Sunday, March 11, 2007


I'm in the midst of production phase right now. My Picture Windows Books -- 3 easy reads --are all in various draft stages. My PW editors are happy with what I have so far, so I'm jumping forward. On Monday, I will chat with my Barron's editor about my picture book project.

I was accepted into the local SCBWI retreat. Susan Burke, an Associate Editor at Atheneum Books for Young Readers, an imprint of Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing, is reading my manuscript pages. The competition was stiff, and I'm surprised to have made it in.

I read this fabulous essay by Eudora Welty this weekend about the purpose of setting in writing. I came away with this deeper sense of purpose about connecting character to place. The best stories understand how the human soul is shaped by place. Eudora came from Mississippi. Seven generations of my family came from Louisville, Mississippi. I get that connection to place. My heart will ever be with Mema and Granddaddy Smoot and the feel of fresh okra from the garden, the smell of sheets drying on the line, the sour bite of Hudson apples, the warmth of the woodshop, the view of hundreds of azelaes on the hill, the clank of the furnance through the hall floor grate, the hum of air conditioner in the living room, and the taste of sweet iced tea in big globed glasses.

Obadinah Heavner and I met at her studio. What a lovely day. We had many cups of tea and talked seriously as creators. I'm a want-a-be illustrator and Obadinah put down the law of what that is really going to look like. It felt like opening the door into an entire new world. I am so glad that I can still perceive doors into new worlds. I hope I opened a door or two for Obadinah as a writer.

“When one door of happiness closes, another opens; but often we look so long at the closed door that we do not see the one which has been opened for us.” Helen Keller

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