Thursday, December 31, 2009
Yesterday was a return trip to another one of my favorite places, the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Every time I go there I come away with new insight on a few art works. Because the trouble is that the museum is so vast you almost have to focus on a select few rooms, art pieces and/or periods. You can only take so much in at one time. It can be overwhelming.
We, all five of us spent the entire day there. But the main reason for going this time was Charlotte's insistence on being our personal educator of Baroque Flemish/Dutch art -- her first Art History course at University. And she knows her stuff, apparently. And she LOVES it to death.
I never appreciated this group as much as I do now knowing what they were really after. They were after reaching the mind and soul of their subjects. Getting into their heads. They were after the "right now, right at this very moment."
(I kept insisting that it was all about the light source (optics), the geometrics, the multiple rooms. But that apparently is not the most important discovery these masters contributed.)
Rembrandt -- It is also about what you emphasize and what you choose to leave out. And getting into the mind.
What really made my day tho, was what my husband said about a latter day famous Dutch painter's (van Gogh's) work, a painting featuring a man, his young son and his wife tending an overgrown garden. He remarked on the storytelling, the fact that it pulled you in and found a spot in his mind, the right here and now. He remarked on how the subjects felt about tending the garden, how the garden had a life of its own and how van Gogh used his own imagination to bring the painting to life.
Monday, December 14, 2009
Saturday, November 28, 2009
And after being thankful and full of turkey, I want/need to find sustenance in something more than calories.
So I weigh out those meaningless calories... those being words, cliches and stereotypes, and think about great pbs I love...the latest being "The Curious Garden."
I savor this book because:
The mc child affects the plot therefore making a difference. The mc cares about the outcome, and causes and changes it. And it is not about him and his issues. It is about what he believes in. It is about what he cares about. Essentially, he is a hero.
And the illustrations are amazing. The illustrator cares beyond compare. It is his book and it shows.
The mc is a hero and the emphasis is really off of him.
The approach is fresh, not cliched and non-didactic.
There is a real story and growth of character and some conflict. It follows the sole creator's vision and passion and interpretation, and indeed his inspiration. The creator cares about what he writes and illustrates and it shows.
Sunday, November 22, 2009
Yesterday I visited one of my favorite locales, my local art supply store. I always have fun there and usually spend more than I intended... (oh, that pretty piece of handmade paper). I can use that, I know I can. I'll just buy it and put it my grand stack-o-collage papers waiting for a project. We stare at each other a lot, those papers and I. Some people collect stamps. Some people collect rocks. I collect beautiful paper.
But all I really needed on this trip was some Itoya(sos)dummy binders and some illustration board.
Doesn't seem like much to excite the average person but I always get more than I bargained for at my local art store.
As I approaced the cashier I noticed the conversation between the cashier (a young aspiring and cute artist) and an elderly, clueless woman making a purchase.
"What media do you work in young man?"
"Oh, I used to work in oils but now I am going digital?"
"Well, they are so expensive and I really want to be an illustrator."
"Oh. Have you done any books?"
(Oh, God I can't help myself...so I say)
"You need these Itoyas to make your book dummies (you cute cashier you)."
They both look at me, and my purchases.
"What media do you work in?"
"Primarily collage/mixed media."
"Are you an illustrator?"
"What do you illustrate?"
(God help me now.)
(God help me.)
"I wrote a children's book. Can you illustrate it for me?"
"I am booked up for the next ten years...sorry."
And she left without a trace... (of how this business works).
And the cute cashier looked down at the register, and thought about what I said. Maybe I got through.
And this customer walked out, drove home and marched up to her clean, organized studio, and began another piece of art.
Thursday, November 19, 2009
I am not even sure I am going to send all but one. And it probably won't even be accepted.
32 pieces of paper times 4 is 128 pieces of paper. Right?
128 pieces of paper.
Publishers should start accepting edummies or CDs. Faster, more economical, and no or little postage. Really. Instead of thirty-two dollars (a dollar a page) to mail it would cost me 2 or 3 dollars. I figure that when I finally get bought I will have made a net loss.... (JK... better not.)
The system needs an overhaul. And when I get published I am going to lead the cause into action.
Sunday, November 1, 2009
Friday, October 30, 2009
The concept of dress up and parading around the neighborhood in the dark on a candy mission is priceless. And scary things falling out of the sky. Tripping over terror. Getting nickels instead of Neccos.
