Jane's essay at the Jewish Book Council website, "If the Muse Comes Calling: Jane Yolen on Writing," is about the evolution of her Jewish dragon short story and novella, written with her son Adam, The Last Tsar’s Dragons.
It also includes a very telling and thought-provokingly honest account of how the first 17 years of Jane's writing "did not feature anyone or anything Jewish."
Here's how Jane describes what happened next:
"And then in the 1980s, one of my editors, who happened to be a rabbi’s wife, asked me why I had never written a Jewish book. And I had to think long and hard about that. And she noodged. Boy! Was she an expert noodge. The result was The Devil’s Arithmetic. And then the Jewish stories began to tumble out — between more books about women pirates and kings and princesses and unicorns and dinosaurs— in prose, in rhyme, for picture book readers and for teens."What I think is so fascinating is that it took someone on the outside to point it out to Jane - and to ask for it.
Which can be inspiring for each of us.
What do you wish someone pointed out to you that you haven't done yet in your creative work?
What do you wish someone asked you for?
And ask yourself: What's my equivalent of Jane's Jewish dragon story?
And then write and/or illustrate that. After all, it worked for Jane!
Illustrate and Write On,