Seattle Culture

Covid Creativity

A young author draws inspiration from her seclusion

By Sarah Stackhouse June 3, 2024

Rubiee LaFave Norlin

This article originally appeared in the May/June 2024 issue of Seattle magazine.

Prior to the pandemic, Rubiee LaFave-Norlin was a typical kid.

“I was taking the ferry to school at 6 a.m. and returning home at 8 p.m.,” recalls LaFave- Norlin, 13, reflecting on her life on Ketron Island in South Puget Sound before Covid hit when she was just 9.

Amid the pandemic’s uncertainty, LaFave- Norlin made her remote home into a place of creativity, writing her debut novel, The Ways of Wolves, now available on Amazon, as a self-published work. Living on an island with just 10 houses and 24 people, and no access to in-person school, she was far removed from the distractions of modern life.

In her 146-page book, LaFave-Norlin chronicles the journey of Blue Jay, a young wolf pup navigating the challenges of belonging and survival, drawing inspiration from her own experiences, the wilderness around her, and her dog, Tonto. LaFave-Norlin is a student at Washington Virtual Academies, which gives her the flexibility and resources she needs to grow creatively.

Book cover titled "The Ways of Wolves" by Rubiee Lafave-Norlin, featuring a close-up of a wolf's face with a lightning-filled sky in the background, symbolizing the

“I became a good artist, too, because those are the things I did when I had basically four years of being by myself,” she says. “I spent a lot of my time writing, and making these characters and drawing.”

LaFave-Norlin, who intends to write a sequel to her novel, reads fantasy and dystopian fiction. “I never really got interested in stories that were too real,” she says, showing that her creative capacity and imagination know no limits.

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