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Today is the 27th of November. For some of you, that means you have 27 ideas lined up like jewels on your desk. I have nothing to say to you. Keep doing whatever it is you’ve been doing. Never mess with what’s working.
But some of you have only 17 ideas or 14 or [sigh] 9. Let me be frank. It is now time to panic.
by John (Flickr: Panic button)
Panic can be a great motivator. But there are two kinds of panic. Only one is going to be useful here. We want nothing to do with the kind of panic that says, “See, I knew I couldn’t do this. I knew I wasn’t the kind of person who could have thirty ideas.” Stop. Immediately. No one wants to be around you when you are like that. Especially muses.
We are going for an entirely different kind of panic. We are going for elevated pulse, eyes wide open, “well let’s try something completely new today because we have to get 15 ideas in the next 3 days and isn’t that going to be crazy fun” kind of panic. We are going for a “get out of your comfort zone and go drink the world in until it pours out in ideas” kind of panic.
So, here are 5 ideas for creative panicking:
Are you sitting down at your desk? Why? That B.I.C. thing can be taken to an extreme, you know. If the ideas are not showing up at your desk, why are you still there? Why aren’t you out kayaking or dancing or sitting in a bubble bath? At the very least, you should be running through the halls yelling, “December is coming, December is coming.” People will just think you’re freaking out over holiday shopping so you’ll totally get away with it. But really, you’re signalling to your brain, “Today is not business as usual. Get out of your well worn little rut. We are going for a ride today.”
Are you putting yourself where you can hear rhythm? We’ve already talked about dancing but you could also find some kids to play jump rope with. Play a clapping and rhyming game with the kids at the bus stop. Or climb up a tree and pay attention for awhile. The world is made of rhythms. So are a lot of picture books.
Quick, who is your favorite illustrator? Go outside and look at everything as if it were one of their illustrations. What would that look like? What things would that illustrator notice or create out of what you are seeing? Try not to let yourself have words during this exercise. Just visuals. Then come back inside and pretend an editor has just called to say, “Edward Gorey/Diane Goode/Lane Smith/Pamela Zagarenski just called. They’d like to illustrate one of your books.” Write that book. Then pick another artist with a completely different sensibility and repeat.
Wait, aren’t you going somewhere today to eat pie? This is perfect. Crazy relatives, frazzled toddlers, small children meeting Aunt Cora’s special jello for the first time. There will be stories there. Watch for them. Offer to entertain someone’s two year old. Remember what being two was like. Take all the young cousins out in the backyard and help them build a snowfort or rake leaves or play tag. They will love you for it. And you will find a story.
And if you aren’t meeting up with relatives for Thanksgiving, where are you going today? Because I’ll bet there’s a story there too.
Look, the point is that panicking creatively is just about pulling out all the stops and flying at this task from some new angles. It’s about playing. So quit acting like such a grownup. When was the last time you sat down with some colored paper and cut it into shapes just because it was cool paper and you had scissors? When was the last time you laid on your belly in the grass and watched a tiny world go by? Have you drawn on your walls lately?
Loosen up a little. Grin like you have a secret. Play. Panic (creatively.)
Mylisa Larsen has been telling stories for a long time. This has caused her to get gimlet-eyed looks from her parents, her siblings and, later, her own children when they felt that certain stories had been embellished beyond acceptable limits. She now writes children’s books where her talents for hyperbole are actually rewarded.
She is the author of the picture books, Instructions for Bedtime (Katherine Tegen Books, January 2016) and If I Were A Kangaroo (Viking).
Well, by the time you read this little promotional missive I shall be en route to the best convention known to mankind – MALTACOMICCON in the capital city of Vallettaon the beautiful Mediterranean island of Malta.
Over the past six years I have been invited out a total of seven times by some of the most wonderful people you could ever hope to meet. I feel extremely humbled and honoured to be in this very privileged position. I now look on the organisers as great friends whom I visit every year on the run up to Christmas.
Truth told, my continued involvement with the guys this year, with the passing of my Mum has given me the impetus to carry on and get back into working again – indeed it gave me back my deadlines. Although I am still a few days off completing the final pencils, something I had hoped to pull back in time for the convention, I have, however completed all the layouts onto the Bristol board and will be showing those as stats along with the completed pencils for the pages thus far. To all intents and purposes the second book’s storytelling (the most important thing for me) is complete at long last. I just wish Mum was here to share that with me.
I am looking forward to showcasing and launching2NEW products, which will go on general release upon my return to the UK.
The first is my second Sketchbook: “12 – The Witching Hour”
The second is as yet a TOP SECRET, other than the Teaser Art below:
I am excited, as always and cannot wait to meet everyone there.
The Venue has to be seen to be believed; a medieval fortress with walls so thick you could not span it with arms outstretched. Little wonder, Malta has never been successfully invaded and conquered.
With this year’s events, I was remiss in publishing the Blogs from my notes I created upon my return from last year’s event. They remain languishing in limbo, but at some point it would be nice to write them up properly. I will however be Blogging about this year’s event, again upon my return.
