Gary Paulsen, the author of over 200 books, including beloved YA classic Hatchet and its sequels, died on October 13 at the age of 82, Publishers Weekly reported. Paulsen, who was himself an avid outdoorsman and adventurer—he ran the Iditarod in 1983—was also known for his memoirs Woodsong and Winterdance. His cause of death is yet unknown.
“I write from my life, from what I see and hear and smell and feel, from personal inspection at zero altitude and I write because it is, simply, all that I am, because in the end I do not want to do any other thing as much as I want to write,” Paulsen wrote in the introduction to the anthology Shelf Life.
But the force behind it, the thing that pushes me to write, that wakes me at night with story ideas, that makes the hair on the back of my neck go up when a story works, that causes my breath to stop and hold with a sentence that comes right, and that makes coming to the computer or the pad of paper every morning with a cup of tea and a feeling of wonderful newness and expectations, the engine that drives me to write is, surely, love.
I personally want just two things. I want to write and I want as many young readers as possible to see what I write. That’s it. To write and to have readers.
I work all the time. I get up at four thirty in the morning, meditate for half an hour, then start working. Not always writing, but working. If I’m not writing, I read and study and write until I fall asleep at night.
I owe everything I am and everything that I will ever be to books.
He will be missed.