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Viewing: Blog Posts Tagged with: park, Most Recent at Top [Help]
Results 1 - 21 of 21
1. A change of direction for "Seeds" - Mr. Bird fades in

Been adding to "Seeds" although not as often as I like or should. Progress is dependent upon sudden brain storms or those rare but very welcome "eureka!" moments that give clarification to the story line.

Somehow, and after reading over what currently exists, there seems to be - at least in my mind - that the direction the play is taking, is too predictable bordering on blech. The subject, an accidental meeting of two people in a park, one of whom seems to have what could be classified an unusual gravitation to pigeons, is interesting. However - as mentioned numerous times in this blog, it's always the 'howevers' in life that get you - it's too ordinary and needed a shake-up. So...

A new character has been added. Elwood P. Dowd had his rabbit, Harvey, and now Sylvia Perkins has joined his league with her friend of a feather, Mr. Bird, a pigeon.

Following yet another run in with Hal, a  park supervisor, who wants to maintain cleanliness and limit the appearance of pigeon poo in his territory, Julie feels a moral responsibility to help Sylvia. The two return to Julie's apartment and at the mention of the word "bath" and a failed attempt to remove Sylvia's weather-worn rain coat, Mr. Bird suddenly puts in an appearance, in a manner of speaking.  Maybe it'll work and maybe it won't - hav'ta see where this will take me, if anywhere.

Yet another snippet of dialogue from "Seeds." Julie attempts to convince Sylvia to stay for supper and warm up


How about a plain, old American cheese sandwich and a coffee? You can’t refuse that. Indulge me as your new friend. Look – it’s snowing out. Wait until morning. This couch opens up into a bed


You’re very kind but I can’t possibly stay. It’s getting late and my friends will be wondering where I am

(Turns her head to the side) ‘I know, Mr. Bird. I’m trying to explain our necessity to leave…’


Really, Mr. Bird, one night in a warm bed won’t make a difference in the scheme of things. Wouldn’t that be better than hanging out in a park or building heating ducts? This is getting more weird by the minute… I’m definitely losing it. Correct me if I’m wrong here, Sylvia, but there’s only two people in this room, you and me, right?

          SYLVIA Recoils in horror and backs away


How could you be so cruel? You’re just like all the other humans. No feelings whatsoever for those less-fortunate who have to survive living on the generosity of others and on the cusp of society. You have hurt Mr. Bird’s feelings for the last time. We are leaving (turns her head to the side) ‘I’m ready to leave if you are, Mr. B’


Please – wait. Perhaps I’ve acted too hastily. After all, we’re still at the getting to know you, stage, and I don’t want to threaten our budding friendship with misunderstandings. How about this: you and – um – Mr. Bird stay for supper and I’ll give you a bag of peanuts to take back. Don’t believe I’m actually making a deal that involves a…


(turning her head to the side)

‘What do you think? I mean, she is trying…then there is a bag of peanuts at the end… You’re in agreement, then?’ We have accepted your apology
          SYLVIA starts laughing

‘That is like…so funny. Where do you pick up those funnies? 


Am I missing something?


(continuing to laugh hysterically)

It’s Mr. Bird – he has such a weird sense of humor. He’s especially adroit telling jokes. He wants me to pass along his joke: you can never lose a homing pigeon. If he doesn’t come back what you’ve lost is a pigeon.

          (SYLVIA laughs uproariously)
You are such a joker, Mr. Bird!’ Mr. Bird wants to know what you think of his joke. It’s one of his best

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2. Building Central Park

The site chosen for Central Park was distant from the built area of the city: the cost of Manhattan real estate precluded buying land for a large park in the densely built lower part of the island, and this would be true in other cities as they acquired land for parks throughout the remainder of the century. Still, the process of assembling land for park purposes was a visionary accomplishment, removing 9,792 standard 25 × 100 foot Manhattan building lots and reserving them for public use.

The post Building Central Park appeared first on OUPblog.

