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1. Warvick Davis to Star in Bhojpuri film

Warvick Davis (Professor Flitwick) has joined a Bollywood cast for a film called Chingari. The film is to be produced and directed by Shrey Shrivastav, who confirmed that Davis would be playing "a journalist from an international channel, who is doing a documentary on Bihar police", as well as have a cameo in the film. Warvick Davis will be traveling to Mumbai to play his roles. IBNLive reports:


 "He is doing a cameo in the film. He plays a journalist from an international channel, who is doing a documentary on Bihar police. In the film, he is shown to have come down to do some research and we have a couple of interesting comedy sequences with him."

... the director says, "I know Warvick through common friends and when we spoke to him, we realised that he was very keen to do a Bollywood film."

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2. comics at hay!

Hurrah! We got comics into this year's Hay Festival! Here are our two fabulous editors (and fellow contributors!) Woodrow Phoenix and Rob Davis, holding a lovely copy of our graphic novel, NELSON.



If you follow my blog, you will have seen loads about NELSON and our launch events already, but if not, here's a little peek:



NELSON's a comic book for adults, in which 54 of Britain's top creators each took a day in the year of a woman's life and, basically, we created a person. I got 1973, when Nel was five years old. So Rob Davis had taken 1968, the year Nel (and her brother, Sonny) were born, and made a comic, then Woodrow Phoenix took 1969, my studio mate Ellen Lindner took 1970, Jamie Smart took 1971, and another of my studio mates, Gary Northfield, took 1972. I read all of their comics, then decided what would happen in the next year of Nel's life, and created three pages of comics about her first day at school, in 1973. The book continues like that, with creators each taking a year until 2011, when Rob, who's initial idea it was, brings it back to a close.



Here we are on Hay's Starlight Stage - me, Woodrow, Rob and Kristyna Baczynski talking with actor and journalist Lisa Dwan.



There was already lots going on at Hay when we arrived! We met up with Oliver Jeffers in the Green Room, who urged us to come along and paint on his Jumpers wall. We saw MP Tom Watson and got him to come along and paint with us.


Oliver Jeffers, Lisa Dwan, Woodrow Phoenix, Kristyna Baczynski, Tom Waton, Sarah McIntyre, Rob Davis


It was funny, because we'd been having a big debate in the van about the way Oliver always puts matchstick legs on his characters, even the big hefty ones, like a bear. Our camp was very divided on whether we liked that schtick or not. Rob didn't know Oliver's work, so when he looked it up his website on his phone, he laughed to see the very first image was Oliver's book, Stuck, which we all decided was the past tense of having stick legs.



The idea was that everyone would paint a jumper on one of the little bean characters, then sign at the bottom. Here's a Gruffalo jumper by Axel Scheffler, who was just leaving when we arrived. And you can spot a few signatures below, including Ian McEwan and Salman Rushdie.



Kristyna (whose name I learned is pronounced "kriss-TEN-ah", like the number ten), Lisa and Rob having a go at painting:



And Oliver drawing up a few new characters for us to paint. I didn't quite hear the directions, that we were only supposed to paint a jumper, so I gave mine a bi

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3. Pubicity Romp with Katie Davis

Katie Davis

Do you get twitchy at the thought of Twitter? Do mailing lists make you want to write an angry letter to the editor? Do QR codes sound like French to you?

Let Katie Davis sort out all the ins and outs of publicity for you. In her new book, How to Promote Your Children’s Book, Katie covers everything possible in a whirlwind tour of the current landscape of publicity. It’s not an in-depth tutorial, but a rapid fire survey which helps you understand the possibilities of each publicity effort, so that you can prioritize where you want to put your efforts.

