Friday, October 29, 2010

NaNoWriMo, Here I Come!

Ready or Not.

Mostly Not.

Here's what I'm feeling about NaNoWriMo
(National Novel Writing Month)

1. 50,000 words in one month? What?
2. That's like a million picture books. Or something.
3. If I make it to 50,000 words (the linguistic equivalent of one million picture books) it'll be a mess.
4. A big unedited mess.
5. Then what?

I've been thinking about taking on the NaNoWriMo challenge for awhile. And this character from a novel that's been in my head awhile is hinting very heavily that he's ready to come out. Breathing in my ear, actually.

But his story breaks my heart.

Picture books are nice. They don't break my heart.

Too late. I already signed up.

Did you?

Monday, October 18, 2010

Culture Schmulture

On Sunday, my husband and I brought our daughter to hear this UNCA concert. What a lovely idea!

But then the squirming started. I'd brought papers and markers along to draw the musicians (like mommy!) Her and her little friend drew doggies and superheros instead and made each other giggle. Shhhh!

The friend had a very squeaky seat, especially if you rocked it back and forth just so, which no amount of shushing could stop.

Then my daughter started whining.

"I'm hungry, mom!"

Shhh! (frantic pointing at the numerous serious musicians)

"But I'm really hungry, mom!"

Shhh! (point, point)

"Why did we have to come here? It's so boring!"

(shocking, I know)

What's wrong with today's seven-year-olds, I have to wonder. Don't they know culture when they see it? :)

It was hard not to feel disappointed that my daughter wasn't a perfect angel during the concert. Unlike the time I took her to the ballet when she was six months old (she cooed adorably for awhile, then fell asleep)

All she wanted to do when we got home was play 'Avatar: the last airbender' with her friend. They were both the Avatar. And neither one was hungry after I threw together a quick dinner. What's wrong with these kids, anyway?

Hey, anyone want to play Avatar with me?

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

A Hole Is To Dig

With all the buzz about that darn NYTimes article on the demise of the picture book and the great rebuttals-- ( )

I decided I too shall rebut.

Because I love picture books. I adore picture books. I lurve them.

So I thought I'd post this fabulous Maurice Sendak illustration from Ruth Krauss' A Hole Is To Dig. One of the all-time great picture books, in my estimation. And it doesn't even have a narrative arc!

Subtitled "A First Book of First Definitions," the author thanks some kindergarten children, who I assume provided the amazing text. Words like 'A face is something to have on the front of your head' and 'The sun is to tell you when it's every day' and 'Cats are so you can have kittens'

Had to be written by kids. I just don't know any adults who are that perceptive. So let your kid be a kid and let your kid use her wonderful visual thinking to understand the concept of story and let your kid read picture books! As long as they want to, even when they're all growed up.

Because, like the final page of A Hole is To Dig says, "A book is to look at."

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Self-Portrait at 30

Going through a forgotten portfolio, I came upon this painting. What I remembered was working on it for many months, and then showing it to my (not very pleasant) housemate at the time. She looked at it and didn't say a thing.

So I figured it wasn't any good. And I didn't even like her!

Now I find it and say, 'wow!' I guess I need to learn not to listen to unpleasant people. Why has it taken me so long to figure this out?

Think of all the people in your life (including your inner critic) who in so many ways tell you it's no good and might as well give up. Now take a big eraser and erase them all!

Then find a critique group (or other supportive people) who want to consider what's good about what you're doing (and help you figure out what needs to be changed.) Surround yourself with people who believe in you and want you to succeed. And when you find them... or if you found them already.. give them a big hug.

Because we do need to believe in ourselves. But it's also great to have other people who do, too. (thank you, Secret Gardeners!)