Happy election day!
Here I share news, events, press, bits of my creative process, and the occasional snippet of adventure.
Happy election day!
A little mashup of one-second videos taken while making a collage in my studio today:
Making collages is so fun!
At long last I can announce it. I’m going to be a children’s book author! My silly picture book manuscript THE ELEPHANTS’ HIDE-AND-SEEK HANDBOOK—a guidebook for elephants who want to overcome their size disadvantage in the game of hide-and-seek—is going to be a real, actual, buy-it-at-the-bookstore picture book for kids! Published by the proudly independent Sourcebooks through their imprint Jabberwocky. HOORAY! HOORAY! HOORAY! I hope you will celebrate with me!
Anyone reading the whole Publisher’s Weekly release (screen-grab pictured above) might see that I won’t be illustrating this one. I’d be lying if I didn’t admit that was hard for me at first (I’m still an artist after all) but I’ve had time since signing the contract to come to peace with it. AND it’s also happily true that I LOVE the work of the illustrator who was chosen, Gladys Jose-Fabii, and I think you will too. I especially love the hilarious expressions of her characters and I can completely see how the humor in her work matches the humor in my writing. I can’t wait to see how she adds to the book and I’ll be proud to have her name next to mine on the cover. So, many thanks to my editor Annie Berger for not only believing in my book—thank you Annie—but also for choosing Gladys as an illustrator. For my own part, I’m also psyched to embrace my voice as a writer more, even while reclaiming my voice as an illustrator with other works-in-progress. It’s a fantastic feeling to be able to have my writing stand on its own.
Since I already started thanking people, thanks also to Laura McGee Kvasnosky for mentoring me with this book when I first wrote it and to my critique group/partners for all the support over so many years’ worth of effort to become better at my craft. And many additional thanks to my wonderful agent Clelia Gore of Martin Literary Management, for believing in me, for helping me land my first book deal, and for helping me to bring out the best in my work and in myself. (And thanks also to Clelia for doing much of this work while technically being on maternity leave with a newborn at home. Seriously, Clelia you are a superhero.) Thank you all!
CHEERS PEOPLE! TO DREAMS COMING TRUE!
My friend stopped by to pick something up and caught a picture of me in my studio in messy collage focus mode this morning. Working on some art revisions for a WIP. I love stepping back and noticing the clutter and chaos around both me and my tunnel vision. Maybe lots of creative play looks like clutter and chaos. That’s my happy thought for the morning.
My Aunt Jackie and Uncle Gary asked if they could put my art on their camper. If you happen to be camping in the upper mid-west look out for Auntie and Uncle Moose. I'm totally going to be campground famous.
It’s been a happy discovery of the last few years to learn that I have a quiet super power in helping kids love and make art. What a happy super power! For this today I am grateful.
These two collages are class collaborative projects I made with kids. The first collage is made from radial designs created by the 1st-3rd graders who I regularly taught art to this past fall (I went back last month to make this piece with them for their school’s auction). The second collage is made from geometric designs created by 4th-6th graders at the same school (I team taught with their regular art teacher for this project).
I love how each kid’s personality comes out a bit in their individual contribution and how all the pieces come together into a colorful and lively finished whole. I love how pulling the pieces together felt a little like pulling the kids together into creative play. But most of all I just love making art with kids.
Sometimes I go to the bookstore having already spent my book budget for the month. I do this because I cannot resist bookstores. Whenever this happens I find myself wondering, why oh why am I doing this to myself? I know I'm going to buy a book—probably more than one. And perhaps even one of those books will NOT even be a picture book. And then not only am I being bad with my budget I'm also going to want to read that long non-picture-book book RIGHT NOW! Only inevitably I will already have a stack as big as my leg (or possibly larger) of non-picture-book books I want to read RIGHT NOW. Also, didn't I just do this, like last week? Yes, I have a problem. I can't help it. I LOVE BOOKS!
So what, you may be asking, does this have to do with the title of this post—Storystorm? Storystorm is this thing in picture book land where picture book writers gather (virtually) over on Tara Lazar's blog and support one another as we each come up with a picture book idea for every day during an entire month. I have no idea how many years I've participated in Storystorm (used to be called PIBOIDMO). I will not go back and look because that will make me feel like I am getting old too fast. Let's just say it's many. And the practice has not only helped me come up with many fun ideas during the month it takes place, it also has taught me to cultivate ideas all year long. And it has to do with my enormously large pile of to-read books because just like books, I have WAY TOO MANY IDEAS!
But joking aside, I actually like having too many books and too many ideas. The abundance of these things matters. I've heard it said that you only need one good idea. Sure. And I suppose I'm supposed to feel satisfied with one book too?
I make my best work when I throw my perfectionism out the window and aim for quantity over quality. Yes, I want quality—but I find that it comes only from vigorous practice. And that vigorous practice only comes from a spirit of quantity. Quantity helps me achieve quality.
This is true especially with ideas. The more ideas I come up with, the more I find the ideas to be interesting. It never fails.
So here's my annual cheers to another month of brainstorming ideas with Storystorm! And while I'm at it I'll raise my glass to brainstorming of all kinds—where quantity cultivates quality. And also I'll raise my glass to the giant mountains of books that are waiting to be read, in my house, in my library, and in my local bookstore. Is there anything better?
Cheers to abundant possibility!