Here’s a look at the Table of Contents

  • Plotting Your Strategy
  • Are you Out of Print?
  • Where are You?
  • Join Up!
  • I’m a Twitter Twit!
  • Give More Than You Get
  • Being Selfishly Unselfish
  • Your Website and What’s Wrong With It
  • Working with a Designer
  • The Secret Sauce
  • A Fake Angry Letter about Facebook
  • Ways to Build SEO
  • Mailing Lists
  • Blogging
  • Newsletters
  • Book Festivals
  • School Visits
  • Book Store Appearances
  • Skype Visits
  • Love Your Library
  • Printed Giveaways
  • Book Trailers
  • Shine the Power of YouTube
  • Contests
  • Launch Parties: Real v. Virtual
  • Unexpected Ways to Promote
  • QR Codes and How to Use Them
  • Media
  • Do’s and Don’ts
  • The End. . . of the Book
  • Questions and/or Feedback
  • Resources
  • Independent Book Stores
  • Book Bloggers

What has Katie left out? Nothing!
BTW, the Book Trailer chapter mentions my ebook, The Book Trailer Manual.
So, go and read and prioritize your publicity efforts for your next book!

Giveaway

Here’s the thing. Katie has offered to giveaway a copy of this new resource for publicity. Leave a comment below with the URL of your favorite book trailer. I’ll look them over, pick MY favorite book trailer of what you offer and decide who gets the giveaway. Deadline to post is midnight on Monday, February 20.

Other Stops on the Blog Tour Schedule

 

Feb 3 – Creative Spaces
  • Feb 6 – DearEditor.c

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  • 4. Cast Sum Up Harry Potter in Two Words, Behind the Scenes Look at Stunts in "Part 2"

    Yahoo! Movies asked members of the cast from "Harry Potter" to sum up the series in two words. The answers ranged from "crazy fun" to "bloody brilliant." Find out who said what by watching the video at this link. Cast members who participated included Evanna Lynch, Mark Williams, Jason Isaacs, Warwick Davis, producers David Heyman, David Barron and director David Yates.

    MSN UK also released an exclusive behind the scenes clip focusing on the stunt doubles for Daniel Radcliffe and Tom Felton while they shot a scene from the Room of Requirement. Watch it below or over here.

    &lt;a href="http://video.uk.msn.com/watch/video/harry-potter-and-the-deathly-hallows-part-2-clip-msn-exclusive/2ts8l8yo?src=v5:embed::" title="Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 clip (MSN Exclusive)" target="_new"&gt;Video: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 clip (MSN Exclusive)&lt;/a&gt;&lt;/object&gt; "Deathly Hallows: Part 2" is now available on Blu-ray and DVD in the U.K. and U.S.&lt;/body&gt;&lt;/html&gt;

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    5. Harrods Blu-Ray and DVD Launch Interview: "You'll remember Potter as people's childhood" [Full Transcript]

    Yesterday, 1st December, Leaky attended the Blu-ray and DVD release event at Harrods, where 300 fans had their copies of "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2" signed by Warwick Davis (Professor Flitwick and Griphook), James Phelps (Fred Weasley), Oliver Phelps (George Weasley), Mark Williams (Arthur Weasley) and Jessie Cave (Lavendar Brown). Attendees at the launch event received goody bags stuffed with t-shirts, scarves, the film's soundtrack, stickers, keyrings and more! Leaky was given the opportunity to ask the actors questions in a press roundtable shortly before the signing and you can find the full transcript of that interview below, with the audio and photographs from the event to follow later this evening.

    Update: Full audio of the interview can be heard right here!

    "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2" is (finally!) out on Blu-Ray and DVD in the UK from today, 2nd December.

    Interview with Warwick Davis (Professor Flitwick and Griphook), James Phelps (Fred Weasley), Oliver Phelps (George Weasley), Mark Williams (Arthur Weasley) and Jessie Cave (Lavendar Brown) at Harrods, London on the 1st December 2011.

    What was the last scene you filmed on the very last film?
    Warwick Davis: I think it was something to do with the dwarf and whats-his-face…

    Bogrod?
    WD: Yeah! Don't quote me on whats-his-face! [Sorry Warwick!] That was my last day on what was officially the last day, that was my last day.
    Oliver Phelps: Mine was filming with James on the battlement sequence when Fred and George see Voldemort's army coming in. That was all done ad lib and that was quite cool.
    James Phelps: Same!
    Jessie Cave: Mine was my death scene. Which is quite fitting, really.
    Mark Williams: Mine was the Great Hall, the big Great Hall scene, mine was the same day as Alan Rickman's and Thewlis' and a lot of other people, a lot of us wrapped at the same time.