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3. Clubhouse Jr., “Party at the Park” Illustration Samples

New back-page puzzle for Clubhouse Jr….


fotf-park-spread 2

fotf-park-spots 2 up

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4. illustration friday~forward

moving 'forward' down the park path....a picnicing they will go :)

my contribution to this week's i.f. theme of "forward". this is an illustration i did for the october 2011 issue of stories for children magazine. ALSO, a PRINT of it is FOR SALE in my etsy shop here http://www.etsy.com/listing/78554000/a-picnicing-we-will-go-reproduction?nc=1
to quote a line from my favorite disney/pixar film "meet the robinsons"...."keep moving FORWARD!"

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5. Z and Brad Go to the Park by Bolivar Lopez

A to Z Challenge Day26: Z . Z and Brad are out to play in the park. They accidentally travel deep into the woods.  They have a good time finding their way home. They meet Mu Mu or was it they get eaten by Mu Mu.  (from the back cover of the book) Z and [...]

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6. The Snail - Sketch for Today

Today's warm up sketch. 

Tiddley Pom Pom Pom!


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7. Summer Fun

Been a little while since I posted anything new. This is due to my attending the The Illustration Academy. The program has been amazing. This little image is pretty much how I feel coming into the studio each day.

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8. Lilly and Bunny go to the Fair!

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9. welcome to peppermint bark park...

where the trees are made of candy canes and peppermint sticks and the mountains made of huge mounds of peppermint ice cream....topped with a sweet, swirly StarBright mint. speaking of StarBright, meet the park ranger himself, Mr. StarBright Snowman and his peppermint loving pals. together they make sure that Peppermint Bark Park stays sweet and frosty all year long. please be sure to watch your step when visiting, as one is sure to stumble upon a piece of bark or two. and then, well....it just may be time for a yummy snack ;)
well, for all who do not know, i am crazy about candy canes, all things peppermint and of course, super cute snowmen. so here is my latest little creation inspired by all of those things. i actually wound up sketching it the night right before thanksgiving and have been painting it over the last couple of weeks, in between working on Christmas gifts.
below are some pictures of the painting in progress. hoping to finish it up (finally) tomorrow. then it will be FOR SALE as an ORIGINAL in my etsy shop. NO PRINTS will be sold.

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10. Come to Dance the Macabray

Just a few things....

Lucy Anne pointed out that there was a tiny promotional film up for Wolves in the Walls at the New Victory site. I just popped it up on YouTube, suspecting that they won't mind at the New Victory, especially if a few of you watching it are impelled to order tickets... (http://www.newvictory.org/show.m?showID=1028522)

YouTube embiggened it slightly, I'm afraid.

I was both saddened and sort of glad he was properly remembered when I saw that Melvin McCosh had died and had a nice obituary and photo in the Star Tribune. I loved going to McCosh's house of books (his motto, You Need Them More Than I Do) as long as it, and he, were there. I bought my favourite book in the whole world there (it's a huge 150 year old 500 page leather-bound blank accounts book. Either I will write a novel in it, or I will want to write a novel in it until I die. Either's fine). The obituary is up at http://www.startribune.com/west/story/1221731.html -- you may have to log in to read it.

Many years ago I put a character based on Melvin McCosh into an SF TV series I never made (it was called Back of Beyond), because I had never before met anyone so transparently fictional in real life. And my love for John Wilmot, Earl of Rochester's poetry goes back to buying some books from McCosh, and when he looked at the pile he wandered off into a back room and put a book of Rochester's poetry on top of the books I was buying. "If you like all that, you'll like this," he said.

Hey Neil,
I picked up American Gods this weekend and have been really enjoying the book. What's been bugging me, however, is the chili recipe you describe in Chapter 2. It sounded delicious and I'm pretty curious to try it. Is it a personal chili recipe you use? And if so, are you willing to share it?


It was my variant on the Silver Palate Chili for a Crowd recipe (which I just googled and found at http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/recipe_collections/simply_delicious/recipe_arch/06_01_29_R#r_1) I could never be bothered with the olives or sausage meat, and everything else was a sort of generalised "adjust quantities to taste", which is how chili works best anyway. I still don't think the dill ought to work in a chili, but it does, magnificently.


Today is the World's End Message Board's 6th Birthday, and I just wanted to thank you for providing a place for all these lovely people to get together.