In the meantime, watch out Twitter Fans for my Tweets –@TimPWizardsKeep – that is, if I can find the time during the convention. There is so much for folks to see and do there, it’s finding the time to fit it all in.
Oh, well, I’m off now, but look forward to telling of my exploits on the island this time around, real soon…
I've been a Molly Idle fan since I saw her first pieces through my Picture Book Artists Association message board. It took the rest of the world a short time to find her too, and award her a Caldecott Honor for FLORA AND THE FLAMINGO - which I interviewed her for HERE. Well, Molly and Flora are back, and this time it's winter with FLORA AND THE PENGUIN!
Q. So I heard a story that the idea for this story was almost serendipitous - it began with a light conversation between you and your editor? A. I would say it was entirely serendipitous! We were talking about how I was drawing the reflections in the water in Flora and the Flamingo, and Amy, my art director, said they reminded her of a reflected sheen on a sheet of ice. And I said something like, "Oh, if it were ice she'd be dancing with a penguin... " And then there was this prolonged pause... And then we both started talking at once: "The penguin would come up through a hole in the ice!" "The book could be all blue!" "They'd be ice skating!" Then we calmed down a bit and Amy said, "But first, let's finish THIS book."
Q. This is such a different color palette. How did working with an entirely different set of colored pencils affect your general mood? A. The colors of a book don't affect my mood nearly as much as the characters' expressions do. My mood tends to shift along with theirs. If Flora is smiling, I'm smiling while I draw her... If the penguin is completely grumpy, so am I. Brow furrowed, mouth turned down... Yesterday afternoon I was drawing yawning bunnies- I could barely keep my eyes open!
Q. Was it difficult to work with such a cool color palette after the warm one in FLORA AND THE FLAMINGO? A. Only at first. At first I would look at a finished piece and think, ridiculously, "It's not pink." I mean, of course it wasn't pink! But it took a while for me to warm up to the new palette [e: Ha! Warm up - no pun intended!] and feel like the pieces looked right in their cool blue hues.
Q. Flora seems to get in a bit of a bad mood in this book. Where did that come from? A. Well, don’t we all from time to time? And I thought if was important for Flora to be a really real little person. I mean, it would have been easy peasy to write a story where she's this idyllic child who's always cheery and never cross... But have you ever met anyone who is actually like that? I haven't. Even the best people loose it from time to time. We make poor choices. Do unkind things... We're human. But then, if given the chance, a good person will do their best to make right their wrongs. I think that’s the best part of our humanity.
Q. Obviously she gets over it and makes a lovely new friend. Was it difficult to work out this story? A. Yep. Though we had all these wonderful ideas that set the making of the book in motion, working out the source of Flora and the Penguin's conflict and resolution took me a while...
Q. It’s such a perfect winter book. How are you going to celebrate it? A. With the perfect winter treat- hot chocolate and marshmallows! Although, if you're a penguin, you'll probably prefer celebrating it with mackerel..
Q. I hope FLORA AND THE PENGUIN does as well or better than FLORA AND THE FLAMINGO - not a bad goal considering the Caldecott honor. What was it like to get the call? A. Oh wow... That was an awesome thing. Actually made me a bit weak in the knees... I remember holding onto the kitchen counter after I hung up the phone. Positively faint with happiness!
CONGRATULATIONS AGAIN! Check out this adorable book trailer for FLORA AND THE PENGUIN: .
GIVEAWAY! Candlewick has generously offered to send one free copy of FLORA AND THE PENGUIN to one of my lucky followers. Must live in the US or Canada to win - enter below.
It had been a while since I did a self portait. So what better reason to do one, than a fresh hair cut?
Before going to the hair dresser, I sat down and treated myself to a cup of tea. And after returning home -with bangs- I took out a bic ballpoint pen, and started drawing a selfie. The top half actually has a pretty good resemblance. But the nose, mount and chin are a bit 'off'.
NORTH CAROLINA (BASN)—Every year, we engage in the European cult ritual known as Thanksgiving.
Not surprisingly, the NFL promotes this holiday with its Thanksgiving Classic, which is a series of games played during the Thanksgiving holiday since the league’s inception in 1920.
This year’s game, however, had a little more meaning.
Why? Because, while we were eating Turkey and stuffing and cranberry sauce, the Dallas Cowboys played the Washington Redskins, which highlighted rookie sensation Robert Griffin III aganist Tony Romo..
Yes, the classic battle between Cowboys versus Indians, which is the premise of American’s violent culture, was showcased during this year’s so-called Thanksgiving Classic.
Plus, let’s not forget that psychologically the Dallas Cowboys are considered America’s team. Believe me, this is not a coincidence.
And as much as I love a good conspiracy theory, this, however, is the reality of this sad situation. (Read my article I am dreaming of an all-white Christmas and an all-white team on BASN)
Yes, this so-called Thanksgiving classic, should have been called a game of genocide.
Why? Because, symbolically and subconsciously it represents the psyche reenactment of the American Holocaust, in which over 19 million Indigenous people were exterminated.
Good Indian; Dead Indian
Remember, US Army General Phillip Sheridan said, “The only good Indian is a dead Indian.”
