“Joe understands that a good story, as the old people taught us, must both educate and entertain, teaching a lasting lesson through the magic of its telling.”                                                                                                                                                            -Joseph Bruchac

 

How did you think of these stories?

 

Most of the stories I tell and write come from old tales people have told for a long time—sometimes hundreds, even thousands of years. I learn about an old tale that I think is interesting and make up a way to tell it to kids. Sometimes I add my own ideas, sometimes I change things around, and sometimes I put in thing I heard about in a different story.

 

Why do you like to tell stories?

 

When I tell a story, I experience the story too. Each story has some episodes or images that I especially enjoy when I’m telling it. And then, too, I enjoy seeing listeners’ reactions to the stories. I lie the way telling a story makes pictures in people's minds. And everyone sees a little different picture.

 

What is your favorite story?

 

I don’t really have a favorite one. When kids tell me they enjoyed a certain story, I think,  That's my favorite! But then other kids will say they enjoy a different one, and then I think,

That’s my favorite. It’s all about sharing something other people enjoy.

 

Do you ever see coyotes?

 

Yes, I see them a lot. Last summer I could hear them howling almost every night. They’re getting braver and even come into town these days. My friend was jogging with her little dog a few weeks ago, and four coyotes ran out of the bushes and attacked the dog. I guess they wanted to make a supper of him. But her bigger dog was there too and ran to the rescue of the little one and chased the coyotes away.

Another friend has a big dog, and when she goes for a hike, the dog chases coyotes. Then when the dog turns to run back to her, the coyotes chase the dog. They actually play together that way.

 

 

Do you have any cats or dogs?

 

I have a little one named Benny. When he was young, he'd curl up and look like a baby deer, so we thought of calling him venado because that's Spanish for deer, but we decided on Benito. Then we shortened it to Benny.

What inspired you to start writing books?

 

First, I told stories. My dad used to tell me stories when I was a kid, so I started telling stories to my own kids. I found out it was really fun, so I started looking for other kids to tell stories. Then I decided to see if I could make a living by going around and telling stories in schools, libraries, museums, colleges. After I had been doing that for a few years, people started telling me I should write the stories and publish them. I thought that would be a good way to share stories with kids I never got to meet, so I began to write the stories. The first book was The Day It Snowed Tortillas.

 

What’s it like, being an author?

 

I guess it’s pretty much like being anything else. An author is just a person who has something they want to share with other people, so they write it down and try to get it published.

 

Of course, you try to do a good job, and hope people will be satisfied with what you do. Many authors write every day. I don’t. In fact, I often start out by telling a story. And then, after I’ve told it many times I write it down. That makes it easier. I know what I want to say. But, of course, I still have to revise it. I revise it every time I read it. Sometimes even after it’s been published I want to revise it. The publisher doesn’t like that, because it costs them money to make a change in the book. Sometimes I find an error in the book—like a misspelled word. Then the publisher has to correct it when they print more copies.

 

¿Le gusta escribir? ¿Por qué?

 

Me gusta haber escrito. Es decir, me gusta terminar un cuento o un libro para que ya pueda salir publicado. Para mí, escribir es trabajo, y como cualquier otro trabajo se requiere esfuerzo.

 

¿Tiene algún lugar preferido para escribir?

 

Si escribo en casa, siempre lo hago sentado a la mesa del comedor, no en mi oficina. Cuando estoy de viaje (viajo mucho para visitar escuelas y contar cuentos) me gusta escribir en el avión.

 

¿Qué o quién le inspira a escribir?

 

Mi única inspiración es el deseo de compartir algo con otras personas, sobre todo con niños, algo que les vaya a gustar, que les haga sonreír o que contribuya algo a sus vidas.

 

¿Qué piensa cuando se publican sus obras?

 

Cuando el primer libro fue aceptado por una editorial (fue en 1982), pensé que iba a sentirme diferente—más valioso, más completo, más importante. Pero despué del lanzamiento del

libro seguía sintiéndome igual. Ahora cuando se publíca un libro pienso Qué bien. Ya tengo algo más que compartir. Ojalá caiga en gracia al público.

 

¿Cuál fue su motivación la primera vez que escribió?

 

Bueno, comencé contando los cuentos, sin pensar en escribirlos. Pero muchas personas

me decían: —Debes escribir y publicar los cuentos. Sería una manera de ofrecerlos a un público más ámplio.

Eso fue la motivación para escribir el primer libro de cuentos.

 

 

¿Qué es lo más dificil de ser escritor? ¿Por qué?

 

El gran reto del escritor es enfrentarse a las dudas, las dudas del valor de lo que escribe. Uno puede compararse con otros y juzgarse menos.

A la misma vez, uno tiene que enfrentarse a la tentación de juzgarse superior a otro ecritor.

Al fin y al cabo, uno tiene que escribir lo que pueda, de la manera que pueda, y echarlo al mundo para ser acogido y rechazado. a VECES cuesta mucho hacer esto con tranquilidad.

JOE ANSWERS SOME QUESTIONS FROM KIDS