    Rosi for Leaky: Because [James and Jessie] had big death scenes, or seen death scenes, do you feel that meant you had more of a final end to your time on the films than maybe other people will have had?
    WD: Clever!
    MW: See, you don't get away with anything with this lot.
    JC: I definitely -- it was really nice kind of ending even though I was--
    MW: Nice?!
    JC: Not nice! Sort of…
    MW: Nice as in precise.
    JC: Yes, precise! Precise ending, full stop.
    JP: For me it kind of seemed like a normal scene because I didn't do anything but it was the fact that because it was in the great hall--
    MW: Did you fall asleep?
    JP: I did in rehearsals yeah. Because we've filmed in the great hall for like ten years, we've shot so many things there so it just seemed like another great hall scene to be honest with you, but on reflection I guess it was a fitting end. Luckily it was in the last movie and not the first.
    WD: I died and then I was alive again. It's funny because when you do these death things you want to look good and I said to David Yates, I could be death like this [twists self] I gave him a few options, but he went for the most contorted one, you see, which was really uncomfortable and I just lay there for six hours watching Voldemort strut up and down. But it was quite funny because on one occasion they put so much blood everywhere, you can't really see in the film, but there was gallons of this fake blood all round--
    MW: --it was really slippery--
    WD: and Ralph slipped on it at one p

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    6. nelson exhibition at london's cartoon museum!

    You just can't keep Nelson within the pages of a book! Here's the most recent contribution to the collaboration with Blank Slate Books, from my fab studio mate Lauren O'Farrell (aka Deadly Knitshade). The story in the book goes up to 2011, but Lauren's taken it to 2012, when Nel writes a book about her little brother, Sonny. We all got to see her creation for the first time at the Cartoon Museum, at the launch of an exhibition of comic roughs and final artwork from our book. You can see some of our pictures on the wall behind Lauren... exciting!



    Look at all the detail Lauren put into this! She was up til 4am the night before, making these tiny polaroid photos of scenes from the book. The exhibition runs until late February, so do pop by for a look! It's just a couple streets away from the front of the British Museum.
    Edit: I just found out that you can bid on Nel at the Gosh Comics party on Friday, and the profits will go to Shelter's charity for the homeless! Go look at Lauren's amazing post about her Knitted Nel.



    Speech! Speech! Here are our fab editors and fellow creators Woodrow Phoenix and Rob Davis, the original two who mused about the Nelson book idea on Twitter and then took it forward with our whole gang of 54 creators. (My web designer, Dan Fone, took the photo.)




    A lot of us listened to the speeches from the first floor:



    Here's Woodrow's mum, proudly holding our new book. Mrs Phoenix is more of a legend than all of us put together: she's fostered more than 200 kids, founded loads of programmes in the community, and was the first black woman in Britain to be awarded the MBE, in 1973, which she turned down unless the council would agree to give her a house for her foster children. And they did. (I once rang up Woodrow when we were both working on the DFC and caught him on the way to Buckingham Palace, where he was taking his mum to collect her OBE.)



    Here's my fab studio mate Ellen Lindner signing a copy of Nelson. She tackled the 1970 slot in Nel's life, three years ahead of my 1973 story, with former DFC colleague (and contributor to the new weekly Phoenix Comic!) Jamie Smart and our studio mate Gary Northfield taking the years between our comics.


    Photo by Dan Fone

    We were all very proud to see our artwork hanging on the walls. I was surprised that curator Anita O'Brien decided to use my pencil rough instead of my inked page. But she made good sense when she explained that the pencil had a lot of life and looked very different from the final artwork, so it was m

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    7. Harry Potter Cast to Make Appearance at Harrods on Dec. 1

    James and Oliver Phelps (Weasley Twins), Jessie Cave (Lavender Brown) and Warwick Davis (Flitwick/Griphook) will make an appearance at Harrods' Harry Potter shop on December 1st to meet fans and sign copies of "Deathly Hallows: Part 2" on Blu-ray Triple Play.