This, however, wasn’t only Sheridan’s philosophy.
It was also the military strategy of the United States government, in which Thomas Jefferson was also an advocate of and openly admitted with his own words.
“They [Europeans] are nations of eternal war. All their energies are expended in the destruction of labor, property and lives of their people.”
Some people, however, might not see it that way.
But the truth, is the truth.
According to Dr.Tinga Apidta’s book The Hidden History of Massachusetts: A Guide for Black Folks, Governor Joseph Dudley declared in 1704 a “General Thanksgiving”-not in celebration of the brotherhood of man-but for [God's] infinite Goodness to extend His Favors…In defeating and disappointing… the Expeditions of the Enemy [Indians] against us, And the good Success given us against them, by delivering so many of them into our hands…
Comedian Jon Stewart of the Daily Show, tried to make lite of the Day of Mourning for the Ingenious people by joking, “I celebrate Thanksgiving an old-fashioned way. I invited everyone in my neighborhood to my house, we had an enormous feast, and then I killed them and took their land.”
Unfortunately, despite Stewart’s attempt to be funny, this was the real history of Thanksgiving, even though we continue believing in the fairy tale rendition of Pilgrims and Indians holding hands and praying together.
Why? Because, there is nothing hilarious about the Holocaust involving the death of 19 million First Nation people, through the methods of constant warfare, chemical warfare through smallpox filled blankets, disease, sterilization, the 1830 Indian Removal, assimilation through education, the slaughter of the Buffalo, colonization, starvation, and reservation.
The myth and the massacre
Despite all of this, every year through out America, elementary school teachers continue to dress up little children in these stupid black Pilgrims costumes with those big buckled shoes and place feathers on their innocent little heads as if it was a made for Disney movie version of Pocahontas and John Smith, while sitting down for a big dinner, singing “One Little, Two Little Indians” with a table filled with pumpkin pies and cranberry.
Glen Ford, the Executive editor of Black Agenda Report, wrote an excellent article entitled The end of Thanksgiving:A Cause for Universal Rejoicing which brilliantly dissembled this myth, which has become apart of the so-called American dream and lexicon.
The fable (of Thanksgiving) attempts to glorify the indefensible, to enshrine an era and mission that represent the nation’s lowest moral denominators. Thanksgiving as framed in the mythology is, consequently, a drag on that which is potentially civilizing in the national character, a crippling, atavistic deformity. Defenders of the holiday will claim that the politically-corrected children’s version promotes brotherhood, but that is an impossibility – a bald excuse to prolong the worship of colonial “forefathers” and to erase the crimes they committed. Those bastards burned the Pequot women and children, and ushered in the multinational business of slavery. These are facts. The myth is an insidious diversion – and worse.
Ford was correct with assessment of this holiday which we shamefully celebrate as a day of thanks.
Why? Because there were no turkey, cranberry sauce or pumpkin pie served on that day but there were about 700 Pequot Indians slaughtered and killed by a savage group of Pilgrims.
William Bradford, who was the former Governor of Plymouth at that time, chronicled the event by giving his first hand account of the great massacre of 1637 that marked the beginning of what we know as Thanksgiving today:
Those that escaped the fire were slain with the sword; some hewed to pieces, others run through with their rapiers, so that they were quickly dispatched and very few escaped. It was conceived they thus destroyed about 400 at this time. It was a fearful sight to see them thus frying in the fire…horrible was the stink and scent thereof, but the victory seemed a sweet sacrifice, and they gave the prayers thereof to God, who had wrought so wonderfully for them, thus to enclose their enemies in their hands, and give them so speedy a victory over so proud and insulting an enemy.”
Shockingly, this day of mass murderer was proclaimed by Governor John Winthrop of Massachusetts as a day of Thanksgiving.
Thanksgiving Day, as a national celebration, in fact, was originally called for by George Washington, who was a slave owner and made a regular holiday later by Abraham Lincoln, who some considered a white suprmacist, right before he signed the Emancipation Proclamation in 1865, which did not free the slaves, when he assigned the fourth Thursday in November as the day of celebration. (Read my previous article on BASN entitled: The Political Football: Secession, Lincoln, and Obama)
The sacred made shameful
Unfortunately, wehave forgotten the true history of this day, in order to applaud touchdowns, missed field goals, and bobbled snaps.
We have, in fact, rejected the natural and embraced the unnatural.
We have shamefully accepted the killing of beautiful people, the theft of beautiful lands, the contamination of beautiful oceans and the pollution of sacred skies in order to foolishly celebrate the festivities of a football game.
Matter of fact, we have reduced a sacred people into a few racists mascots and lousy logos like the Cleveland Indians’Chief Wahoo and the Washington Redskins.
We sadly mock them by participation in Towahawk chops and chants during Atlanta Braves baseball games and Florida Seminoles football games, while some insensitive sports reporters write headlines like the Seminoles massacred the Gators.
This is, however shear insanity being paraded in front of the world to see.
Seriously, celebrating Thanksgiving is like Germany having a day of celebration for the Holocaust.
