I think it's important to experience kindness so that you can experience it more in the future. I believe that patterns of emotional behavior are set down before adolescence. And I think that if you have not observed kindness, you will not recognize it. You have to experience kindness in order to be kind.
When I was in college at Carnegie Mellon, I wanted to be a chemist. So I became one. I worked in a laboratory and went to graduate school at the University of Pittsburgh. Then I taught science at a private girls' school. I had three children and waited until all three were in school before I started writing.
I was the first one in my family to go away to college. I came from a small town where there was no guidance in the high school at all. It was a mill town, and I never knew anyone who made their living from the arts. When you did go away to college, you went away to be something - an engineer, or a teacher, or a chemist.
When I began writing in the mid-1960s, I thought it was not important for readers to know whether I was male or female. Also, I was a great admirer of E.B. White, so I may have thought that it would bring me luck to submit my first manuscript as 'E.L.' But if I were starting out today, I would use my first name.