So as tribute to this wonderful day I finished my third doll installment! And I am so very happy with it. And now I get to dummy it. Dummies for mummies.
And I've taken my memories good and bad, happy and sad, and wrote with that. Bittersweet, batty, heartfelt and funny.
Now we will see how it evolves once again.
Hopefully, I'll finish the dummy by Christmas. And then I'll get the inspiration to dummy that story too.
Sunday, October 25, 2009
Thursday, October 22, 2009
Sunday, October 4, 2009
Why, half a paragraph down on the first page...I know it is right. :)
Wednesday, September 30, 2009
Sunday, September 27, 2009
I am in need of a publisher who can publish my children's book.
blah blah blah blah blah
(this was in the NJ Bergen County jobs section)
Saturday, September 26, 2009
The kind that produces quiet clicks, a gentle touch and a springy action.
It feels good on the finger pads. It bounces the letters along.
It is responsive.
And I finished the dummy of an old and majorly overhauled script. Only took a few years but it is here and it is so much better than the original. I like it.
I have a lot of irons in the fire and a few of them are gonna get bought. I know it.
Including this one if I can help it.
Thank you critique groups. Thank you editors.
Now back to retyping the manuscript on my new keyboard.
Friday, September 18, 2009
Tuesday, September 8, 2009
And from this....
I also have a kid in college and thus much less expendable income. Ouch. (Those dummies cost a lot to send out!)"
...a reply from a friend of mine on the Blue who shall remain anonymous here was:
"Ok, obviously it's been a long day (six hours pressure-washing my fence & deck)--but I thought those sentences had something to do with each other! "
Waking up to a laugh is the best way to start a day.
Monday, September 7, 2009
Well, no. You don't work on Labor day. Technically, no one works on Labor Day. That actually applies to one of our computers as well.
And everyone around my house seems to be doing something constructive right now.
But I am working. I am redoing a dummy after a ms critique. Except it is not just work. It is fun. Especially when I start laughing uncontrollably at some of the scenarios I've created. This is why I do what I do. Because it gives great pleasure
I love humor and devising funny situations. And angry, sad, confused and curious ones. Because that is what life is. I have a hard time with illustrations where everyone is smiling all the time. People don't smile all the time. They are not wooden and plastic. Or sheep. Or computers.
Wednesday, September 2, 2009
Tuesday, September 1, 2009
Sunday, August 30, 2009
Saturday, August 29, 2009
Reading various opines on writing series and sequels today, and coincidently I am writing a continued pb story based on a character book I am subbing.
Husband asks why....you crazy woman? You haven't sold the first yet (errr...grrr...I haven't subbed it too much either...just a little)
No, I am not a Neanderthal. I have an idea. I like it and I want to work on it. And then maybe another one. Maybe I am crazy. Maybe no one will buy the first. But I wouldn't write it if I didn't feel another story growing from the first. I am keeping common elements and shifting others. And reading PB series books that work and trying to figure out why.
And doing a few dummies of other stories, and illustrations, and writing others.
Call me crazy. Call me nuts. But I wouldn't be doing this at all if I were totally sane. Passion and a bit of crazy (no, gumption!) make a happy writer/illusrator.
Plus, I like to work on different things at once or else I get tunnel vision. Never liked going through tunnels.
Wednesday, August 26, 2009
Tuesday, August 25, 2009
I've met and spoken to many writers, illustrators and editors over the years trying to find myself in my own work and what I have found is:
There seems to be an internal responder and an external responder (here comes the sociologist in me). What I mean is some folks look for and react to the inner feelings of the work at hand and some look for and react to the outer/external.
I am a bit of both but I would say that the internal wins out. And I have noticed that books that have the internal are my favorites.
Now I am going to lay on the couch and talk to my shrink.
Back to the morning writing.
Sunday, August 23, 2009
To the wannabes:
"I am a graphic designer who wants to illustrate picture books."
"I am a portraitist. I am ready to start illustrations for a picture book."
"Look at my lovely landscapes. I have illustrated a picture book called Arborvity Visits The Arboretum. I wrote it too. They say you can lead a horticulturalist to a swamp but you can't make her drink. (Or maybe it was you can't make her think...whatever...you can't make her do anything)."
