, I kept a secret because I was afraid if I told anyone, guess what I have inside my head, they would think I was crazy. So this was something that was just for me. I don't know what my mother thought because I could spend hours outside when I was eight years old, bouncing a pink Spalding rubber ball against the side of the brick house-- red brick house. And I would do it for two hours before dinner, and, of course, I wasn't just bouncing a ball. I was running the stories inside my head-- wonderful stories, mellow dramatic stories. And I loved them. And I was never lonely. I had friends, and I loved being with my friends, but this was my special time alone to be with my stories. So that's why I'm so curious about, what were other writers like as children. I was fearful. I was very fearful. A lot of the things that my mother was afraid of, I was afraid of, but for instance, there was a church a few blocks away and when we were in the car-- and I was very small, maybe three, maybe four-- I was terrified of the stained glass window. I called it, the lady with no face. And my mother-- it's really funny because she didn't judge me on this. She just said, it's coming, and I would duck down in the front. We didn't have seat belts or car seats then. I would go down on the floor and cover my face. And she would say, it's OK. We've passed. And she never questioned me about this. It was just, Judy is afraid of the lady with no face. Judy is afraid of dogs. Judy is afraid of thunder and lightning-- which I'm still phobic about. But all kinds of things. And surely, it was that imagination-- what was it about the lady with no face that was so frightening? So I was that kind of child-- fearful, anxious, but also, a performer. Kind of two Judys-- two sides of one little girl. [MUSIC PLAYING] When I took piano lessons-- and I loved taking piano lessons-- I made my practice sessions much more exciting for me by keeping a notebook. And I invented a group of students that I had. I gave them names. I gave them what I now know, are back stories, but I had no idea then I was like 10 or 11 years old. And so when I practiced, I practiced as not as Judy, but as one of my students. And some of them were terrible. And I had to write that down in the notebook and some of them were better. And again, they each had sessions. They continued. I kept that notebook with my students and continued to see them as their teacher for a long time. I never s...

About the Instructor

Judy Blume broke the rules. Her refreshingly honest children’s books were banned by hundreds of libraries and loved by generations of readers, who bought 85 million copies of classics like Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret and Superfudge. In her first online writing class, the award-winning author teaches you how to invent vivid characters, write realistic dialogue, and turn your experiences into stories people will treasure.

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Judy Blume

In 24 lessons, Judy Blume will show you how to develop vibrant characters and hook your readers.

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