    The event will start from 5:30 p.m., but only 300 wristbands will be handed out beginning at 10 a.m. Below are instructions for fans interested in attending the meet and greet with the cast:

    Due to the limited time available, access to the queue will be strictly limited to 300. Wristbands will be issued from 10am at The Harry Potter Shop at Harrods on the day of the event on a first-come, first-served basis with a queue starting at Door 3 of the store.
    "Deathly Hallows: Part 2" will be released on Blu-ray/DVD on December 2 in the U.K. It is currently available in stores in the U.S.

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    8. E! Online to Live Stream Harry Potter Celebration in Orlando

    A red carpet event will be held on Saturday, Nov. 12 for the Blu-ray/DVD release of "Deathly Hallows: Part 2" and E! Online will be live streaming the event beginning at 8:30 p.m. ET/5:30 p.m. PT.

    The event is part of Warner Bros. and Universal Orlando's celebration of the Harry Potter films, which will be taking place next weekend, Nov. 11-13, at the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. The festivities will mark a decade since the release of the first film and promote the release of the final Harry Potter Blu-ray/DVD, "Deathly Hallows: Part 2."

    Guests confirmed to attend the event include actors Rupert Grint (Ron Weasley), Jason Isaacs (Lucius Malfoy), James and Oliver Phelps (Fred and George Weasley), Evanna Lynch (Luna Lovegood), Helen McCrory (Narcissa Malfoy), Warwick Davis (Professor Flitwick), Mark Williams (Arthur Weasley) and director David Yates.

    Leaky will also be on hand to provide full coverage and interviews with the cast and crew, so stay tuned!

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    9. Rest in peace, Troy Anthony Davis

    By Elizabeth Beck Neither Sarah nor I have met Troy Anthony Davis. I first met his family in about 2003, which was about 18 years into his death sentence when Sarah and I were working on In the Shadow of Death: Restorative Justice and Death Row Families. At the time, his sister

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    10. advent song doodle

    A bunch of different things today! Here's an interview I did for Dan Berry at The Comics Bureau, do go over and have a look! The Comics Bureau have been running a whole host of interviews with people in the comics community, including one with my studio mate Gary Northfield.

    Congratulations to Darryl Cunningham for finishing his comic strip about climate change! You may have read his book about mental health issues, Psychiatric Tales; go over to his blog and read his strip. I'm sure, as always, it will garner loads of debate, and Darryl looks very fetching in his red snowsuit.

    Here's an extended doodle I did of an advent song I rather like. That is, I love the rousing first two lines of every verse, then after that, I think the tune wanders a bit. Charles Oakley wrote it in 1870, and it's the sort of thing I bet gave Tolkien a buzz. I could have spent days putting together my little island. If I ever go to prison, designing islands and continents is one of the ways I will while away the time.



    I finally managed to write and pencil my contribution to the Birdsong/Songbird comics anthology. (Find out about the first edition here.) I thought I wasn't going to have time to do it, but I had a sudden burst of energy late last night and did it all at once, then finished it up in Greenwich Park this morning, using one of the trees as reference. It's about a tree with passive-aggressive issues, and when I showed it to Gary just now, he burst out laughing, then told me I was totally mental.




    One of the views I needed for the comic was looking toward the Royal Observatory, but the fog obscured it completely. Lovely morning, though. In places, the fog was so thick, I felt rather excitingly lost.



    A bunch of the DFC crew and mates met up on Friday, and I got to see a folder of Rob Davis's work on his graphic novel adapation of Don Quixote. So amazing! Here's some original artwork he brought along. You can find out about his work-in-progress over on the SelfMadeHero website, read an interview with Rob over at The Comics Bureau and his Best of the Year Picks over on the FPI blog.



    Keep an eye on the Super Comics Adventure Squad blog to see what the DFC gang get up to!


    James Turner, Rob Davis, Gary Northfield

    Not just stuff like this.



