Sue Hubbell

SUE HUBBELL has this to say about herself. "No expectations were laid on me as a child. After all, I was a girl and no one expected much from little girls growing up in the 1930s in Kalamazoo, Michigan. In addition, I was an indifferent student and whenever anyone did set out goals for me I became rattled and broke out in rashes. Mine was a family of high-aspirers, but they gave up on me, rather. I was left pretty much alone. I look at today's youngsters with their enrichment programs, after-school lessons and activities, busily building resumes so that they can get into Harvard and realize I was given a wonderful gift--a happy childhood of my own making. I didn't build much of a resume, but I did build a stable of racing turtles. I climbed trees and sat in the tops of them for long, long periods of time. I made exquisite little villages under an old pinoak tree by the edge of a lake. I read a lot in a random sort of way. I wondered a lot because the things I was most interested in seldom were on teachers' agenda. And so I asked a lot of questions. Asking questions wasn't a good preparation for any respectable career. By the time I was an adult I was suited for only two kinds of work: being a journalist or a biologist.

"I was neither, however. First I raised a son, which is probably the best thing I ever did for today he is a good man, a good father, and a fine writer. I was, successively, a book store manager, a university librarian, and a commercial beekeeper. I enjoyed doing all of those things.

"And then, accidentally, I became a writer and found I could go on wondering about things and asking questions of people who had the answers and that sober, serious editors would pay me to do it.

"In order to make a living I've had to ask questions about a lot of things besides biology--I've committed my share of journalism--but my books have been about biology, more or less. I writer biology for English majors with curiosity.

"I'm 66 now and beginning the process of looking back over my life, seeing if there were any patterns to it. It hasn't been a dignified one, exactly, but, on the whole I've had a very good time."

Sue Hubbell is the author of A Book of Bees, A Country Year, Broadsides from the Other Orders: A Book of Bugs, and Waiting for Aphrodite. She was born in Kalamazoo, Michigan, migrated to the Ozarks of southern Missouri and now divides her time between Washington, D.C., and coastal Maine.

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