Thank you :)


Which is one of those unexpected side effects of something like this. You turn around and there's a whole community there, and I tend to forget they exist until they turn up at signings bearing red balloons and alcoholic beverages and chocolate and suchlike. Happy Birthday... (They can be found at http://neilgaimanboard.com/eve/forums for anyone not using the neilgaiman.com website as a way to read this.)

Just a short one ... did you know that there is a book out there, written by some Miss Laurell K. Hamilton, (fantasy and quite different from your writing) that is called DANSE MACABRE?

(It's not one of my faves by her, I admit, but I remembered the title and wondered how it comes that both of you got to it ... have to check my French and see whether it is some saying or ...)


There are many, many things called Danse Macabre out there. Stephen King's excellent non-fiction book about horror, for a start, not to mention a very wonderful piece of music by Saint-Saëns. It refers to the Dance either of the dead, or of the dead with the living, to remind people that they are mortal. It goes back to the Fourteenth Century, to the plague times. Lots of interesting stuff in this Wikipedia article. Did you know that our word Macabre comes from the dance, and was a reference to the Maccabees? S'true.

And it was originally pronounced macabray. (More details at http://thomondgate.net/doc/companion/Companion.htm#dance)

Rich and poor dance in the same way, said poet John Lydgate in The Dance of Death, and that squashed together in my head with Shelley's "I met murder on the way..." and instead of thinking "He had a mask like Castlereagh" I thought "I met murder on the way, come to dance the macabray..." and suddenly there was a story in my head where there wasn't one before.

Which is too much information, and won't make much sense until you've read the story, but there are probably a few word-buffs out there who will take as much joy in it as I did.

Hey Neil,

Its not so much as a question as shameless self promotion. I did an interview with Barron Storey today. It was for my radio show Inkstuds. The show is all about interviewing alternative and underground creators. I thought your fans would be interested in this interview. We talk a little bit about the 15 portraits of Despair.

Here is a link directly to the posting. http://www.inkstuds.com/?p=173


Of course. (And if you don't know what Barron Storey's work looks like you can find some of it at http://www.geocities.com/negsleep/main/links/barron/barron.html)

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11. Top Ten Poetry Books for Children, 2007

Yesterday, an interview with renowned fantasy writer Bruce Coville, and today, a top ten list. I really don't think I can keep this level of quality up, folks.

Until recently, I was on the nominating panel for the CYBILS poetry award, which kept me from telling you my top ten favorite poetry books of 2007. (I know I said twelve the other day, but I've edited myself down to a mere ten.) But now that the discussions are over and the finalists are in, I'm embargoed no more. Oh, and I should note before I start that I've not yet read Good Masters! Sweet Ladies!: Voices from a Medieval Village by Laura Amy Schlitz, illustrated by Robert Byrd and Tina Schart Hyman, nor did I get my hands on Twelve Rounds to Glory: The Story of Muhammad Ali by Charles R. Smith, illustrated by Bryan Collier, both of which come highly recommended by readers I tend to trust.

Here they are, in alphabetical order by title. Those that made the CYBILS top 7 have an asterisk before the title:

*Animal Poems by Valerie Worth, illustrated by Steve Jenkins. I reviewed this one during National Poetry Month. I loved it then. I loved it as much or more now. The poems are gems. Written in free verse, the poems are about 23 different animals. Some of the animals Worth wrote about, like the Elephant and Jellyfish, are staples in collections of animal poems; others, like the Star-Nosed Mole are decidedly uncommon. In order to keep this post from becoming ridiculously long, I will simply repeat the link to my prior review, which includes sample poems and artwork.

Blue Lipstick: Concrete Poems by John Grandits. I loved the sassy main character in this collection of individual concrete poetry. Jessie is a teenage girl who is facing issues at high school, and who has built a wall to protect herself from others. The wall is protection, but it's also prejudice and isolation, as becomes clear through the poems and through the later poem that features the wall once Jessie's perceptions start to change. The prejudice I discuss is not racial, btw, but is the result of Jessie's snap judgments and stereotyping. I really wish I could find a scan of the poem "Bad Hair Day" to share with you, but thus far, no dice. However, you can "Look Inside" the book over at Amazon. For another blog review that loves this one, check out Jules's post from September 21, 2007 over at Seven Impossible Things Before Breakfast. This one is perfect for the middle school and high school set, and that's based not just on basic demographics but on specific research by a mother with one middle schooler and one high schooler. For relatability (is that a word?) and content, I'd put this as a must-buy for teen poetry collections.

Do Rabbits Have Christmas? by Aileen Fisher, illustrated by Sarah Fox-Davies. If I have a quarrel with the words in this book, it's the title selection, which (a) makes it sound like it's only a Christmas title, (b) could be interpreted as being about anthropomorphic animals, which it isn't, and (c) makes it sound like it's for even younger readers than it truly is. The book opens with a poem called "Fall Wind", a song-like poem in rhymed couplets that tells of winter's approach. Other poems discuss snow (what animals and people think of it, how it looks, how it feels, footprints, etc.) and winter, although there are seven poems about Christmas. Final tally? Six winter poems, seven Christmas poems and two winter poems that mention Christmas. There are a couple of stand-out poems in this collection. My particular favorites: "December", "Sparkly Snow", "My Christmas Tree". Here's an excerpt from "My Christmas Tree":

I'll make me a score
of suet balls
to tie to my spruce
when the cold dusk falls.

And I'll hear next day
from the sheltering trees
the Christmas carols
of the chickadees.

Faith & Doubt: An Anthology of Poems, edited by Patrice Vecchione. An anthology for teens that grapples with the questions so many teens face every day: what is faith? is there room for belief? disbelief? if I have doubts, what does that mean? Vecchione has assembled an outstanding collection of poetry from a wide variety of poets, many of whom are familiar to adult readers. There are a lot of heavy-hitters in this book, from Emily Dickinson ("My Worthiness is all my Doubt") to Shakespeare ("Doubt thou the stars are fire" from Hamlet Act 2 scene 2, but you won't get the Hamlet cite in the book, which I find curious) to Whitman, Rumi, Neruda, Rilke, Shelley and more, including modern-day poets such as Marilyn Nelson and Charles Simic. The poems don't all speak about religious faith and doubt, as the introductory note makes clear. Lines attributed to Queen Elizabeth I, entitled "The Doubt of Future Foes" discuss doubt in a political sense, and "The Girl at Five" by Anna Paganelli talks about the loss of faith that comes from sexual abuse as a child, for example. Heavy topics, yes, but these are the sorts of Big Issues and Big Questions that I remember spending hours mulling and discussing with friends and writing really bad poetry about when I was a teen, so I think this one is a must for teen poetry collections.

*Here's A Little Poem: A Very First Book of Poetry, edited by Jane Yolen and Andrew Fusek Peters, illustrated by Polly Dunbar. I first reviewed this book during National Poetry Month, when I said "If you have a toddler or preschooler who needs a poetry book, this is the one to buy. It is a beautiful book in all the right ways, and it's perfect for adults to share with kids." I stand by my earlier words, including the ones about the need for adult assistance - this is a BIG book of poems for little people. One of the things I love best about this collection is the number of "new" poets in it. Yolen and Fusek have selected poems from all over the English-speaking world, and they've insisted on printing the poems exactly as they were originally written, spellings and all. So the word "favor" might be in a poem by an American author, but "favour" from a Brit (as a hypothetical illustration). The illustrations are completely darling, and this book positively screams High Quality Production! at every turn, from paper weight to typsetting to artwork to the excellent assortment of poems, all of which are well-arranged. If you take another look at my review from April, you can see some of the pages and poems to get a better sense for yourself. Or just go buy it.

Miss Crandall's School for Young Ladies and Little Misses of Color: Poems by Elizabeth Alexander and Marilyn Nelson, illustrated by Floyd Cooper. This poetry collection pieces together the story of Miss Prudence Crandall's decision to open and run a school in Crandall, Connecticut in the 1830's. Initially, Miss Crandall taught local (white) schoolchildren, but she allowed "colored" girls to attend as well. The townspeople went from unhappy to full-out ugly, taking actions that ranged from legal actions to ruining the well to hanging a dead cat on the gate outside the school to setting the building on fire. The idealism and enthusiasm of Miss Crandall and some of her students, as well as their dismay and disgust and fear as events turned obscene, are depicted movingly in twenty-four sonnets: twelve by Alexander, twelve by Nelson. The authors' note at the end of the book makes clear that Alexander likes to take a modern approach to the sonnet and stretch the form, whereas Nelson follows a more classical approach. I have to say that overall, I preferred Nelson's poems, which had an additional tautness to them that I can only guess, based on my overall reaction, is the result of her adhering to a more rigid form than Alexander. An excellent addition to middle school and high school libraries and a good supplemental text for any studies of racism.

*Poems in Black & White written and illustrated by Kate Miller. I will have to write a separate review of this book to do it complete justice. Miller decided to create images in black and white, but trust me when I say that the book feels like it's in technicolor. From the baby feet depicted for "First Steps" (which you can read, along with the second poem in the book - and one of my favorites - "Comet", over at this review post from Laura Purdie Salas. Today, I'll share with you "The Cow", although I'm really wishing I had a ppage scan so you could see the thoughtful Holstein on the page and the recreation on the text page of a black patch on the cow's side in which the poem appears in white. The text meanders as well, adding to the poem's appeal, but I'm not going to approximate that here:

The Cow

she wears
a bristly map
of milkweed shite
and midnight black

it seems
as though
strong enough
to carry continents
upon her back

with oceans
in between

and   islands   on her

Tap Dancing on the Roof: Sijo (Poems) by Linda Sue Park, illustrated by Istvan Banyai. What's not to love? An excellent poet, wonderful, whimsical illustrations, and oh, by the way, A NEW FORM! And you all know how much I love forms, yes? I reviewed this book back in October, and I love-love-love it now just as I did then. I predict it will win other awards, but unfortunately not a CYBILS award this year - it didn't quite make the cut (sorry, Linda!), but not for lack of appreciation or interest in it. By all means, read my review, but here's the text of "Word Watch" to intrigue you:

Word Watch

Jittery seems a nervous word;
snuggle curls up around itself.
Some words fit their meanings so well:
Abrupt. Airy. And my favorite——

which means: having lots of syllables.

I've met Linda Sue a couple of times now, and in my mind, I can literally hear her voice in this poem, as if she were hear, speaking assuredly into my ear. Linda Sue, you had me at sesquipedalian.

*This is Just to Say: Poems of Apology and Forgiveness by Joyce Sidman, illustrated by Pamela Zagarenski. A confession: When I first began to read this book, I was a bit shruggy about it. Fictional teacher, fictional students, all writing poems to apologize for something they did as part of a fictional class exercise based on William Carlos Williams's poem, "This is Just to Say", sometimes referred to as "the plums". *shrug* The first "kid" apes Williams's form, apologizing to the teachers for eating their jelly doughnuts. *shrug* A girl apologizes to a statue for rubbing its nose. *cute, but shrug* Two boys write poems to one another about dodgeball. *boys! eyerolling shrug* And then a girl apologizes to the teacher for insulting her, and I stopped shrugging and my eyes filled with tears and I couldn't put the book down, even when I was done reading it, because I was too busy hugging it. Not shrugging. Hugging. Tightly. Sidman eases you into the apologies, but once you're into them, you are STUCK IN THIS BOOK. And then.

Then there are the poems of response (and in many cases, forgiveness), that come in the second half of the book, where even the poem written on behalf of Florence P. Scribner's statue contains magic and heart. Just glancing at some of the poems now has caused my eyes to fill again, because they are so strong and warm and wonderful. They are funny and sad and true. They are, in short, miraculous. A must-buy for upper elementary and middle-school kids and teachers. Here's an excerpt for you:

From Apologies:
"How Slow-Hand Lizard Died"

I stole him.
Took him home in my pocket.
Felt the pulse beating
in his soft green neck.
Had no place good to put him.
A shoebox.
He got cold, I think.
Watched his life wink out,
his bright eye turn to mud.
Brought him back,
stiff as an old glove.
Hid him in the bottom of the cage.
Left the money on Mrs. Merz's desk.
(Stole that, too.)

Won't touch the new lizard.
Don't like to touch

From Responses:

Ode to Slow-Hand

the way his heart beat in his throad
the way his toes whispered on our hands

los perdonamos

his skin: rough green cloth
the color of new leaves

los perdonamos

his belly: soft as an old balloon
his tongue: lightning's flicker

los perdonamos

the sad way he left us
the sad way you feel

los perdonamos
we forgive you

Crap. Now I'm crying again. While I compose myself, by all means check out Elaine Magliaro's post at Blue Rose Girls from back in March.

*Your Own, Sylvia: a verse portrait of Sylvia Plath by Stephenie Hemphill. You may recall that I first raved about this book back in March when I reviewed it for my blog. And then, I repeated my enthusiastic rave in May as part of Wicked Cool Overlooked Books. I still love it for all the reasons I stated. This book is fun to discuss, by the way, because the reasons I love it — it keeps a bit of distance between the reader and Sylvia Plath and it presents a kaleidoscopic image of her by showing her through the eyes of many different acquaintances as well as by guessing at what was in her own mind (based on her journals, etc.) — are the same reasons that some other folks don't particularly care for it (they found the many attributed voices distracting and/or didn't care for the distance between the reader and the subject (or is she the object?) of the book. Highly recommended for teen readers. This one was, in fact, teen-tested here at my house, and got two thumbs up and some tears from my older daughter. An excellent book for a book report for middle school- and high school-aged kids, and an excellent supplement and research tool for anyone interested in Plath (middle school through adult), on account of the copious bibliography and source notes in the back of the book.

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12. Pairing and Comparing Poems

In my regular “Everyday Poetry” column for Book Links magazine, I wrote about pairing and comparing poetry in the most recent (January, 2008) issue. It’s entitled “Pairing Poems Across Cultures” and here’s a brief excerpt:

Seeking out the poetry of parallel cultures enables children to see firsthand both the sameness and the differences that make the human landscape so dynamic and fascinating. Poets of color are using the language, experiences, and images of their cultures in ways that are fresh and powerful. The special succinctness of poetry is also appealing, and powerful points about prejudice, identity, and cultural conflict can be made in very few words.

Sharing poems in pairs can help children to engage their critical thinking skills by comparing the topics, themes, points of view, or language of the two poems. Selecting poems that reflect cultural details adds an additional layer of meaning and interest. Of course, reading and enjoying the poem for its own sake is the first step. Responding, comparing, and analyzing often follow naturally when children read, hear, and recite poetry together. Repeated readings could incorporate choral reading arrangements and child participation.
Here is one sample poem pairing:

Compare Poems about Poetry
• “Wish” by Linda Sue Park, from Tap Dancing on the Roof; Sijo Poems (Clarion, 2007)
• “A Blank White Page” by Francisco X. Alarcón, from Iguanas in the Snow and Other Winter Poems / Iguanas en la Nieve y Otros Poemas de Invierno (Children’s Book Press, 2001)


by Linda Sue Park

For someone to read a poem
again, and again, and then,

having lifted it from page
to brain-- the easy part--

cradle it on the longer trek
from brain all the way to heart.


“A Blank White Page”
by Francisco X. Alarcón

A blank white page
is a meadow
after a snowfall
that a poem
hopes to cross

Look at how poets have captured the beauty of poetry itself and what a poem can be and do. Newbery Medalist Linda Sue Park explores the Korean poetic form of sijo to describe poetry’s impact, “from brain all the way to heart,” while Francisco X. Alarcón uses images of “a meadow / after a snowfall” to describe the page a poem is written upon. Children can try writing their own “definition” poems modeled on the sijo or free-verse format of these two examples. Next, create a “dictionary” anthology of all of their “defining” poems.

Picture credit: ala.org/booklinks

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13. Bialowieski National Park, Poland

Bialowieski National Park, Poland

Coordinates: 52 43 N 23 50 E

Area: 25,946 acres (10,500 hectares)

Here in the US, all eyes are on the stock market and the upcoming election, two things that have caused people to brush up on their history, both economic and political. Since I happened across a geographic/natural time capsule of sorts this week, I thought I’d blog about it. Looking at a map of the world’s population distribution, you might conclude that Europe simply couldn’t possess any areas that have escaped change brought about by human activity. And yet, in westernmost Poland, along the Belarusian border, a primeval woodland supports trees that are many centuries old, as well as endangered animals such as the wisent, or European bison. So although it’s a relatively small part of a larger unprotected landscape, Bialowieski National Park stands today as one of the last sections of the old growth broadleaf forest that once covered much of the North European Plain. I find it truly remarkable that any virgin remnant exists after serving as a playground for Polish, Lithuanian, and Russian royalty, and then enduring two destructive world wars.

Ben Keene is the editor of Oxford Atlas of the World. Check out some of his previous places of the week.


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14. I heart the park

Street lamp = pretty!

This trail makes me want to have a dog to borrow just to walk. Any takers?

(When I took this pic, "real" people were playing baseball and I was like, "Aw. Sigh. It's not vampire baseball. LOL.)

Yesterday, I got stuck on my YA WIP and needed a break, so I headed to the park. I've only ever been on the edge of it and who knew there were MILES of trails--like, shaded trails with signs so you don't get lost--for exploring and walking. I looove it there! It's rained so much that some of the trails were flooded, so I hopped around puddles (read: lakes) and enjoyed the squirrels, grass and trees. Very pretty.

I love that I can either walk down my fave streets in town or head out to the park if I want to be alone and need quiet. It's cool. I love, love the streetlamps. I wouldn't walk around the park alone at night, but I'll prob try to talk Roy and Kassie into walking around with me one night 'cause I really want to see the street lamps on and it would be fun.

3 Comments on I heart the park, last added: 6/14/2009
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15. The Legacy of Harper’s Magazine, William Dean Howells and Mark Twain’s Tom Sawyer

What are you doing during lunch tomorrow?  If it involves sitting at your desk eating a sandwich consider joining us in Bryant Park.  Oxford University Press has teamed up with the Bryant Park Reading Room to host a FREE discussion of The Adventures of Tom Sawyer led by John R. MacArthur, publisher of Harper’s Magazine and author, most recently, of You Can’t be President: The Outrageous Barriers to Democracy in America. In the blog post after the break MacArthur introduces us to the relationship between Harper’s and Mark Twain.

So be sure to come to the Bryant Park Reading Room (northern edge of the park), Tuesday, July 21st from 12:30 p.m. to 1:45 p.m. The rain venue (don’t worry we are doing our best no-rain dances) is The General Society of Mechanics and Tradesmen Building, 20 West 44th Street. Sign up in advance and receive a FREE copy of the Oxford World’s Classic, The Adventures of Tom Sawyer (offer is limited while supply lasts).

The histories of Mark Twain, William Dean Howells and Harper’s Magazine are so intimately linked, so important to the fabric of the magazine, that I talk about Twain and Howells around the office as if they were still alive. The other day I told a staff meeting that as long as I was running Harper’s, it would remain a literary magazine that also publishes journalism — not the other way around — because of Howells’s and Twain’s ever-present legacy.

Howells met Twain in 1869, three years after Twain had published his first long narrative in Harper’s, “43 Days in an Open Boat.” As the future literary editor of Harper’s recalled, “At the time of our first meeting…Clemens (as I must call him instead of Mark Twain, which seemed always somehow to mask him from my personal sense) was wearing a sealskin coat, with the fur out, in the satisfaction of a caprice, or the love of strong effect which he was apt to indulge through life.” It’s no coincidence that for our special 150th anniversary issue in 2000, we constructed a cover photo of Twain in his dandy suit facing Tom Wolfe in his dandy suit.

Clemens and Howells became good friends and in 1875 the genius from Hannibal asked Howells to read the manuscript of The Adventures of Tom Sawyer. “I am glad to remember that I thoroughly liked The Adventures of Tom Sawyer,” Howells wrote, “and said so with every possible amplification. Very likely, I also made my suggestions for its improvement; I could not have been a real critic without that; and I have no doubt they were gratefully accepted and, I hope, never acted upon.” Howells was underrating his influence on Twain, who penned over 80 pieces for Harper’s. As a critic and a fine novelist in his own right, Howells was correct — Tom Sawyer is a great American novel. Indeed, not everyone agrees that it’s any less of an achievement than the more widely acclaimed (at least in serious literary circles) Huckleberry Finn. I’m looking forward to talking about the book next week and finding out the answer to a number of questions: for example, precisely how old is Tom Sawyer? I assume the Twain scholars in the audience will enlighten me on this and other matters.