    Faz Choudhury, Rob, Rian Hughes, Viviane Schwarz


    Alex Milway, Gary, Rob's friend Geraint

    Just a few more foggy pictures from the park.

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    11. Hunting the Neutrino

    By Frank Close

    Ray Davis was the first person to look into the heart of a star. He did so by capturing neutrinos, ghostly particles that are produced in the centre of the Sun and stream out across space. As you read this, billions of them are hurtling through your eyeballs at almost the speed of light, unseen.

    Neutrinos are as near to nothing as anything we know, and so elusive that they are almost invisible. When Davis began looking for solar neutrinos in 1960, many thought that he was attempting the impossible. It nearly turned out to be: 40 years would pass before he was proved right, leading to his Nobel Prize for physics in 2002, aged 87.

    In June 2006, I was invited by The Guardian newspaper to write his obituary. An obituary necessarily focuses on the one person, but the saga of the solar neutrinos touched the lives of several others, scientists who devoted their entire careers chasing the elusive quarry, only to miss out on the Nobel Prize by virtue of irony, chance, or, tragically, by having already died.

    Of them all, the most tragic perhaps is the genius Bruno Pontecorvo.

    Pontecorvo was a remarkable scientist and a communist, working at Harwell after the war. When his Harwell colleague Klaus Fuchs was exposed as an atom spy in 1950, Pontecorvo immediately fled to the USSR. This single act probably killed his chances of Nobel Prizes.

    In the following years, Pontecorvo developed a number of ideas that could have won him one or more Nobels. But his papers were published in Russian, and were unknown in the West until their English translations appeared up to two years later. By this time others in the USA had come up with the same ideas, later winning the Nobel Prize themselves.

    Amongst his ideas, one involved an experiment which Soviet facilities could not perform. But most ironic were Pontecorvo’s insights about neutrinos.

    Ray Davis had detected solar neutrinos – but not enough of them. For years, many of us involved in this area of research thought Davis’ experiment must have been at fault. But Pontecorvo had another theory which indicated that like chameleons, neutrinos changed their form en route across space from the Sun to Earth. And he was right. It took many years to prove it, but by 2000 the whole saga was completed. Davis duly won his Nobel Prize, but so many years had elapsed that Pontecorvo by then was dead.

    So although my piece for The Guardian began as the life story of Ray Davis, Pontecorvo was there behind the scenes to such an extent that it became his story also. It is also the story of John Bahcall, Davis’ lifelong collaborator, who, to the surprise of many, was not included in the Nobel award.

    The lives of these three great scientists were testimony to what science is all about: as Edison put it, genius is 1% inspiration and 99% perspiration.

    A final sobering thought to put our human endeavors in context: those neutrinos that passed through you when you started reading this article are by now well on their way to Mars.

    Frank Close OBE is Professor of Physics at Oxford Univeristy and a Fellow of Exeter College.  He is formerly Head of the Theoretical Physics Division at the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory, and Head of Communications and Public Education at CERN. He has written several books including The Void, Antimatter, 0 Comments on Hunting the Neutrino as of 1/1/1900

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    12. “I am Troy Davis”

    Troy Davis has been on death row since 1991 for the alleged 1989 murder of a police officer in Savannah, Georgia. Now, key prosecution witnesses have come forward and admitted that their original testimonies were not truthful. On June 23, an evidentiary hearing began, and a ruling on Troy Davis is expected not long after legal briefs are filed on July 7th. Here, Elizabeth Beck* and Sarah Britto** remember the death row sentencing of Troy Davis, the ongoing controversies, and consider what it means to be the man accused of a crime he may not have committed.

    As eyewitnesses inside the Savannah courtroom tell a judge that they lied 19 years ago, people are gathering outside wearing tee-shirts that read: “I am Troy Davis.” On the surface, being Troy Davis means that any one of us might find ourselves wrongly accused of a crime we did not commit. For Troy Davis, it began with a life-changing accusation 19 years ago. Following the testimony of nine witnesses and no physical evidence linking him to the crime, it led to his death sentence. A judge is now hearing the recantations of seven of the nine individuals who originally testified against Troy Davis. Can an innocent person be put to death if all procedures are properly followed? What constitutes new evidence? What kind of pressure are witnesses placed under to create state’s evidence? These questions only scratch the surface of what it means to be Troy Davis.

