Aspen welcomes Blume

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By Kirsten Laskey

Judy Blume’s “Fudge” series are not entirely fictional, the author revealed during a presentation to fourth through sixth grade students at Aspen Elementary School Friday afternoon.
The first story was actually based on a newspaper article, which told about a little boy who had swallowed a turtle.
Furthermore, her series of “The Great One and the Pain,” were also inspired by real-life events. When Blume’s children were little, she said her daughter would tell her younger brother that she was “The Great One” and he was “The Pain.”
Blume, who is in town to work on the film based on her book, “Tiger Eyes,” dropped by the elementary school to answer children’s questions about her life, her books and writing.
Blume said as a child, she always had stories in her head but because she thought that was weird, she kept those stories to herself.
“I always had stories,” she said. “I had that need to be involved in something creative.”
It seems as Blume grew older, her attitude toward her storyteller capabilities changed.
She described writing as magic. “It’s like magic … it’s letting yourself go to this other place deep inside you.”
Not only does writing allow her to uncover another side of herself, Blume said, but she becomes immersed in the stories. If she writes something, she will laugh or if something sad happens, Blume said she will cry.
“You get to act out all the characters … it’s like your own little movie inside your head,” she said.
This time, however, the movie will reach the big screen. Blume and her son started working on the “Tiger Eyes” screenplay in the summer of 2009 and continue to work on it now.
The novel, which focuses on a young girl whose father dies from a gunshot wound, is set in Los Alamos and so is the movie.
Blume herself lived in Los Alamos. The last time she was here, she said, was in 1978.
While there were some difficult times in Los Alamos for Blume, she said at that time she was in a tough marriage, there were some good times, too.
For instance, Blume said she rented out an office space above a doughnut shop to work. This turned out to be a bad idea because the smell of the doughnuts made her eat the sweet treats all the time until she finally had to move her office back home.
Blume said she was excited to return to Los Alamos.
She was also happy to share some advice on writing with the kids. Blume advised any aspiring authors in the audience to just “let go;” don’t worry about anything; there is plenty of time to worry about spelling and grammar.
She also said to start a story on the day something different happens; however, there is not just one way to write. It is whatever works for you.
At the conclusion of the presentation, Blume pulled out five books, which she said she would sign and give one to each elementary school.