Let’s not forget that according to author John Toland’s The Autobiography of Adolph Hitler, Hitler’s concept of concentration camps as well as the practicality of genocide owed much, so he claimed, to his studies of English and United States history.
The North American Indian holocaust was also studied by South Africa for their apartheid program.
And even though, we would like to cover our eyes to this bloody truth, and live in denial, we must as Princeton professor Dr Cornel West stated ” must always view the world through the lens of what took place on 1492….”
And if 1492 is our historical reference point, …”when Columbus sailed the ocean blue” in the NiZa, the Pinta, and the Santa Maria, which would eventually be utilized as slave ships, we can’t forget the genocide of the Ingenious people, with eventually led to the African slave trade.
Therefore, in dispelling the myth of Thanksgiving, we also must shatter the myth of Christopher Columbus as well.
First of all, we must realize that Christopher Columbus never set foot in what is North America, or the United States. Matter of fact, Norwegian settlers preceded his arrival in America by some five hundred years. Second, instead of referring to him as an explorer, we should call him an exploiter, a gold digger, a mass murderous missionary, and a slave trader.
Honestly, in his quest to find India in the Caribbean, he mistaken called the inhabiants of Hispanola, now modern day Haiti, Indians, while thinking Cuba was Japan.
Historian Dr.John Henrik Clark remained us that when Christopher Colon set foot on Samana Cay, in the Bahamian Islands, he, in fact, set in motion western racism, colonization, mis-education, distorted history, and the bogus concept of the chosen people through a Manifest Destiny philosophy, which promoted the divine white right to conquer, kill, and Christianized another people . “In his mind, it was enslavement from the very beginning.” Clarke said.” His intention were not good.
Evidence of Columbus’s evil intentions were written in a letter to Spain’s Queen Isabella, when he wrote: We can send from here, in the name of the Holy Trinity, all the slaves and Brazil wood which could be sold.”
Plus, he added these words, to remove all doubt about his intentions.
“We shall take you and your wives, and your children, and shall make slaves of them, and we shall take away your goods, and shall do you all the mischief and damage that we can, and we protest that the deaths and losses which shall accrue from this are your fault .”
With that in mind, consider the fact that with Columbus’ arrival to the New World, who himself, was a professional slave trader,he along with his Spanish conquistadors killed up 5 million Tainos, whom were mis-named “Indians” in the Caribbean, within three years, according to primary historian of the Colombian era and Catholic priest Father Bartolome’de las Casas, who was an eye-witness to the destruction. De las Casas, in fact, wrote about it in his multi-volume “History of the Indies,” which was published in 1875.
(The Spaniards) “thought nothing of knifing Indians by tens and twenties and of cutting slices off them to test the sharpness of their blades. They forced their way into native settlements, slaughtering everyone they found there, including small children, old men, pregnant women, and even women who had just given birth. They hacked them to pieces, slicing open their bellies with their swords as though they were sheep herded into a pen. They even laid wagers on whether they could manage to slice a man in two at a stroke, or cut an individual’s head from his body, or disembowel him with a single blow of their axes. They grabbed suckling infants by the feet and, ripping them from their mothers’ breasts, dashed them headlong against the rocks. Others, laughing and joking all the while, threw them over their shoulders into a river, shouting: ‘Wriggle, you little perisher.’ They slaughtered anyone on their path …”
Nothing worth celebrating
Despite these horrible facts, the United States of America still considers him to be a American hero worthy of celebration and praise.
Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, however, doesn’t think so.
There’s nothing to celebrate,” said the Venezuelan president, who in 2002 signed a decree to change the name of its Oct.12 Columbus Day to the Day of Indigenous Resistance.
“They executed an aboriginal every 10 minutes – the biggest genocide registered in history” Columbus Day, which was made a federal holiday in 1971, in fact, is one of only two holidays to honor a person by name, the other of course is Martin Luther King Jr.
Not surprisingly, in a speech in 1989, President George Bush proclaimed: “Christopher Columbus not only opened the door to a New World, but also set an example for us all by showing what monumental feats can be accomplished through perseverance and faith.”
These words alone from the former President of the United States should put to rest all of this “New World Order” talk, because it is actually an Old World Order, which the West have been practicing since they came in contact with the First Nation People of the earth.
Records and recorded history
So, regardless, of how much we celebrate the laser precision passes thrown by Washington’s QB RGIII during their 38-31 victory against America’s team, the Dallas Cowboys, or how tender the turkey was, or how many times Tim Tebow is seen bending on one knee, we must keep the true meaning of this day always in our mines. (Read my previous article Testing the Testimony of Tebowism on BASN)
Why? Because, originally, football wasn’t America’s favorite sport.
It was the hunting and killing of “Indians”
And as a famous football coach once said, “You are, what your record says you are.”
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About the Book: What's a kid to do when it's another Thanksgiving at Grandma's full of relatives? Try to escape to the back yard and the swing set! Can they do it?
GreenBeanTeenQueen Says: Escaping Thanksgiving family drama can be hard for anyone, especially if you're a kid. There are guard dogs, overly affectionate aunts, zombies, and the great hall of butts! Giving a kids-eye view of family gatherings, Gavin and his cousin Rhonda try to make a break for it through a family filled obstacle course.