    What does it mean to be Troy Davis? Being Troy Davis means saying goodbye to your family three times in two years, before last-minute interventions spare you from the death chamber each time. It means knowing that your sister, Martina Correira, despite her own battle with cancer and chemotherapy, has worked every day for your release and that she has been working alone for most of that time. It means knowing that your mother, Virginia, may have to stand by as your casket is lowered into the ground. Being Troy Davis means constantly worrying and fearing about the impact of your life on your loved ones.

    The best-case scenario means that even if you are one day freed and recognized as innocent you will have lost 19 years. You will have to grieve the loss of those years as you relearn the meaning of freedom. You will have to negotiate a new world where computers, SMS texting, and sprawling strip malls are casual aspects of everyday life. Employers may look at you with suspicion and, like many other exonerees, you may be given no monetary compensation. It means that you will always miss the friends executed before you, and anguish over those who will be executed after you are free. Worst-case scenario: you will be executed for a crime you did not commit.

    Being Troy Davis means that your life is intimately intertwined with the life and death of Officer Mark Allen MacPhail (whose murder you have been accused of), and the pain and suffering of his family and friends. The trauma of this connection will bind your families together forever. While our legal system attempts to sort through this case and establish the winners and losers, the agony of the process and the toll it takes on all involved parties remains unaddressed. As we think ab

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    13. Tanita Davis's Coretta Scott King speech

    Remember how I've said many times now how brilliant my friend Tanita's speech was at the Coretta Scott King awards breakfast? The word that most often comes to my mind when I think of her and her speech is "magnificent". And now you can sort of see for yourself. It's not a video of her speech, which would convince you in a trice, but it's her approximation of what she said. And I can tell you that her approximation matches my wobbly memory of the morning.

    HERE. READ THIS>

    Kiva - loans that change lives

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    14. Swish and Flick on the Lights of Christmas with Warwick Davis

    Actor Warwick Davis will be bringing a bit of holiday magic to those in the UK this year as the Professor Flitwick actor is set to turn on the holiday light display this year in Peterborough. The local paper reports "The Yaxley film star – who played Professor Filius Flitwick in the Harry Potter movies – will switch on the festive display on November 19 at 7pm...The stage will be placed outside... Read the rest of this post

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    15. Quoteskimming

    Another Sunday, another batch of quotes for you. With related open letters, because I felt like mixing it up a bit today.

    First, one about books and readers that caught my eye in this article in today's New York Times*. Usually I like what Mr. Jobs has to say about advances in technology, but this bit in an article about Amazon's wireless reading device, the Kindle got my goat:

    ". . .when Mr. Jobs was asked two weeks ago at the Macworld Expo what he thought of the Kindle, he heaped scorn on the book industry. 'It doesn’t matter how good or bad the product is; the fact is that people don’t read anymore,' he said. 'Forty percent of the people in the U.S. read one book or less last year.'

    To Mr. Jobs, this statistic dooms everyone in the book business to inevitable failure."


    Dear Mr. Jobs: Those of us who do read more than one book a year read a lot of books. Last year was a slow year for me owing to all the research I did, and I still read over 100 books. And book readers are still in the majority. Please send my goat back.

    On first drafts
    From an article by Bonita Pate Davis in the November/December 2007 SCBWI Bulletin:

    "First drafts attempt to capture coalescing ideas into a semblance of order. They barely rise one step above the primordial soup. Still, no matter how rough, those first drafts come nearest to capturing the pure essence of ideas and feelings."