"My pet pictures lend themselves to storytelling. They are anatomically correct. You can tell the males from the females...look see!!! And they are pristinely rendered. A hair in every place."
(Maybe it should be facial hair and body language...tattoos for the older kids?)
Illustrating (and writing picture books) is a required skill (and if paired with talent, inspiration and innovation...a gift). Beautiful doesn't count (at least not all by itself).
VISUAL STORYTELLING....dah dah ta da dah daaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa!!! :)
FACIAL EXPRESSION AND BODY LANGUAGE (she sank to the floor when her teddy bear lost his squeak)
KNOWING THE AGE OF YOUR READER AND REMEMBERING CHILDHOOD, SENSITIVITY (I am never, ever cleaning my room.... and btw that trait seems to linger into adulthood.)
ACTION, INTERACTION, REACTION WITH CHARACTERS...a smirk often says more than a smile.
PACING...take chances here...don't be afraid...(otherwise you'll be formulaic). I am a firm believer in taking chances after you've memorized the rules.
INSPIRATION...this comes from the unique you and only you...find it and nurture it and keep it going from book to book.
INNOVATION...this also comes from the unique you and only you....find it and nurture it and keep it going from book to book.
ORIGINALITY...again same as above.
UNIVERSALITY...think about what everyone has felt, experienced or somehow can relate to in your theme(s)
ENERGY... equals movement, viiiiiiiiigor, happiness, angst, tensiiiiiiiiiiiiion, fear, hope, bravery all with a swiiiiiiiiiiiiift kick in the pants
BRAVERY is fear, will, confrontation and just doing it.
THE ABILITY TO REACH YOUR READER (read everything here)
TIMELESSNESS is thinking about the stories you've read over and over again every year. They never become stale or campy, less funny or sad etc. and they grab you in the gut. They often have something to say but say it subtly. And their plots and/or themes are always clever and interesting. The ideas and messages never fade. (Think "Does Anybody Really Know What Time It Is?" Think Chicago's timeless modern music. You hear it today and and it still sounds as good as when they played it originally. I DON' CARE ABOUT TIME)
INTERACTIVENESS (is that a word ?....you look it up.) Readers love to participate somehow. How are you going to do it?
VOICE to me is the most subjective part of writing. It is like showing someone a group of prom dresses and launching in as to why you love this one and then everyone immediately is drawn to the next rack. But if you succeed at the above items you will find a hearty group of fans. So make you voice come through with the help of the above items if that makes any sense.
and enjoy yourself while you create...that might be the most important thing...enjoy the process!
Saturday, August 22, 2009
Thursday, August 20, 2009
1. An inspired concept
2. Larger than life characters
3. A high-stake story
4. A deeply felt theme
5. A vivid setting
Check, check, check, check, check, check. (I hope, hope, hope, hope, hope and hope.)
(I lifted this from an agent interview at 2009 SCBWI LA blog) She talked about novels but I think this can apply to pbs as well.) I am going to add an original presentation.
And the stakes only have to be high and of uttermost importance to the protagonist.
There can be more than one theme. I say themes that we all can relate to and have experienced.
'Inspired concept' is key. Being inspired in writing and illustration is critical. No 'so what' allowed.
Wednesday, August 19, 2009
Friday, August 14, 2009
Write for them with hope and your hope will grow.
Write for them with wisdom and you will become wiser.
And write for them like you are their friend and they will become your friends.
And have fun. :)
Thursday, August 13, 2009
Tuesday, August 11, 2009
My son's drum teacher, musician extra-ordinaire, beautiful songwriter, wild performer and great friend has been introduced to my cuz, Surfer Stu, LA screenplay music editor, by meeeeeee.
You go Robbie!! You are going to make it. You are too good.
I love to help great talent along the crappy journey of gettin out thar.
Connections, connections, connections
Saturday, August 8, 2009
Thursday, August 6, 2009
Wednesday, August 5, 2009
Sunday, August 2, 2009
Friday, July 31, 2009
Wednesday, July 29, 2009
Sunday, July 26, 2009
I must say that the highlight of the day was the viewing of the Merode Altarpiece which I remember studying in college (but as a tiny image in a text book and a distant slide view the impact is not so great.)
The triptych by Robert Campin from the earlyish 1400s is pure genius and an example of early storytelling in art using symbolism. And the precision to detail and craft is superlative.