These two kids who aren't babies anymore but are too old for the teenager table weave their way through family to find their place at Thanksgiving. It's a humorous take on surviving family gettogethers when you're that pesky in between age and can't seem to fit anywhere. Some of the humor I think will be understood more by adults than the kids but it's a silly book to enjoy together and a funny take on your usual Thanksgiving read.
Best to all for a happy peaceful holiday. I’m thankful this year for a healthy family, good friends, cute cats, and a great job in the industry filled with the best people on earth. And I’m incredibly thankful for everyone reading this, especially the readers who have followed me from the original Beat through many different urls. And I’m super thankful for the Beat crew that helped make this a great year.
They can’t put on plays in the evening in Donetsk, because of the curfew. They have had to hang a sign on the theatre entrance saying ‘Please don’t bring weapons with you’ – but not everyone obeys. The stage is not just their calling anymore; it is literally home. The actors are living in the playhouse, because their houses have been destroyed by shelling or are on the frontline.
One recent Sunday afternoon they performed Chekhov. The sound of shelling roared from the suburbs, but inside the theatre a string quartet played Bach to the pre-performance crowd. The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want. He maketh me down to lie in green pastures… A frock-coated actor shepherded his flock into the darkened auditorium, leaving behind all the troubles and dread for two brief hours, two magical hours made of lighting and costume and make-believe – and words, words, Chekhov’s wry, witty, warmly humane war of words. That, to set against the real war outside.
Afterwards in the dressing rooms, where actors live now with their children in a world of mirrors and make-up, where jars of home-made gherkins jostle with tubes of facepaint, we drank to peace. And to art, to theatre and literature and music, all those hopelessly fragile, endlessly enduring things.
A Sandy Grave ~ January 2014 ~ Guardian Angel Publishing, Inc. ~ 2014 Purple Dragonfly 1st Place Picture Books 6+, Story Monster Approved, Beach Book Festival Honorable Mention 2014, Reader's Favorite Five Star Review
Powder Monkey ~ May 2013 ~ Guardian Angel Publishing, Inc. ~ Story Monster Approved and Reader's Favorite Five Star Review
Hockey Agony ~ January 2013 ~ Guardian Angel Publishing, Inc. ~ Story Monster Approved and Reader's Farvorite Five Star Review
The Golden Pathway ~ August 2010 ~ Guardian Angel Publishing, Inc. ~ Literary Classics Silver Award and Seal of Approval, Readers Favorite 2012 International Book Awards Honorable Mention and Dan Poynter's Global e-Book Awards Finalist
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The Magic City. E. Nesbit. 1910. 212 pages. [Source: Bought]
Dare I say I have a new favorite-favorite Nesbit?! I loved, loved, LOVED The Magic City. I enjoyed The Enchanted Castle. I enjoyed it very much. But it doesn't come close to describing how I feel about The Magic City. I LOVE it so much!
Philip, the hero, has been raised by his much older sister, Helen. When she marries a widower with a daughter, Lucy, around his own age, he is upset. He just knows that he will HATE Lucy. (It almost seems like he'd feel too guilty to hate his uncle--Helen's husband. But hating Lucy, well, it almost feels necessary.) Philip goes to his new home, and, his attitude could use some improvement. But if there is one thing that he doesn't hate about his new home is the nursery full of toys. At first, he's not allowed to touch anything--not even one toy! The nurse doesn't have permission from Lucy to allow Philip to play with her things. But the nurse in a brief moment of kindness changes her mind. Philip is allowed to play, to imagine. And he does. He builds, I believe, two wonderful cities. He builds them from toys--not just blocks, but all sorts of toys. He builds them from books. He builds with things he finds around the house. These cities are a work of an artist--a creator. But days later--I believe it is days--the nurse returns in a very bad mood. (She'd been called away for personal family business.) She is very angry. She yells. She threatens. She assures him that the cities will be torn down the very next day. By this point, his attitude has calmed down quite a bit. Most of the staff--the servants--like him if not love him now. In the middle of the night, he goes to see what his cities look like in the moonlight...and that decision changes everything. It is the beginning of the proper adventures!
I loved this one. I loved spending time with Philip and Lucy. I love how their relationship changes throughout the book. I loved meeting all the characters, or almost all the characters! I loved seeing the residents of the city. Particularly Mr. Noah and his son. The book is super-fun and just a joy to read. I loved the premise of this one too.
Philip drew a deep breath of satisfaction, went straight up to the nursery, took out all the toys, and examined every single one of them. It took him all the afternoon. The next day he looked at all the things again and longed to make something with them. He was accustomed to the joy that comes of making things. He and Helen had built many a city for the dream island out of his own two boxes of bricks and certain other things in the house — her Japanese cabinet, the dominoes and chessmen, cardboard boxes, books, the lids of kettles and teapots. But they had never had enough bricks. Lucy had enough bricks for anything. He began to build a city on the nursery table. But to build with bricks alone is poor work when you have been used to building with all sorts of other things. ‘It looks like a factory,’ said Philip discontentedly. He swept the building down and replaced the bricks in their different boxes. ‘There must be something downstairs that would come in useful,’ he told himself, ‘and she did say, “Take what you like.”’ By armfuls, two and three at a time, he carried down the boxes of bricks and the boxes of blocks, the draughts, the chessmen, and the box of dominoes. He took them into the long drawing-room where the crystal chandeliers were, and the chairs covered in brown holland — and the many long, light windows, and the cabinets and tables covered with the most interesting things. He cleared a big writing-table of such useless and unimportant objects as blotting-pad, silver inkstand, and red-backed books, and there was a clear space for his city.
