August 19, 1932
The Dream Watcher
Writing is the process of “unlearning all of the prejudices and conventional ideas that we're taught when we're young,” Barbara Wersba told Paul Janeczko. “To be a writer you have to see the world for the first time and pretend you know nothing about it. You have to stay very fresh and open, and you have to get rid of the preconceptions formed in childhood. Writing is a very primitive and simple thing. People tend to complicate it and intellectualize it, but it's mostly a sensuous response to nature rather than an intellectual one.”
Wersba attended Bard College and studied at the Neighborhood Playhouse and the Paul Mann Actors Workshop. She has worked as an actress in radio and television, summer stock, off-Broadway, and touring companies. She also has taught writing. She has been an active writer since 1960.
“Writing is a process of self-discovery,” Wersba continued. “Many writers, if you read what they say about themselves, say they write a book to find out what they think. I write a book to find out who I am. It's a process of awakening; one of the richest ways of finding out what you think and who you are. Every book is yourself. You may disguise the characters, but they're all you and it's a very exciting experience for those who can stick with it.”
Her first young adult novel was The Dream Watcher (1968), which J. A. Morrison said “explores a fine relationship between a suicidal young dropout, son of a neurotic, thwarted 'House Beautiful' mother and an alcoholic father, and an octogenarian ex-actress recluse—or so we thought.”