Monday, August 30, 2010

The Shape of Time

I did not have time to play with time. But time had time to play with me. So I went with the flow and ended up at Ruby Beach on the coast of Washington way far away from everything

The "haystack rocks" thrust up along the shore. And the time-worn stones beckoned to be stacked.

At first I could not get anything to balance, I guess "hurry" still lingered as my mojo. But Susi had stepped out of stress's scrunch and the stones vied for her attention. Freeze tag is one of their favorite games.

Time and tide, tide and time, time and tide, tide and time, time and tide, tide and time...

Ahhhhhh.... one must sigh first. Breathe more slowly. Let the rocks tell you their stories.

There were other players. Birds. Light. Wind. Salt.

A time to work, a time to play.

We are all larger and smaller than we think. Time will tell.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010


•my art for the 826LA art auction•
based on my eye witness account
of the Great Summer of 2010 Rampage

Some artists are "out there". Dan Santat is one of them. Like, Ooo~Whoo...! Last week Dan and I were doing portfolio consultations at the SCBWI writers' and illustrators' conference in LA. I learned that besides being Lord Vader's valet, Mr. Santat has some rather unsettling super powers. He can bend a palm tree by strumming his ukulele, and he can make art that bends the mind.

Yes, bends the actual mind. For some reason, a group of artists found his new book, OH NO! exciting and inspiring. It is a (soon to go viral) little picture book for warped children. The good kind of warped. He says that his book is a sort of homage to Japanese rampaging monster movies. But I promise, it is educational too. I actually own a copy of the book. I love it. My kids love it. My grand kids love it. Maybe love isn't the right word. We eat it. We gnaw on it. We run screaming down the street with it. Yeah, that's better.

You can bid on and own a piece of the art that has been made (as a spin off from OH NO!) for the fundraiser. Proceeds go to 826LA which is a non-profit organization dedicated to supporting students ages 8-12 with their creative and expository writing skills, and helping teachers inspire their students to write.

I don't think it's a problem if an artist has a few screws loose. It all depends on which screws.

Check out Dan's site and check out THE AUCTION here: Eye Witness Reports There are some seriously stellar artists who have joined the fray. First EBAY auction online August 23-27

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Ding Dong The Book Is Dead

SAY WHAT?? Oh, man I hate hearing this. When Garrison Keillor announced in May that publishing was dead, a lot of people threw themselves out of ground floor library windows. Or at least threw out their cassette tapes of Prairie Home Companion. When I heard this I threw myself off the couch.

Rubin Pfeffer

When Gutenberg printed his big book back in 1450-something, a lot of calligraphers stabbed things with their quills and threw lamp black ink out their windows.

Having just returned from the SCBWI (Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators) conference in LA, I am inspired, pumped, and curious about this quantum leap in publishing. The times they are a changing. My agent, Rubin Pfeffer, in his key note speech (which rocked the house) urged the organization to transform itself into an ebook publisher. He challenged authors and illustrators to get a handle on the fact that "the world wide market for digital publishing will be very, very large".

Rubin took pains to emphasize that the changes are, "Not instead of, but in addition to..." (the traditional book form). I love the fact that he said, "Our challenge will be to remain high above all the poor quality material out there."

This is a huge discussion, which will unfold in ways we can't imagine. Pfeffer says, "With books being reinvented, we must be innovative in creating content that can leverage the multimedia capabilities of technologies like the iPad." . Although I don't have an iPad yet, I am making one out of cardboard, tape and tin foil just to tide me over.

Going to this conference was seriously inspiring, but also provided the occasional surprise. Such as helping Jay Asher, Rachel Vail, and Carolyn Mackler into their Cupid costumes. Those wings offer up engineering challenges you wouldn't believe.

I loved being back in L.A.. So-Cal is my stompin' grounds. You never know what you are going to see, like the space age gas station (above). Last time I was here the police blocked off the street during a bank robbery in progress, with me trapped in front of the bank.

In the lobby of the Hyatt Century Plaza Hotel, with writers and bloggers extraordinaire, Jolie Stekly, Jaime Temairik, Martha Brockenbrough, and Molly Blaisdell.

Me and blog buddy, Julia Kelley.

RJW with Ann Whitford Paul, and mi hijo, Jesse. Ann's book on writing for children is one of the best I have ever found: Writing Picture Books: A Hands-On Guide From Story Creation to Publication. Jesse has an amazing new picture book coming out in the fall, HOPE FOR HAITI.

Like musician and poet, Paul Simon said, "If you want to be a writer, find a humble pen." Or make that~find a humble digital device.

There is fo-sho a publishing revolution underway. Books will change, and books will stay the same. Both. But however we receive our content, remember this:

"Of the making of books there will be no end." ~Ecclesiastes 12:12