Barry Rudner has been an author/poet of self-esteem books for children for over thirty years. His favorite genre for children are fairy tales and allegories. The two genres deal with certain truths without ever dealing with what is real, such as, dealing with reaching for your dreams, homelessness, undying friendships, disability awareness, always being yourself, autism awareness, hope and, of course, utter silliness. Touring extensively throughout the United States he has always firmly professed that we cannot educate our children unless they feel good about who they are; and ultimately, as they grow up, they will not feel good about themselves unless they educate themselves.
Congratulations on the release of your latest book, Silent Voice. When did you start writing and what got you into children’s books?
I started writing while I was in graduate school in the late ’70s trying to earn a Masters degree in neuroanatomy in the hopes of being admitted into medical school. I was at a friend’s house, and he had a room mate who was taking a children’s literature course. On the kitchen table was Shel Silverstein’s, The Giving Tree. It immediately changed the direction of my life.
What was your inspiration for Silent Voice?
One of my dearest friends, Nicole Albert, a licensed therapist, convinced me of not only the total dearth of information on the subject of autism, but also the lack of awareness of the disorder. Awareness can only happen with education. Education can only happen with the dissemination of information.
More than once I have read a book by Robert McKee, entitled, Story. He taught me the three most important concepts I have ever read about story. The first is to always write from the inside out. The second is to always look for the turning point or transition. The third is to never fall in love with what you write: the chances are it will end up in the waste basket.
How do you define success?
I have always considered myself as barely-an-author. (Which is much more fun than barely-not-being-an-author.) Ten books published, in my mind, does not make me an author. It just makes me published. Being well read will make me an author. This is how I define success.
Where is your book available?
The book, Silent Voice, is available (along with the previous nine books) on the website at www.nickoftime.us in various electronic formats as well as the hardcover of, Silent Voice, which is being printed as we speak.
What is your advice for aspiring children’s authors?
Aspiring children’s authors must learn the word “rewrite.” Hemingway was correct. “The first draft of anything is #^%*.” And even more importantly, especially in thirty-two page picture books, is the concept that less is more. In other words, if you can say it in a page you might be able to say it in a paragraph or stanza. If you can say it in a stanza or paragraph, you might be able to say it in a sentence. If you can say it in a sentence, you might be able to say it in a word. If you can say it in a word, you might just be able to just show it in an illustration.
George Orwell once wrote: “Writing a book is a horrible, exhausting struggle, like a long bout of some painful illness. One would never undertake such a thing if one were not driven on by some demon whom one can neither resist nor understand.” Do you agree?
Who am I to argue with the great George Orwell. But, no, I do not agree. Because on the correct shoulders, the horrible struggle becomes the magnificent accomplishment, the painful illness finds remedy, the exhaustion becomes exhilaration, and that demon becomes an angel.
Anything else you’d like to tell my readers?
I tell children (and even adults) all the time that if they take the time to read or recite, Abraham Lincoln’s, Gettysburg Address, they will never forget who wrote it. But more importantly, if they write it, we will never forget from whom we read it. There is nothing more powerful than the written word. We have history to prove it![amazon template=iframe image&chan=default&asin=0925928003]