I could have spent the entire day looking at this painting. There are somethings in this world that are brilliant beyond compare.
Friday, July 24, 2009
One is dishonesty and the other is negativity.
To be continued.....
Wednesday, July 22, 2009
Choices: And it is (at least for now)....in bold
Can you find this?
What do you think it is?
What comes next?
Turn the page and find out.
Would you do this?
What do you do with this? (Sorry Steve)
Mixed Up Verse
What have I got myself into? (No, that is just me thinking out loud.)
This is fun. This is funny. This is going to take a while.
12 down ...4 to go and then REVISE
Friday, July 17, 2009
I am altering existing old literature that is "gasp" in rhyme. Modernizing.
But I am managing to keep a recurring theme (what am I trying to say), humor, visual necessity, and storytelling and emotion and action/reaction. Oh, and child friendly subject matter and text/art for that age group... and adults... (that is the hard part). I always ask myself if the reader will really appreciate it. Always. And is it interesting and dynamic and smart and clever and universal. I find this to be a problem in a lot of picture books.
Six verses down and ten to go.
This is challenging and unlike anything I've done before and a bit frustrating in a 'I can't put it down way'. (Like crosswords puzzles and my new discovery... code word puzzles. Yes, code word puzzles. Look for them, they are maddeningly great!! And addictive. They may not be new (I don't know) but they are to me...mwah hah...........)
But it is a fun project and if I can manage to come up with a few more art samples, I will finish it , have it critted and send it off. It is real thinking outside of the books :}
I was dry for a while but I am back with the writing bug.
Thursday, July 2, 2009
20 bucks down the drain...and no help from the conference "sticker."
There goes my theory.
This business can kill your soul. My kids tell me to quit...why do you do this to yourself, they ask.
But I persist. And I won't quit. After all how do others make it...am I any worse than they are .
No. I am not.
But no more conferences in my future. I've been to too many.
And new stories are begging for life and I just can't stop. I refuse to concede to failure.
Saturday, June 27, 2009
Wednesday, June 17, 2009
Thursday, June 11, 2009
Tuesday, June 9, 2009
Sunday, June 7, 2009
I can spend 10 hours looking for the right dress at the right price that isn't hideous or tacky for an extra petite. I can convince her that she looks stunning in it.
Then I can wade through the thousands of pairs of shoes and find the perfect pair at the very LAST SHOE STORE. And they are gorgeous, the right price and not too high in the heel (she won't come home with a twisted ankle and put a damper on our vacation). I can convince her that she looks stunning in them.
And for the final purchase: I can convince her that not everything has to be real patent leather. Not for a simple clutch. And I can convince her that she looks stunning. And she does.
Next day hair
and delivery to the prom.
I am promniscient. I know.
Saturday, June 6, 2009
Monday, May 18, 2009
Sunday, May 17, 2009
The story concerns a gargoyle with a gift, and an original, universal theme/premise. Great.
the plot is still looking for some trouble; and the resolution walked away in a huff. The remaining manuscript put out a want ad for a great ending but so far not one satisfying ending has surfaced.
Any preschooler will slip into early naptime on dad's lap after the first stanza. And then dad's feet will fall asleep and he won't be able to get up. Any early primary child's eyes will become permanently crossed and his hearing impaired.
The writing is so beautiful for adults or anyone who has survived the middle ages.
(I look at this masterpiece and I think I will tea-stain it and send it to a monastery. Or make it into an illumination. It is so beautiful.)
For me prose with plot is hard enough but worth the effort because plotting is fun if you work at it. It will come. (This particular one is just being stubborn.)
Point: Rhyme is best bestowed on professional rhymers who are discerning, remember pre-school and the love of sounds, or are clever enough with humor/vocabulary for school age picture book readers...but most of all patient. And can handle rhyme with plot if necessary. And to make the language and meaning full... not empty.
To me it is a hindrance. To me it is hard.
I thank the leader of my first critique group for nipping this rhyme urge in the bud... early and candidly, and for helping me to put it to bed for an extended nap. Save the children.
(Now if I can ever solve my Gargoyle picture book problems it won't be too soon. It is calling me again. And when it calls I answer.)
