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Chasing Mary Chase

Wikipedia is a wonderful thing.

Over dinner tonight I started beefing up my 101 in 1,001 list for Colorado. Scanning articles from the local magazine 5280 for inspiration and eventually glancing over articles on Wikipedia about Colorado and Denver points of historic interest. At one point I abruptly jumped to the article on Owen’s great-grandmother, playwright Mary Chase, and proceeded to lose myself for the rest of the evening inadvertently learning more about this family I married into.

One of the external links lead me to a website maintained by Tim Chase, possibly son of Colin or Jerry Chase (Owen’s grandfather’s brothers). He’s working on a biography about Mary Chase and included a number of photographs as well as some of his blogs from his researching adventures. Sadly, the last blog was dated a year ago so I don’t know whether or not he’s still pursuing the project.

Regardless, he included an interview from the CBC recorded in 1981 a month before she died of a heart attack. She and the interviewer discuss “Harvey” and the musical revival version that was in the works at the time. They discuss her life, and she tells stories. In the interview she commented that she enjoyed testing out comedy and things she had written on children because children, over any other age group, will tell you honestly whether something is good or not. Furthermore, children do not respond to gimmicks like sex or politics, but rather to the timeless elements of story-telling.

“You have to get them at the point where they are ‘too young for boys, too old for dolls’ in that limbo in there where they have no other place to go.”

~ Mary Chase on why in 1981 she was working on a one-act play for middle school students.

And that right there is why I enjoy reading young adult literature and why in my fiction writing endeavors I see myself as a young adult writer. That state of limbo that Mary Chase refers to is a terribly appealing mindset to try to reach. Young adults still want to believe in fairy tales but they are also skeptical enough to want to know what’s behind the curtain. For me, that presents a challenge and is therefore something worth pursuing.

It’s past late now, and I have gone another week without posting to the Skills blog on time. There’s still tomorrow but for now, there’s sleep.

~*La!

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