Sunday, February 25, 2007

Revision in NYC

My yearly trip has become a place of REVISION for me. It is a time for me to revision my career as a children's writer. I open myself up to the possibilities. It's one place where I focus on the task at hand. I search myself to climb every mountain and to ford every stream -- to lay hold of my dreams. I let go of the closed doors that I've smashed into and begin to look for the open windows. (I'm a shameless fan of The Sound of Music.)

This year did not let me down. I always join with fellow illustrators and writers in NY and do some touristy stuff. This year I bought a NYC CityPass. Somehow this soaking in of the wonderful city, of this New York, gets mixed with my whole revision process. This year was no exception.

On Sunday, after enjoying the last keynotes of the SCBWI conference, having my obligatory books signed, wrapping up touch base conversations and general book research, I joined several friends on a harbor journey around Manhattan. Illustrators John Shelley and Obadinah Heavner and writers, Chris Eboch, Marion Holland, and myself completed the group. This is the boat we took. I'm not sure if this picture totally gives justice to the blueness of the sky. Yes, that is ice on the river. It was a frigid day. This image is reminiscent of the beginning of every creative journey I've ever taken. There's a blue sky, it's cold, but the boat looks sound, the ice on the banks is a surprise, but my heart tells me there is a swift moving story out there.

Next -- Glory! I'm out on the creative river and what do I find but Lady Liberty and shining light. Untold thousands have found this pathway before me. Isn't that just the way it is when a project starts rolling.

Here is the brillant photographer John Shelley. Thank you for permission to use these photos. You really get better pictures if professionals are involved. Seek good advice and the most expert help when creating any project.

The light began to fade, turning the sky the color purple. It took about 11 months to build the Empire State Building. Hold that in your heart the next time you feel that your creative journey is taking a long time.

Back on the shore the ice seems different. In the beginning the ice on the river's edge seems forbidding, after that you see that the edges of your story are full of complex possibilities.

The next phase was a walk across town and added in were batches of meaningful conversation. We stopped at Ollie's Noodle House for little dishes and time to warm up. We shared our vision of the next step on our creative journey. I can not express the importance of narrating your vision to respected colleagues. Do it. It might change everything. You might find yourself in front of some pretty big lights.

Times Square -- Chris E., me, Obadinah and Marion

Next up was the awesome St. Patrick's Cathedral. The luck of the Irish was with us. Keep working. Make something that lifts the soul and reaches across generations.

Last up, we stopped in a diner for lovely cups of rice pudding. Several heads were nodding by this time, but the journey, ah, the journey, what a treasure it is, how much joy spills into your soul and warms the depths of your heart. This was my revision in New York.

Half my life is an act of revision.

John Irving

I still have more news to come...

No comments: