Well, I've spent the last couple of hours messing around with Blogger and it seems to be working just fine. I love figuring out computer stuff up to a point and then I glaze over and wander off to find something else to do... or draw.
I haven't posted on this blog in years, but I'm going to give it a try in my search for an easier way to create blog posts.
I don't ask for much, just a quick way to blather on about things and post pictures.
Here's a page from my watercolor sketchbook.
You are not here merely to make a living. You are here in order to enable the world to live more amply, with greater vision, with a finer spirit of hope and achievement. You are here to enrich the world, and you impoverish yourself if you forget the errand.~ Woodrow Wilson
What are you reading? One of the nice things about winter, if you can call the pale, tepid version that we have here in Southern California, winter... is that there seems to be more time for books.
Small Dog has been enjoying "A Guide to Civilized Loafing"
I'm reluctantly finishing up H. V. Morton's "In Search of England" which is a whimsical travelogue from the twenties. It's so fun I don’t want it to end.
My wonderful friend Teddi teaches lit at UCLA and gifted me with a brand new, shiny set of Nortons (complete with illustrations) so I'm following along with the reading list for her survey class. There is a tasty translation on Beowulf. (mmm Beowulf... "Then a powerful demon, a prowler thorough the dark, nursed a hard grievance.") I just finished "Dream of the Rood" which I hadn't read before. It meshed in nicely with all the medieval manuscripts I've been obsessed with lately.
For the Boy story time we just finished "Millions". I was all weepy at the end, trying to read and not start blubbering. I very much recommend it. It was very funny and suspenseful, all told from the point of view of a little boy who finds a bag of a million pounds and thinks it is a miracle from God. The catch is that he and his brother have to figure out how to spend it before Britain converts to the Euro. We watched the DVD, which was cute too, in an Amélie sort of way.
Now we are reading through the Narnian Chronicles. We're on "The Magician's Nephew" right now. The Boy is hooked so we are set for a month or so.
'To live content with small means; to seek elegance rather than luxury, and refinement rather than fashion; to be worthy, not respectable, and wealthy, not rich; to study hard, think quietly, talk gently, act frankly; to listen to stars and birds, to babes and sages, with open heart; to bear all cheerfully, do all bravely, await occasions, hurry never. In a word, to let the spiritual, unbidden and unconscious, grow up through the common.
Saturday was a day and a half. I went to the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators Editor’s Day. It was scream into your pillow cool! I met so many interesting people that I don’t know where to begin… It was one of those days where I think the World looked down on me and thought, “Let’s see how many clever people and wonderful ideas we can expose Marilyn to before she implodes into a happy drooling puddle of bliss.”
There was Nina Hess who is the senior editor for Mirrorstone. They put out a fantasy series for young readers called Dragonlance. I was very excited because I’m sure the boy will kick them back like shots of root beer. She was also lots of fun to talk to... I get very gleeful when people are making boy stuff. They do Pokemon cards, D and D. I wish schools would realize how good these "games" are for imagination, math skills, interaction and a hundred other things. (more ranting about this later...)
Another speaker was Ben Shrank. He is the editorial director for Alloy Entertainment. They put out “The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants” as well as other teen girl books. He gave some good suggestions on “voice” vs. “story” so now I’m hopped up ready to write more Toymaker’s stories.
Rachel Griffiths from Arthur A. Levine Books read us some amazing children’s books. Really funny ones, blow milk out your nose funny, not the “little teardrop that cried” sort of thing that gets sent home in plastic baggies for the boy to read for homework. (They also publish those Harry Potter books that you may have heard of… something I didn’t realize until I got home.) Rachel gave some really helpful suggestions on children’s book writing, which I am hoping to put to good use in the upcoming hospital/mouse book that I’m working on.
Janet Sweet was another children’s book guru that had the scoop on writing books for real kids, not the ones that you sort of remember from Spielberg movies. The three words that she said that would get the attention of every emergent reader are… (Drum roll)
1. Underwear 2. Fart 3. And the ever popular… poop
And the cool people kept on coming! A very nice man named Mark from Mrs. Nelson’s Toy and Book Shop read a short little story about a monkey’s birthday party from this book.
If you like sick and twisted stories with a junior high level of “sick” and a genius level of “twisted” then stop reading now and go to Amazon and BUY THIS BOOK. Each little story is sour and biting. You will thank me.
Roxyanne Young gave a bucket of tips on Internet marketing, which is fast becoming my hobby. She was great! Her website is www.smartwriters.com. Lots of good stuff there.
I also got to sit at the artist table at lunch and got a pile of good ideas from the other artists.
And because my brain wasn’t full enough yesterday I went to the Orange County Book Fair. It’s small and free and involves kids on a stage dancing, storytellers and cotton candy for a buck but I did buy a couple books. I’m excited about reading this one….
There was more and it will take me days to sort through it all. Dissolving into puddle now.