Saturday, May 16, 2009
Sunday, May 10, 2009
Sunday, May 3, 2009
Tuesday, April 21, 2009
Saturday, April 11, 2009
Monday, April 6, 2009
People get paid a lot of money to do this, and I get paid a little to edit them. And I am no editor. Just a good writer. :) Because I am starting to read closely. That is what pb writing does to you. And cover letter writing...and query writing.
I should write marketing letters. I'd do better than this guy. More true.
Sunday, April 5, 2009
Saturday, April 4, 2009
Yesterday Rutgers Honors....VERY VERY NICE school and price
tomorrow NYU (and your wallet)
Looking at schools is FUN, FUN, FUN with your teenage piece of academic brilliance and judge of parental failures.
It is not me...it is the econome.
Back to the drawing board.
Thursday, March 19, 2009
Wednesday, March 18, 2009
Sunday, March 15, 2009
Wednesday, March 11, 2009
send for Chino
this is not the Maria
Modest and pure
polite and refined
well bred and mature
and out of her mind"
If you listen to this music you'll appreciate the stresses and "off" stresses.
A mild thrill for me when I think about writing. Simple pleasures...greatness.
Sunday, March 8, 2009
Saturday, March 7, 2009
Friday, February 27, 2009
Bill is waiting on his cool jazz arrangement of this.
I just sent a ms package to an agent I met last weekend. Let the waiting beguine.
Charlotte is waiting to see if she got cast as Jo Jo in the high school (aka Broadway equivalent) version of "Suessical" and college apps (HUH???)
We are all waiting for Henry to get home from his PA trip
and for Emily to help with dinner so Bill and I can go to JAZZ HOUSE KIDS!! jazz, wine, d'oeuvres benefit for kids in need.
Everyone is WAITING. WAIting. Waiting.
Thursday, February 26, 2009
Monday, February 23, 2009
Thursday, February 19, 2009
Saturday, February 14, 2009
Monday, February 2, 2009
my only standard
you make me happy
when skies are grey
you'll never know dear
how much I love you
please don't take
my standards away
Reading an EA Blog rebutting Bach etc....quality literature in favor of self-publishing "and it is good enough for my kids". I cannot comment for lack of connect.
I continue to ponder my idea of bios about American Brilliant Musicians with exciting illustrations.
Thursday, January 29, 2009
Sunday, January 25, 2009
How many great movies can one see in a weekend? (Ahem...three but I comment on one.)
And Frank Langella as Tricky Dicky? I grew up with this man. I grew in love with this man but now he is this sad character. Still dreamy but kinda pathetic. Frank you rock!!!!
I love non-fiction treated in a larger than life yet history infused way that almost reads like fiction. Kinda like my biography stuff. Larger than life has always grabbed me. Good and bad and somewhere in-betweeen.
Too bad I only remember the real stuff that my dad had on when I was a Watergate kid and a teenage Frost/Nixon newbie.
I loved the commentary about how the media shows a mere small shot of the big picture. This is the blessing and the curse of all media. Because most of the sheep only see what they see. The sheep who hate the pasture want the big picture and big idea. Like me.
Friday, January 23, 2009
Friday, January 16, 2009
Thursday, January 15, 2009
Humor (can it have substance...intelligence?)
Good looks (good writing)
Truth and honesty (theme)
Interesting conversation (plot)
Interesting conversation (ahem...voice)
Technique (that comes after the first few dates((rewrites))...meaning I am aiming to please... with originality ...not too weird...okay)
You know your age group (I am not into these May/September...October...November...December...January whatever things)
Universal ( it lasts forever thru think and thin, and covers most folks around the world) I've been many places and I want to go back...I like to travel outside of the U.S.A.
Illustrations (you'll love them...not too pretty...nice gestures...poses...storytelling...consistency...you can curl up with them and be intimate like two little kiddos under the layers of covers having a campout with spooks...lights on)
I've done this before ...really... and I've been happily ever after for a long time.
Sunday, January 11, 2009
Saturday, January 3, 2009
I hope the editor who is securely there has interest. She does biographies. But Monday is coming... and they are clearing off desks......) Yet, it appears that editors acquire and not ADs ...they bring in unagented talent...
I know what they are looking for as the AD and another assc. editor there made it clear at the conference workshop. Alas, she was let go as well. She was a peach and a picker upper.
This book has merit in the pb biography world. I could do such a great job with the art. I have great plans. I have lots of great plans and enthusiasm.