    Dear Ms. Davis: I sure hope all the writers I know can find a copy of the Bulletin and read your article on page 16. Your thoughts are cogent, you make wonderful points about first drafts and your use of language is wonderful. Your reference to "The Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam" and the Romantic poets just clinched this as a work of genius, in my opinion

    On writing with integrity
    In the same issue of the SCBWI Bulletin, Susan Salzman Raab interviewed last year's Newbery award-winner, Susan Patron. The question was "From your perspective as an author whose book has been challenged and as a former librarian who has defended other people's books, what would you recommend to authors who are afraid that a book they're writing may be controversial?" Here's an excerpt from Patron's answer:

    As writers we choose each word with care so that it conveys our specific meaning, mood, emphasis, style, etc. And we write with respect for the reader's intelligence. We're doomed if we permit the specter of sensors or critics to enter our creative process. We must not let those crows of fear caw into our ears as we write, or we won't hear the genuine inner voice that we need to access in order to write honestly and well.


    Dear Ms. Patron: Thank you. Thank you for your words, which all writers need to hear, and for your integrity, grace and humor. Thanks also for fighting back when the crows of censure/censorship came cawing over the innocent use of a correct anatomical term.

    Next, this quote on poetry from Ted Hughes, which I discovered over at Seven Impossible Things Before Breakfast the other day:

    Because it is occasionally possible, just for brief moments, to find the words that will unlock the doors of all those many mansions inside the head and express something — perhaps not much, just something — of the crush of information that presses in on us from the way a crow flies over and the way a man walks and the look of a street and from what we did one day a dozen years ago. Words that will express something of the deep complexity that makes us precisely the way we are, from the momentary effect of the barometer to the force that created men distinct from trees. Something of the inaudible music that moves us along in our bodies from moment to moment like water in a river. Something of the spirit of the snowflake in the water of the river. Something of the duplicity and the relativity and the merely fleeting quality of all this. Something of the almighty importance of it and something of the utter meaninglessness. And when words can manage something of this, and manage it in a moment, of time, and in that same moment, make out of it all the vital signature of a human being — not of an atom, or of a geometrical diagram, or of a heap of lenses — but a human being, we call it poetry.


    Dear Jules and Eisha: Thanks for all the excellent posts you guys do, including reminding me about books I should read and books I have read.

    Dear Ted Hughes: From what I understand, you weren't always a nice guy. But I really like what you said here about poetry and language. So thanks.


    On memory, a quote from Jane Austen's Mansfield Park by Jane Austen, the ITV version of which will be appearing at 9 p.m. tonight on most PBS stations.

    Tonight's version features Billie Piper as the "insipid" Fanny Price. Pictured with her from left to right are Joseph Beattie as Henry Crawford, Joseph Morgan as William Price, and Blake Ritson as Edmund Bertram. This movie features excellent performances by Beattie and his screen-sister, Mary Crawford, as played by Hayley Atwell, and by Maggie O'Neill as Mrs. Norris.

    If any one faculty of our nature may be called more wonderful than the rest, I do think it is memory. There seems something more speakingly incomprehensible in the powers, the failures, the inequalities of memory, than in any other of our intelligences. The memory is sometimes so retentive, so serviceable, so obedient; at others, so bewildered and so weak; and at others again, so tyrannic, so beyond control! We are, to be sure, a miracle every way; but our powers of recollecting and of forgetting do seem peculiarly past finding out.


    Dear Jane: Thank you for this book, which I happen to like, even if some members of your family did find Fanny to be a bit of a prig. There are a number of people who lead long-suffering lives, and the thought that all might turn out well for them is encouragin. I also like how the book can be read as allegory, with Fanny in a Job-like position, and various characters representing the 7 deadly sins: Lust (Maria Bertram), Gluttony (Tom Bertram), Greed (Mary Crawford), Sloth (Lady Bertram), Wrath (Sir Thomas Bertram), Envy (Rushworth), and Pride (Mary Crawford). At least that's how I'm assigning the roles today, although some of these folks do double-duty, and I've not assigned a particular sin to one of the most despicable characters in the book, Mrs. Norris, who seems to have Greed, Wrath, Envy and Pride in abundance. Also unassigned? Our "hero", Edmund Bertram, to whom I assign the sin of being annoyingly obtuse. But I digress, dear Lady, and I've gone on too long. I hope my friends will watch the latest cinematic adaptation of your fine book.

    *You may need to sign up for a free account to read the NY Times online. I can't tell for sure because, well, I already have one.

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