Friday, March 21, 2008

Spiderwick Chronicles

Awesome afternoon with 3 young men today -- ate a fastfood picnic on the subway down to the theatre where we saw Spiderwick Chronicles. First, I was delighted to be in the company of such interesting and courteous youth. Happier still that 2 out of the 3 were mine -- bodes well for the years to come. And the movie was a treat. None of us had read the books so the entire storyline was a surprise. I know, where have we been? Well...Germany. We're a little behind on a few things here, less advertising, less commercialism and therefore we're a little slower to get on the newest trend. However, I digress.

Had a fabulous experience that is difficult to adequately put into words. When I was six, maybe seven, I wrote my first story. I remember having this need to record, in a permanent form, this fantasy I was thinking through. So I penciled it into an old journal. I still have it, somewhere. It was about the little people that live on the seeds of a dandelion and are in charge of making sure the wish comes true. You know, that bit about making a wish and then blowing all of the dandelion seeds into the air. Imagine my wonder when my little people were brought to life in that movie.

It was such a mind blowing feeling that I have revived my drive to see my characters 'come to life.' It is one thing to describe what is in your head, it is another to find out that your description brings the same image into someone else’s mind. Cool!

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Lovely Life

About a month ago, we became the proud owners of 6 wee larvae. They arrived in a tiny plastic case filled with leaves. We fed them organic cabbage (sadly, the amount of pesticide on normal cabbage is said to exterminate them--as it should, I guess). And fed them and fed them and fed them. They were "The Very Hungry Caterpillar" times 6.

Wowza! What excitement to see them grow and expand. Unfortunately, one didn't make it through the first week. Another, always much smaller, died just before metamorphosis to pupa. But 4 attached themselves, made a chrysalis and spent 10 days transforming.

3 out of 4 have turned into butterflies and the boys couldn't be happier if it were the birth of a baby. Four of us stood around cheering each shift and wiggle as the first butterfly emerged.

Now the real test of our habitat, will they lay eggs and repeat the cycle? The boys have friends that are willing to take extra larvae off our hands. Hmmm, maybe I should give up writing and farm cabbage butterflies.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Lost Teeth

Yesterday, my middle son lost a tooth. He put it under his pillow and this morning was happy to inform us that the tooth fairy remembered to visit.

I took it as a good omen and I mailed off the full. No regrets and many hopes invested in that envelope. If only I had my own star to wish on.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Busy, Busy, Busy.

Wow! Crumpled Paper has had a very busy week. Two grant proposals, one S.O.S. crit (from me) and our weekly submission. Everyone has been writing and critiquing their little eyes out. Good luck to everyone with their projects!

In the last few months a transition has occurred in our group, a subtle slide to longer works. Weekly crits are now chapters instead of complete stories. Learning to write and critique a longer work means we have all had to do our homework. Brushing up on punctuation and learning to write in a consistent voice has meant that all of our writing has become stronger.

I’m just a little worried that I've lost a terrific PB group and found a beginning CB group.

Saturday, March 8, 2008

Life is Strange.

Life tosses such unexpected curves. Modern communication means we instantly know the good and the bad. From afar, it's easy to rejoice, but giving comfort and help is a different matter. We're often left with a feeling of helplessness. There isn't much one can do, except think good thoughts and share them. And so that's what we're doing.

My heart goes out to H and John, and I hope they both have a speedy return to full health.

Saturday, March 1, 2008

Bologna Book Fair -- Here I come!

We have reached the countdown. At the end of the month I will be heading to my first SCBWI conference; in Bologna, no less. I'm really excited.

First, I think it will be a personal challenge to experience an in-face critique. I mostly operate with the anonymity of the internet. When my critique group doesn't like it, I can take a few minutes, or hours, before replying.

Second, it will be nice to meet some people who understand the entire process of becoming a writer. I won't have to tell any of them that I don't need to send the illustrations with my manuscript since I don't illustrate. I won't have to explain the length of time a submission sits in the slush before their 'no response unless interested' can be applied.

It will be refreshing to talk technique and structure. It is my belief (perhaps mistaken) that I'm not just striving to make the perfect story, but also to make it in the perfect picture book format. And let's not forget, the perfect cover letter to go with it. I hope to pick up some handy tidbits to apply to my manuscripts, past and future.

And selfishly, I'm really looking forward to travelling by myself and having some quiet moments to ponder life. My life.

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