|Gary James Paulsen|
May 17, 1939 |
Minneapolis, Minnesota, United States
|Genre||Young adult fiction, adventure novels, nonfiction|
|Subject||Adventure memoirs, sports|
|Notable awards||Margaret Edwards Award
|Spouse||Ruth Wright Paulsen|
I don't have a favorite author; I have favorite books. 'Moby Dick' is a favorite book, but Melville was a drunk who beat his wife. 'Moveable Feast' by Hemingway, but I would not like him personally. He was a stupid macho person who believed in shooting animals for fun, but that book was incredible!
A border collie saved me once when I was pinned under a horse in Colorado. And once when I went through the ice, one of my sled dogs saw me go under, and she got the rest of the team, and they pulled me out of 12 feet of water. I think that dogs offer the only form of unconditional love that's available to humans.
My folks were drunks, and I had a rough childhood – really rough – in fact, rougher than I thought about.
In sailing, I single-hand, and I want to do the Horn. The Horn is the maximum expression of sailing, the way the Iditarod is the maximum expression of running dogs. It's not to write about it; it's to experience the maximum thing.
Yes, I've been in an igloo. They're surprisingly cozy and warm – small, though, you can't really stand up in some.
Humans are the big thing that cause damage in life – in war or whatever – and if I can get away from that and into a wilderness situation, I'm OK. You can more or less live on your own merit.
Look at Inuit clothing. Their stuff still works better than Cabela's. I've made my own parkas, mukluks, footgear, and it is good to 60 degrees below zero. All I did was copy the patterns that came down from the Inuits.
I'm a teller of stories. I put bloody skins on my back and dance around the fire, and I say what the hunt was like. It's not erudite; it's not intellectual. I sail, run dogs, ride horses, play professional poker, and tell stories about the stuff I've been through. And I'm still a romantic; I still want Bambi to make it out of the fire.
I was raised on farms by people who didn't have Wal-Mart. They had to make their own sleds, harnesses, clothing, etc.
My parents were brutal to each other, so I slept in the basement by an old coal-fired furnace. I became a street kid. Occasionally, I'd live with aunts or uncles, then I'd run away to live in the woods, trapping and hunting game to survive. The wilderness pulled at me; still does.
Name the book that made the biggest impression on you. I bet you read it before you hit puberty. In the time I've got left, I intend to write artistic books – for kids – because they're still open to new ideas.
Adults are locked into car payments and divorces and work. They haven't got time to think fresh.
In our family, we've always been owned by border collies, or dogs of one kind or another, and have rescued many dogs. We've lived in the woods and sometimes have had as many as 70 sled dogs. Or had six or seven dogs living in the house. Dogs have saved my life on more than one occasion – and I mean that literally.
I ran the Iditarod twice. I finished once. I came in 42nd or 43rd place out of 70 plus teams the first time, and I scratched 80 miles from Nome the second time. You can read about my experience in the race in my books 'Woodsong' and 'Winterdance.'
I have a pickup truck. And I prefer to be with dogs or on my sailboat than in a car – actually, more than any other place on Earth.
I sail, run dogs, ride horses, play professional poker and tell stories about the stuff I've been through. And I'm still a romantic; I still want Bambi to make it out of the fire.
The maximum expression of running dogs is the Iditarod. You enter a state of primitive exaltation, and you never return. You're never normal again.
You're never the same after you run the Iditarod, and I still lust to go out and run with dogs, even though I know that I shouldn't. But I'd give just about anything to be able to do it again. To see the horizon again from the back of a dog team would be wonderful.
Years ago, when I was writing westerns, other writers who were friends of mine wanted me to collaborate with them. And it just didn't work.