Thursday, January 29, 2009

What makes Shakespeare and Beethoven great

Them I should love till I die (pardon me Meredith Wilson for the pluralization)

Technique which could mean structure and/or voice
and knowing thine audience
Guts and determination and being stubborn and and and neeeahhh.

and the rules ye learn are the foundation... not necessarily the final product. 

And ye know when it is right and then ye go

Gargling with Joe Jackson

Everyone has an answer
Everyone has an answer
Not just one smartypantser
Everyone has an answer

Don't touch that word
Don't be absurd
Just take this line
and make it shine

Don't write long
don't spell wrong
Don't make it too sing song


Don't draw all night
Don't write all day
You'll blur your sight
and lose your pay

More caffeine
More protein
More booze and
Remember -- 

(Rinse and Repeat)

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Lost Fiction

Frost Nixon.

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

When will I ever learn.

This is the third time in 4 months that I have been reprimanded by a cop. It is not that I blatantly commit misdemeanors when I see a man in a uniform, or that I am masochistic, or anything. Or that I have that horrible disorder where I make myself sick through pure unadulterated acts of idiocy.

A few months ago I was getting out of the driver's seat and into the back seat just before my daughter took her road test(now she is in the driver's seat). Ahem, why did I do that? Always sit in the front passenger seat and don't leave it until they "tell" you to.

On my way to work I happened to disregard the orange cones and men at work, and drove on what appeared a perfectly drivable path and right past the cop who asked me "Just what do you think you are doing?" I said "yes" I did read the sign and saw the pretty orange cones...but I work right down there. He was nice because I flashed him.... a pretty smile. :}

And today I let my son out in front of his school without having pulled into a parking spot...right in front of the cop crossing the kiddos.

"Never do that again," he said. 

(It is not like everyone doesn't do it everyday. It is just that the crossing guard was out today and he lets everyone get away with it. He knows how much tax we pay to bus all those kids, and some of us don't ever get bussed. Just busted.


This has absolutely nothing to do with writing and illustrating.

But I believe I have illustrated my frustrations with bureaucracy. And right now I really want to stick it to the man. Any one have a night stick?


This morning he gave someone ticket. That someone being a parent taking their child to school. 
He gave them a ticket right in front of the school. I hear lots of people complaining in my little busy brain.

Friday, January 16, 2009


My artwork is gonna be in the next edition of "Sprouts."   Yeehaw!!

El Barrio a la Barbara.

Did you know that Barbara means 'red beard' in Spanish. It also means 'strange or stranger...barbarian'. 

Thanks mom. You could have named me Linda (my sister's name) which in Spanish means 'beautiful'.

That is okay. I forgive you. For now.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

I'm going on a blind date

What are you looking for?

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 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

What to send...what to send

to the mentor agent or editor.....aaaaaagh.

The giraffe isn't ready enough to go. I want to send it but I can't.

My two strongest mss/dummies are at big publishers so they are not going

and the others have already been crittered.

I am getting ahead of myself as usual. Neck in neck with dreck.

Maybe it doesn't matter.

Miss Nelson...???? Miss Nelson!!!!

You are not missing. You are back. I found you and I'm keeping you. Forever by my computer and drawing table.

Yesterday I went thru children's books with my oldest daughter and decided which to keep and which to donate. The keepers were by far the smallest pile (thanks to my years of learning how to be discerning...and my ability to laugh, sigh and smile at enduring greatness). And my daughter who is truthful.

I relish my daughter's comments such as: Why would any kid want to read a book with an adult as the main character. My retort being 'only if they are childlike and FUNNY.'

Or: Why is there SO MUCH TEXT in this picture book? And the illustrations are too creepy and somber. My retort being 'Yeah. You go Charlotte.'

Or: This book is SOOOOOO dated. ' sooo EIGHTIES (Hey. Wait a minute).

Anyway, I remember my mom who was a kindergarten teacher(a highly regarded kindergarten teacher in Connecticut) bringing home these stellar picture books by Allard and Steig and Sendak. I wonder what she would bring home today were she alive and teaching. Maybe she'd bring home my books. Would she?  Would she!!!

Mrs. Litten is missed.

Saturday, January 3, 2009


I heard that an AD I met at 2 recent conferences (and did an assignment for, that he liked, as well), who liked a group of my pieces (as did another AD at one of them) has been let go.

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.

Update: And the classy Art Director sent me an email saying he was released, and that he has passed my work onto an editor. Well, he is cool and polite and someone I respect. Not enough people like him. Someone I want to work with.

And an editor from Holt is now going to the mentorship. Cool beans. 

Friday, January 2, 2009

My New Year's Resolution

is to break the rules.

I have come to realize that ALL of my favorite picture book writers/illustrators break the rules. I am sure they know them by heart as I do. What they do have is distinctive technique and the ability to connect strongly with their audience.  What they have is remembrance of being that child they write for.

So out go the formulaic rules and in goes my technique. And strong dummying storytelling.

It is going to be a good year.