Sunday, February 26, 2006

More Inspiration and Stuff

I went to the Western Washington University 3rd Annual Bond Children's Literature Conference this weekend. Wow! Amazing! Laurie Halse Anderson is just as "real" as I thought she would be. She was a fun speaker and fab fab fab story teller. I'm a mad woman in the woods, too, so I could absolutely relate. Next up, it was Deborah Wiles. Let's give a hand to those Mississippi roots! Oh, there is some kind of cosmic connection between me and Deborah. She seems a bit more driven than me, but just as connected to place. She made me think about my connections. I grew up going to Nanih Waiya. My ancestors sprang out of the earth there. That was their beginning. It's nice to know that's where it all started. Next up was Jon Agee. I hope I figure out how to stay young in my heart like him. He felt like a kid. I don't think I've ever seen anyone so in touch with the inner child as this guy.

Well, I continue to live a really cool life and my cool quote for the day is:

Greek poet Pindar (522-443 B.C.)

He who this morning smiled, at night may sorrow;
The grub today’s a butterfly tomorrow.

(Odes of Condolence)

Sunday, February 19, 2006

Scoring, the Surface and Fatigue

I'm grading tests right now. I score a certain "not to be named" college placement test to help support my writing business. It does help, but it strips the creativity out of me. I'm supposed to have all this power and freshness after I've put in a full day's work.

Enough whining, I'd like to muse for a minute. I'm looking at the surface of writing right now. I lean toward the onion theory of story. Stories are layers. You keep adding layer after layer of character, plot, setting and then you have a book. Here's something weird to me; I don't really keep my eye on the depths of the novel -- theme, imagery, voice. My writing is about the details and that is where I find the saying "God is in the details" really working for me. I think of this like Michelangelo's work. He's got this piece of marble and he knows that David is inside it. He begins to sculpt and eventually the thing he saw in the beginning appears. I wonder if he really saw the finished project in the beginning. I see a mess of evocative, unconnected ideas. For me, in the beginning, story bubbles forth as a glorious muddled confusion, and then over time, it starts to have a definite shape. Later, toward the end is the deep magic, like when the Secret Garden starts to do its thing. And then finally I reach revelation. It is here that I realize the limitation of story; it's finite boundaries. A story is a surface, simple like a ball or complex like a coastline. We humans are the one's that set boundaries. We write beginnings and ends. There is artifice to this. The good writer tries to leave the doors cracked open a bit. There are really no beginnings and no ends. I love it when a writer makes me believe that this character went on and lived a "happily ever after" life or at least an interesting life. It's a joy to create a surface.

I working very hard right now and I'm feeling conflict between the creative process with every day life.

Trifles go to make perfection, and perfection is no trifle.

Michelangelo di Lodovico Buonarroti Simoni
Italian architect, painter, & sculptor (1475 - 1564)

Saturday, February 11, 2006

Novel Push, Lost MS, Terrible Horrible No Good VERY Bad Day and Buzz

I'm about to start the 2006 novel push. It's the time of the year where I write another rough draft that I will pick at for the next few years. I'm have a bit of trouble narrowing the focus this year. I am almost to the point where I'm going to flip a coin.

I lost an entire ms this week and had to rewrite the thing! I can't believe I didn't save the thing, but that is the only logical conclusion. My programmer husband, "SAVE, SAVE, SAVE!"

Read my Verla Kay post to find out about my terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day.

I'm told I might win free books if I buzz about this :

Lauren Barnholdt has an upcoming chat at .

Here's the info:

Next Thursday evening, February 16, 2006
Lauren Barnholdt's Guest Chat beings at
9-11 p.m. Atlantic/ Canada
8-10 p.m. Eastern
7-9 Central
6-8 Mountain
5-7 Pacific

Go check it out, O tech savvy ones.

I'm off to watch Wallace and Gromit and the Curse of the Were Rabbit!

"Gromit, that's it! Cheese! We'll go somewhere where there's cheese!" - Wallace

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

My Starry Night in Crayon

So here it is by request. My Starry Night drawn at the MoMa and brought to you in living crayon!

New York, New York

I'm back from my New York trip. I had the best time ever. I saw Hairspray. It was lots of fun, but I was still on Seattle time. I went to the MoMa. Whoa. There is this black tunnel and you walk down it and at the end is this surreal red twilight room. I sketched Van Gogh's The Starry Night and the guard in the room said I had done the best job he'd ever seen anyone do. -- for an amateur, of course. BTW I only want a little bit of the Van Gogh mojo.

Museum Highlights -- I love Piet Mondrain. Here's my personal fav -- (Dutch, 1872-1944), Composition in Oval with Color Planes . I also love Georges-Pierre Seurat. Especially Port-en-Bessin, Entrance to the Harbor,1888, oil on canvas; this linked photograph doesn't even began to capture the ethereal light on this canvas. It's the world as it should be.

I met David Almond!!!! Rejection is Nowt! I'm holding that in my heart.

Cool chats with many great authors. Carol Snyder, thanks for the illuminating and nurturing conversation. You always bring me back to the heart and soul of children's books. Greg Fishbone has a book on the way. I was able catch a glimpse of Septina Nash -- very cool. A new bride, a new agent, a new book; he's having a very good year. Hello, to Sandy and Liz, Highlights 2005 alum. It was good to see you.

Thanks SCBWI for the best panel discussion I have ever heard. To pull in the publishers of Scholastic, Penguin and Randomhouse all at the same time, mucho illuminating. Brilliant.

I want to say more, but that will have to be later.