And the city grew, till it covered the table. Philip, unwearied, set about to make another city on another table. This had for chief feature a great water-tower, with a fountain round its base; and now he stopped at nothing. He unhooked the crystal drops from the great chandeliers to make his fountains. This city was grander than the first. It had a grand tower made of a waste-paper basket and an astrologer’s tower that was a photograph-enlarging machine. The cities were really very beautiful. I wish I could describe them thoroughly to you. But it would take pages and pages. Besides all the things I have told of alone there were towers and turrets and grand staircases, pagodas and pavilions, canals made bright and water-like by strips of silver paper, and a lake with a boat on it. Philip put into his buildings all the things out of the doll’s house that seemed suitable. The wooden things-to-eat and dishes. The leaden tea-cups and goblets. He peopled the place with dominoes and pawns. The handsome chessmen were used for minarets. He made forts and garrisoned them with lead soldiers. He worked hard and he worked cleverly, and as the cities grew in beauty and interestingness he loved them more and more. He was happy now. There was no time to be unhappy in.
"Our job is to find the disconnected and connect them, to find people eager to pursue a goal and give them the structure to go achieve that goal. But just about always, we start with an already existing worldview, a point of view, a hunger that's waiting to be satisfied." -- Seth Godin
We met in the comments on Vicki's blog. We knew each other through our written words both there, and on our own blogs. We knew each other through profile pictures and tweets. When we finally met in person, it was so fun to add facial expressions and voices and hands to shake and hugs and the sounds of laughter to everything we already knew about each other.
All the parts of our session fit like the verses of a song. The chorus of our song was, "What if?"
I think we'll be singing this song we wrote for a long time to come. We'll sing the chorus in our classrooms, and we'll sing out the new verses to each other on our blogs until we find a way and a place for an in-the-flesh reunion!
There was way, way more to my time at NCTE than just this one session with these four other people. There were other first-time meetings with online friends and lots of happy reunions with far-flung friends. There were many sessions that provided new learning and deep thinking. There were the obligations of the poetry committee and the CLA board.
The Thanksgiving season is the perfect time to share an appreciation for food and cooking with kids. It is a time to be grateful for the food we have that nourishes us, and to share with others who don’t have as much. If you’re looking for inspiration, I have a book recommendation for you! With his signature folk-art illustrations, Tomie DePaola’s picture book Pascual and the Kitchen Angels recounts the legend of San Pascual, known to many Catholics (especially in Spain and Latin America) as the patron saints of cooks and the kitchen.
Pascual was born in 16th century Spain and was very devout from a young age. After working as a shepherd for most of his young life, he left home to become a Franciscan friar so he could help feed the poor. Because he had no formal education, the friars accepted him as a lay brother and he was assigned the task of cooking for the brothers. The trouble was, Pascual knew nothing about cooking! According to the legend that DePaola recounts, Pascual prayed to God for help, and angels came down from heaven and cooked a delicious meal fit for the friars. So, Pascual was able to fulfill his kitchen duties while never ceasing to pray.
San Pascual is known for living a life of prayer, humility, and service to others. The legend of his miraculous cooking is inspiring – it reminds us that cooking and eating can transcend the ordinary and become something that truly nourishes our souls and allows us to give to others.
“My thanks to my parents is vast,” says Toyin Spellman-Diaz, oboist with the Imani Winds woodwind quintet. “Without their help, I would never have become a musician.”
Many professional musicians I’ve interviewed have responded as Ms. Spellman-Diaz did, saying that their parents helped in so many ways: from locating good music teachers, schools, and summer programs, to getting them to lessons, rehearsals and performances on time, while also figuring out how to pay for it all. In addition, there are those reminders (often not well received) that parents tend to give about not forgetting to practice. Ms. Spellman-Diaz received her share of reminders, noting that “at some points, I didn’t feel like practicing. Dad’s going to be thrilled that I’ve admitted that it helped that he nagged me to practice. For decades he has been bugging me to admit that.”
But beyond these basics, when I ask musicians to recall something especially mhelpful that they’re thankful to their parents for in terms of furthering their musical development, the responses tend to focus on how a parent helped them find their own musical way.
