N. D. Wilson on N. D. Wilson
(because if I have to write it, I refuse to do so in the third person)
I was born in 1978 to a couple of Jesus People hippies. An older sister was waiting for me. A younger followed.
My father accidentally became a pastor (it’s a long story and I was very young) and has been one ever since. I remember attending church in a large auto body shop, with a beer truck pulled off to the side and frogs and crickets singing back-up. I also remember chasing one of my friends around afterward, and causing her to fall and peel open her chin on the concrete. After that, I caught her easily.
In pre-school, I dug up a dead (and at that point furless) cat in my sandbox. We never learned who had buried it, but I would like to thank them. It was an exciting day. I carried it to the kitchen door of our duplex and told my mother that I had discovered a chicken.
My father helped to found a school with a classical emphasis, which I attended K-12. I have a real fondness for the classics (ancient and modern) as a result. Through my elementary years I spent innumerable hours enjoying and getting into trouble with my friend Joe Casebolt. He lived on the edge of town with creek, large barn, fields, and abandoned rock quarry readily available. We floated the creek on a large chunk of Styrofoam (and sank), went fishing (and got caught) in a bull pasture, collected dozens of mouse skulls (from owl pellets), and took possession of the abandoned combine in the the old quarry. In some elementary grade or other, we were assigned a class presentation on the subject of religion. We constructed an idol (of sorts) out of legos and when the time came we walked calmly to the front of the room, bound a lego-man to a popsicle stake, and lit him on fire. His head swelled up nicely. I couldn’t tell you what grade we received, but our classmates approved.
Speaking of fire, when I was in sixth grade, my mother gathered the family around the television to watch a documentary entitled “The Story of English”. Instead, after noticing the kitchen light flick off, I investigated, and found the ceiling crackling merrily. The roof burned off, we avoided finishing the documentary, and then we went to live with some friends who were house-sitting for someone else. The backyard was a large pond, and over that summer, I became closely acquainted with turtles, streptococcus and penicillin shots in the rear end.
After my turtle-and-shot period, after high school and college, I met (it’s complicated), a surfer girl from Santa Cruz, California. And I love her. Never having desired to be entirely governed by reason, I asked her to marry me one month after we met, and I offered her my great-grandmother’s ring. In a momentary but sufficient lapse of judgment, she took it, and I haven’t stopped smiling since. At least not for long. Now, we have five imaginative and jolly children, and they serve as our primary source of entertainment.
Not everything I write is for children, but all of it is childish. I love the dark flavor of Flannery O’Connor and the supra-realism of Borges, though I can’t help but try to add the laughter of G. K. Chesterton. P. G. Wodehouse and C. S. Lewis have been with me my entire life, and always will be. J. R. R. Tolkien cannot be imitated.
Now you know me. But not really. Because I left out all the joy of the dinner table, how my parents read and inked everything I wrote, and the collective imagination that I shared (and share) with my sisters. You haven’t heard about the fabulous eight months during which I had a dog named Tyler, or my Grandfathers’ war stories, or anything about birthdays or Christmas. And there’s nothing in here about Zorro. Oh, well.
N. D. Wilson is the best-selling author of the “100 Cupboards” trilogy (now in more than twenty languages) and the acclaimed “Ashtown Burials” series (both from Random House). His first work of nonfiction was the ground-breaking Notes from the Tilt-a-Whirl (Thomas Nelson), which was adapted into the widely distributed “bookumentary” film of the same name. He has adventured on camera for the National Geographic Channel, is currently involved in producing C.S. Lewis’ The Great Divorce for the screen (which he adapted himself), and once typed a short story on a napkin for Esquire magazine. His writing has been featured on media outlets ranging from NBC’s Today Show to NPR’s All Things Considered.
He was born and raised in Moscow, Idaho, where he currently lives in a tall skinny house with the blue-eyed girl he stole from the ocean (along with their five young explorers, two tortoises, and one snake). Nathan D. Wilson holds a Master’s degree in Liberal Arts from Saint John’s College in Annapolis, Maryland (2001). He served as a part-time Lecturer at New Saint Andrews from 2001-2004, and was promoted to Fellow of Literature in the fall of 2004. He still teaches part-time.
Today Show – Al’s Book Club for Kids: 100 Cupboards
Better TV – N.D. Wilson Interview
100 Cupboards: The Chestnut King
Ashtown Burials: The Dragon’s Tooth
Notes from the Tilt-a-Whirl, Book
Notes from the Tilt-a-whirl, DVD