I can’t sit still unless I’m wiggling or shaking one of my feet. It tends to drive people around me crazy.
I’ve been called for jury duty three times in the past seven years, and I have a suspicion it's related to the fact that I vote in every election.
Places I’ve lived: Fredericksburg, Virginia; Norwich, New York; Binghamton, New York; Ithaca, New York; Boston, Massachusetts; Durham, North Carolina; Adelaide, South Australia.
I’m not a big fan of the beach. Ocean, yes. Beach, not so much. Yes, I know it’s weird--everyone is supposed to LOVE the beach. What can I say?
I did not like The Catcher in the Rye. As a YA novelist, it’s almost a requirement to love that book. But I didn’t respond to it when I first read it, and I still don’t like it. I also did not like Lord of the Flies. I think high school English classes focus on too many dated books by old white guys.
Wish list: teleportation (no more long flights or car rides); personal masseuse; live six months of each year in Australia; a magic ‘everything’s free’ card at Lowe’s or Home Depot.
I was 34 years old the first time I went camping. Now I know I love camping.
I learned how to ride a motorcycle when I was eight years old.
I bake cakes from scratch. I'm not the best cook, though. I *may* or *may not* have added a cup of coffee grounds to a Mocha Chocolate Cake recipe calling for "one cup strong coffee, at room temperature."
High school prom fact: Trauma! I wore the same gown as another girl--same night, same dance. (I wasn’t actually that bothered by it. She looked cute.) ‘Twas a navy blue, knee-length, poufy ‘Gunne Sax by Jessica McClintock’ dress. I still have it. It’s hanging in my closet. Maybe I should have an 80s prom party so I can wear it again. I was not prom queen.
I raced BMX when I was a kid.
I LOVE dance: ballet, jazz, modern, hip-hop, tap ... and just plain old getting down. (illustrated by the photo above, ballerina, age 5.)It ain’t a party unless there’s dancing.
I’ve been skydiving. Loved it. Never want to do it again. Ever.
Along with being a writer, I wanted to be a detective when I was a kid.
I was born in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains; we moved when I was three weeks old.
I lived in the same house from preschool through high school graduation. My backyard, and the creek that bordered it, was magic ground.
I do not like green eggs and ham. I do not like them, Sam-I-Am.
In high school, during my teen angst years I worked at an arts program for elementary kids after-school and did lots of babysitting. Being with little kids, getting away from all the drama of teenagers, kept me grounded.
I loved college. Loved. College. (Binghamton University--it will always be SUNY-B to me.)
I exercise at least an hour every day, and I think everyone else should, too.
In my twenties, I worked at a cool place called The Learning Web, hooking teenagers up with apprenticeships and community service projects.
Favorite food: any recipe from the Moosewood Restaurant.
In college, I moved off-campus as soon as I could. I was all, "I love it here, and I adore you friends, but get me out of this dorm. Stat."
Favorite places: Australian outback; Rome; Tasmania; San Francisco; almost any mountain; Nova Scotia; Lick Brook near Ithaca; Eno River in Durham; Acadia, Maine; Montreal, Canada.
I met my husband in college; we were friends for six years before we got together. So our friends overlap.
I rocked an asymmetrical hairstyle in the 80s.
I went to graduate school at Harvard, where I got Master of Education in Adolescent Risk and Prevention.
I'm a pretty good at alpine skiing but I still haven't really learned to snowboard. Lame, I know.
Once a week, my family hosts dinner for a group of friends. It's our favorite night of the week.
I believe everyone has at least one gift they’re here to give to the world. It just takes some of us longer than others to figure out what it is.
I got married in the backyard of my childhood home (there's a photo around here somewhere).
^ I wore my mother’s wedding gown. ^
Blue jeans always have been, are, and always will be my wardrobe staple.
My home is filled with art from all over the world (Indonesia, Australia, Central America, Africa) from my travels and friends’ travels.
I’ve voted in every election since I turned 18.
When I was little, I had a lending library on my front porch.
The book that made me want to be an author: The Very Hungry Caterpillar, by Eric Carle.
I believe all art is important. Some of my favorite visual artists include Gertie Huddleston; Amy Jirwulurr Johnson; Willie Gudabi; Ngukurr Art Collective; Albert Namatjira; Margaret Preston; Georgia O'Keeffe; Edgar Degas; Vincent Van Gogh; Eric Carle; Ezra Jack Keats; Richard Scarry; Peter Bakija; Noah Wichman; and Sam Wichman.
I collect quotes and hang them all over my house-- on the fridge, the medicine cabinet, my closet.
My elementary school librarian, Ms. Esther Thornton, was one of the greatest influences in my education. She encouraged to me to write my own books, and would sit down and edit them with me. When they met her standards, she would catalog and shelve my books with the ‘real’ books.
I think a really great goal in life is to create more than you consume.
My favorite animal is the echidna.
I taught preschool for awhile, during college and after graduation. Fun!
I am a dog person. I am not a cat person. At all.
Give me a thrift store over Target any day of the week. I loathe the mall. (As a teenager, I did not loathe the mall. Shopping was my favorite thing to do on weekends.)
I have a lot of faith in the goodness of the universe, but I don’t give any credence to astrology.
My bookshelves are sorted by color, in rainbow order.
In solidarity with the world outside the U.S., and to reduce my carbon footprint, I use an old- fashioned clothesline instead of a dryer.
On Sundays, I mostly unplug and take a break from screen time (Facebook, e-mail, internet, tv, working on the computer).
Having been told so numerous times by teachers and parents, I still kind of believe that if you cross your eyes too long, they’ll get stuck that way.
J.J. Johnson, author of young adult novels -- official website