Toyin-Spellman Diaz: The non-musical goal her parents had while looking for a good private flute teacher for their daughter during elementary school had a profound effect on Ms. Spellman-Diaz’s musical future. “They wanted an African-American teacher so I could see a classical musician who looked like me, to show me that there were African-American classical musicians out there,” she says. Her second flute teacher was also black, as was one of the three oboe teachers she had during high school, after she switched instruments. “It absolutely made an impact and is partly why I play in the Imani Winds.” This woodwind quintet of African American musicians was started in 1997 with much the same goal her parents had: to show the changing face of classical music. However, one of her flute teachers was also into jazz. “I think my parents were trying to steer me toward jazz. They would have been really excited if I became a jazz flutist,” she says. But classical music won out, and that was fine, too. “With my parents, it was knowing when to let go and let me find my own voice, my own passion for it.”
Jonathan Biss: This pianist credits his parents with creating an “atmosphere that I didn’t feel I was doing it to please them or because it was good for me. I was doing it because I loved music.” When he was young, he too sometimes needed practice reminders. “But if they said, ‘Go practice,’ which wasn’t often, it was always accompanied by ‘if you want to do this.’ Their point was that you don’t have to do anything you don’t want to, but if you choose to do it, you have to do it well.”
Paula Robison: After she started flute at age eleven, her father realized that she had a special flair for it and “saw a possible life for me as a musician,” says Ms. Robison. He knew regular practice was essential, but he didn’t want to become an overbearing, nagging parent. So when she was twelve, they shook hands on an agreement: she promised to practice at a certain time every day and if she didn’t, it would be all right with her for him to remind her. That went well until one day during her early teens when she was “lounging around on the couch” during the hour she was supposed to practice. He reminded her of their agreement. She says she angrily “stomped up the stairs” to practice and “whirled around and shouted, ‘Someday I’m going to thank you for this!’” And she has. “I thank my father every time I pick up the flute.”
Liang Wang: When asked what he was most grateful to his parents for, this New York Philharmonic principal oboist says, “They allowed me to be what I wanted to be. A lot of parents want their kid to fit into what they think the kid should do. Oboe was an unusual choice. There aren’t many Chinese oboe players.” But he fell in love with the sound of the oboe. They supported him in his choice. He notes that his mother “wanted me to pursue my dream.”
Mark Inouye: When asked about the best musical advice he received as a young musician, Mark Inouye recalls something his father said to him at about age eleven, after a particularly disappointing Little League baseball game “in which I had played poorly,” says this principal trumpet with the San Francisco Symphony Orchestra. The pep talk his father gave him carried over to his beginning efforts on trumpet, too. He says his father told him, “You may not be the one with the most talent, but if you are the one who works the hardest, you will succeed.”
Sarah Chang: “Mom understood I had enough music teachers in my life. The best thing she did was leave the music part to everyone else and be a mom,” says violinist Sarah Chang, who started performing professionally at age eight. “Bugging me about taking my vitamins, eating my vegetables, fussing about the dresses I wore in concerts. . . She was always encouraging, my number-one supporter.”
Headline image credit: Classical Music. Notes. Via CC0 Public Domain.
I'm thankful for a lot of things this year. The special parts of my life that I give thanks daily for: family, friends, my home, the resources we've been blessed with, etc. But, I'm also thankful for my love of reading. In the first half of this year, I lost it a bit. I couldn't pick up a book and want to finish it... couldn't seem to keep my attention on anything. For the first time in my life, I didn't want to sit down and read at the end of a long day. I didn't want to browse books online or talk about books with my other book nerd friends. No podcasts, audiobooks, or long visits to the library to browse. I sort of lost myself for awhile.
Around September, I got it back and I realized that loving books and reading is a gift. I am truly thankful that I have this little world -- really, a big world -- of bookish friends and book clubs and awesome podcasts to listen to. I'm so thankful for audiobooks and people to talk about them with. I'm just thankful for books. Period.
I'm spending my weekend participating in the Thankfully Reading Weekend, hosted by Jenn at Jenn's Bookshelves. Relaxed weekend, reading when I can, and focusing on the important things rather than Black Friday shopping madness. Amen for that.
I'm starting off with The Book of Strange New Things by Michael Faber and if I get through that with a 3-year-old running around, it will be a Thanksgiving miracle!
I've been neglecting my poor blog lately because I've been so super busy on some very exciting (but top secret) book projects. More info to follow... So I thought I'd post a few of the daily doodles I've been doing. Unfortunately I haven't been able to post these on the @Daily_Doodle twitter account for some technical reason that I can't fathom, so they are having an outing here instead.
a job I love, in a city I love, with people I respect and admire; the readers of and commenters on this blog who provide on-going enlightenment and entertainment; health, happiness, and the friends to enjoy it with.
I hope you have a lovely holiday filled with the things that make you happy.
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I have a lot to be thankful for this year. First, my Kiddo is happy and healthy and living in California with her new husband and I will be seeing them at Christmas when they come to visit.
I'm thankful for my friends and family, even if I don't get to see them very often. And I am thankful for my online friends, even though I haven't met many of them. One of the things I love about blogging is getting to know so many people all over the world, an opportunity that can be found in few other ways. Thank you to all my followers and readers. Your presence on my blog is much appreciated.
Thanksgiving was hit hard in WWII because of rationing and it wasn't lost on the people who drew comic strips for the newspapers, as you can see:
November 25, 1943 Rationing on the Home Front:
November 25, 1943 Rations on the Front Lines:
I wish everyone a happy and bountiful Thanksgiving
Happy Turkey Day, all! I'm spending my Thanksgiving with the family and cats, at home, my favorite place to be.