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16. Sketches: A Park by a Yacht Club

My how the weather is changing! May has been on the cool side most of the month, but starting yesterday, it’s warmed up into the 70’s! With sunshine and all the good stuff that makes up a lovely spring day! Mid-afternoon, I took myself and some of my work and we bicycled down to the [...]

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17. Hazy Days of Summer

The sketch, below:

The above is a case where anything can become a story, I guess. It’s just a quickly done cartoon version of my yesterday evening. And, yes, I was wearing hot pink shorts. They are too comfortable to be worried about how they look. And I have no idea how to draw a hazy horizon, but I tried to capture the moment.

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18. Because We all Share the Sledding Instinct

By Michelle Rafferty

After a nice little afternoon in Central Park yesterday, I consulted the AIA Guide to New York City to read up on the history of the 840 acre playground (which, I learned, is larger than Monaco).  I share with you now my gleanings on how the park came to be the funky hybrid of leisure and active sport it is today, as well as my own thoughts on why parks prove we all really aren’t that different.

Long before its completion (which took 20 years and ten million cartloads of stone, earth, and topsoil) New Yorkers rich and poor alike flocked to Central Park “to promenade, to see and be seen.” Originating from William Cullen Bryant’s call for a large public “pleasure ground,” its design was “simple” and “picturesque”: trees and open space, individually designed bridges, rock outcroppings, footpaths, bridle paths, the revolutionary cross-town road, and carriage drives that were curved to prevent racing.

And these plans were closely followed until the early 20th century when the automobile and active sports arrived. Since then, the gravel paths were paved, and tennis courts, playgrounds, and even a hybrid ice-rink/swimming pool have been added. Today, the New York Road Runners sponsor races of all distances in the park every month and one can buy a VIP bleacher ticket to the New York City Marathon finish line (on the west side of the park) for $75. These innovations have all added up to a sort of paradox – bikers and intense rollerblade squads do countless loops around the park’s six mile perimeter, while inside people enjoy leisurely picnics, nature hikes, and Shakespeare.

For transplants like me, Central Park provides a sweet sense of irony. Take sledding for example. I went to college in Michigan, a state where snow sticks about 5 months out of the year; here, a snow day is a holiday. That’s why, when walking by Pilgrim Hill (“the grand dame of NYC sledding institutions“) yesterday afternoon, I felt so obliged to stop and join the commotion. If it weren’t for the high-rises hovering around us, the scene could have been anywhere. Contrary to what some might think, New Yorkers sled just like everyone else. I have photographic evidence to prove it! I’ve posted some pictures below so you can a) enjoy the beauty of a snow covered Central Park and b) see that parks everywhere are threaded together by one of humanity’s most basic instincts: if there’s snow and hill, we’ll find a creative way to get down.





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19. a pickle for patty~sketch

next up...another illustration for stories for children magazine www.storiesforchildrenmagazine.com this one to be featured in their october 2011 issue.
it's about a prissy and pouty little girl named patty porter, her perky friend pippa and pippa's pesky puppy named piper. oh...and a very much coveted pickle;)
lots of alliteration going on in this sweet little story...from the pink pansies on the park path to the purple picnic blanket and the sweet little girls and the puppy.
can't wait to start working on this...:)

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20. makin' progress...:)

what i'm working on this week...

a pickle for patty illustration for stories for children magazine/e-zine. set to be in the back to school issue. however my deadline is this coming tuesday (the 26th). hoping to be done by friday...
can't wait to start painting those cute little characters!:)

2 Comments on makin' progress...:), last added: 7/20/2011
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21. a pickle for patty

here is the finished illustration for the story 'a pickle for patty'. to be featured in the october/november issue of 'stories for children' magazine.
is it wrong to say how fond i am of my own little painting here?;) it's that little pippa (the one with the pigtails) that i absolutely just LOVE! so damn adorable!:)
i will post the link to the finished magazine as soon as it is made available to me so you can read the story that goes along with the illustration.
thanks again to rosemarie over at SFC for the fantastic opportunity to illustrate for her magazine once again.

BTW, a print of this is for sale in my etsy shop under the title 'a picnicing we will go...'

1 Comments on a pickle for patty, last added: 7/27/2011
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