Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Stories surround me.

1. A man in a suit riding a unicycle in a supermarket parking lot. He puts the unicycle away and gets out some clubs to juggle. I ask him if he is a clown and he says, "No, it's his lunch break."

2. At a light, two black dogs in the back of a car barking at a laughing man standing on the side walk.

3. An old man who walks to the park every day in his overalls. He is always smiling.

4. My son telling me Dad really wants to help with the homework, and we should stop working so they can work when Dad gets home from work.

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Throwing words in the flames.

I always feel like I'm the guy shoveling the coal on a train in one of those old b&w westerns. I don't shovel coal. I shovel words. Lots of words. I keep throwing them into the flames and hoping to purify the essence of what I'm trying to say. I also mine the coal, drag it on to the train with my bare hands and then shovel it into the fire. I'm on a steep hill and the train is at a complete stop. "I think I can. I think I can."Ooh, a children's book is helping me over this hill, too!

Sunday, May 08, 2005

I just received the first copies of my books. I really love the watercolors here. I'm just totally jazzed about writing books that will help kids read!  Posted by Hello

My mother's day portrait! Posted by Hello

Saturday, May 07, 2005

The Kingdom of Heaven

As a writer, I find all media moves me. I saw the Kingdom of Heaven last night directed by Ridley Scott, starring Orlando Bloom (he just not quite rugged enough for me) -- but still I liked this movie. I like the kingdom being within the mind and heart and not in a pile of dusty rocks in the middle of a far away desert. This is the kind of movie that draws story out of me. It makes me ask questions. I don't sleep well. I wake up early thinking about long ago and the horrible things people have faced. I think of the grace that people have found. Something inside me wants to tell stories like that, to stir up people, to not sugar coat our universe and open the doors to good questions.

Sunday, May 01, 2005

Catching a zephyr

My writing journey continues to surprise me. I think it's rough seas and then the skies part and my sails have caught a zephyr. I was able to spend some time with wonderful people over the weekend. SCBWI Western Washington's 14th Annual Conference really energized me. I rubbed shoulders with so many great folks -- Janet Lee Carey (she defines ethereal) , Dianne Hess, Jeanette Larson, Katherine Grace Bond (a soul asking all the right questions), Kathryn Galbraith (the heart of language), David Patneaude (knows what kids are about), Justina Chen Headley(hip, heartfelt, wonderful), Kirby Larson (making the world a better place), Janet Stevens (everyone should be having this much fun), Marion Dane Bauer (exploring the resiliency of the human heart), Scott Piehl, Wendy McClure (ROFLOL and sooo saavy and brave), Julie Romeis--there is no way to list out all the wonderful people that I was able to connect with! I guess the deepest thing that hit me was the absolute joy it is to be with people who care as much about children's literature as I do. I love to hear people talk about their lives, their projects, their hopes, tragedies, and, best of all, the stories they love. I feel that I'm on endless adventure -- I always call it -- "Mr. Toad's Wild Ride."