And I won't be shopping this weekend; I just loathe the whole Black Friday thing. I might order some books off the internetz, or shop at Etsy for Small Business Saturday. But otherwise, I'm curling up with a book.
Look at this stack I brought home from Bouchercon! I will admit, some of these are not books I would be reading if they weren't in my book bag. But I wanted to read out of my comfort zone for a change, so I'm even going for a cozy mystery with cupcakes on the front. I'll let you know how it all works out...
Hello, dear friends! Today I am coming at you with this most delightful of posts. I recently took a trip to Baldwin’s Book Barn in West Chester, PA. I actually discovered its existence when our own Wendy tweeted out this directory for independent bookstores and I discovered that I had this whimsical wonder practically in my own backyard! I knew I just had to take the trip. It was also featured in Buzzfeed’s list of the Great American Bookstores. I hope you can find similarly deserving treasures in your neighborhood! The building itself was built in 1822 and was an actual farmhouse until it founds its new life as a bookstore in 1946. Book lovers have been flocking to it ever since. This is the main entrance. It has a coal stove because of course it does. It’s a 19th century farm building. I was obviously and utterly... Read more »
BookEnds is closed for Thanksgiving. We will be taking this time to enjoy ourselves with family and friends and celebrating all we have to be thankful for in our personal as well as our business lives (which are often intertwined).
We hope only the best for all of you and thank you for continuing to come back to the blog and participate.
What book am I thankful for today? Honestly? COMPULSION. I am thankful that so many people invested their time, talent, energy, and resources into this book. From my amazing critique partners, to my beta readers, fabulous editors and my agent, to every person at Simon Pulse who have all contributed to bring this book into the world. I'm also thankful for the authors who read early copies and said nice things about it, and the authors who have been generous in sharing their advice and expertise, here at Adventures, elsewhere on the web, and in person. But most of all, I am thankful for the readers, librarians, and booksellers who have so kindly embraced this book. I appreciate and love each and every one of you!
The book I'm most thankful for would have to be Harry Potter (I'm going to cheat a little, and use the whole series!), because I'm horrible at remembering what books shaped me into the person I am today without the Harry Potter novels overshadowing them. I adored those books growing up, and attended every single midnight release for them. To say I wasn't obsessed with Harry, Ron, and Hermione's adventures would be a vast understatement. My parents didn't understand it at the time (I'm still trying to convince my mom to read them), but those books are what opened me to reading. Without them, I'm not sure who I would be today. My best guess is probably someone who wouldn't have books stacked in every available place in my room and office. I think I speak for a lot of people when I talk about Harry Potter. For my generation, it was a huge gateway to reading and discovering new worlds in other books after our copies of Harry Potter started falling apart from too many rereads.
Lisa Gail Green
This month I’m most thankful for The Selection. Not because I read it, but because my daughter, AKA the reluctant reader, read it and demanded the rest of the series immediately under threat of believing I no longer encourage her to read. Probably the happiest moment this month for me was watching her remove the books from her bag in the car and start texting pics to her friends, saying, “Look what I got!” Wish I could’ve taken a picture of her at that moment. So thanks, Kiera Cass! You rock.
I have two that my mind immediately jumps to. The first is OUTLANDER by Diana Gabaldon. It's not YA but it opened my reading up to adult historical fiction again, and I had been off it for a few years. OUTLANDER really reminded me of why I love it and i've devoured the entire series in a matter of months! The relationships, the decadent writing, the history and absolutely everything captivated me from the first word.
The second is Laurie Halse Anderson's THE IMPOSSIBLE KNIFE OF MEMORY. This book was the first book I had ever read by LHA and it was absolutely brilliant. The story was heart breaking but so incredibly realistic. The characters reached me in a way not a lot often can. The romance wasn't the main focus but it became a pillar of strength for Hayley. The relationship between Hayley and her father Andy was heart wrenching, beautiful, frustrating, destructive and yet LHA was able to weave an underlying thread of hope that completely struck a match in my heart. My experience of reading this book has stuck with me for almost a year and I absolutely know it's one that I will be rereading soon and frequently.
The book I am most thankful for is KILLING RUBY ROSE because not only is it a fun and thrilling read, it also brought the fabulous Jessie Humphries into my life. The full story involves much rambling about the stars aligning the right way several times, but the short version is this: The incredibly talented Megan Miranda recommended I read KILLING RUBY ROSE because it had the mixture of humor and darkness I was striving for in my WIP. So I read it, loved it, and when I saw that Jessie Humphries was a #PitchWars mentor, I had to submit to her. To my happy-dancing delight, she picked me to be part of her team, and her feedback on my WIP has been very helpful in finding the right balance between laughter and horror. As I finish my revisions and prepare to query, I’m thankful for Megan and Jessie and the book that brought us all together.
I'm going to say that the book I'm thankful for this year is I'll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson. The writing style is beautiful, the characters are easy to relate to and the plot itself is just weaved in perfectly within the two different point of views.