Saturday, January 31, 2009

New Sketch with Color

My new fancy colored pencils arrived today and I had to color something in. Here it is:

Library Camp-In

Our public library had a No-TV week for children. If they made the pledge and managed to not watch TV for a whole week, then they could participate in the Library Camp-In. My daughter did it and she had to bring a parent--Me! I was so excited. I mean, an all-nighter at a library, a place where one should read. Could life get better? There were kids crafts during the evening, all of which were a little too young for my 12 year old. But that's okay, we wandered around, played a paper game and then entered the auditorium about 8:00 p.m. for the storyteller, Will Hornyak. I've heard him before and he is great. Door prizes followed Will, then off to brush teeth, get in pajamas and go to our sleeping area. It's a big library and there were over 100 campers. Although the children were a little wild after the show, I wasn't worried because I knew the lights went out at 10 p.m. and we were all supposed to bring flashlights, which I assumed were for reading while in your sleeping bag. That's what Hannah and I used them for. But there were still a lot of kids running around after the lights went out. So, I've discovered I get grumpy when I don't get sleep, even grumpier when parents assume it's okay with everyone else that their children run around wherever for however long. To be fair, there were a lot of campers and for the most part even those running around weren't THAT noisy. I guess I just looked forward to reading--and sleeping--in the quiet library. (I may not do it again but for the one time it was fun).

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

And My Illustrator Friend is....

I should have mentioned the name of my illustrator friend who's teaching me to add color to my sketches. She is Andrea Fitcha and her website is:

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Learning to Add Color

My illustrator friend is teaching me to add color to my pictures. Up to now, I've only been brave enough to sketch using a pencil with an eraser. Adding color seems so permanent. Well, I guess I'll get over my fears a step at a time.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

The Battle of the Shed

I knew I was going in under the harshest of conditions. I knew it might be a futile attempt. But it had to be done and I was the one to do it. "Courage is not the absence of fear..." And I was very afraid.

For armor, I wore a long-sleeved, thick shirt, heavy jeans, and barn boots. I brought in reinforcements--the large garbage can and empty boxes. I arranged the troops around the door and then burst it open. I fought near the door for over an hour, striking and retreating and striking again. The garbage can was at its peak as it gobbled up the enemy. Empty boxes kept prisoners that would later be recycled or taken to HQ for re-filing. Books, notebooks and memorabilia were thrown at me. Vermin had ruined some of the books; those were tossed to Garbage Detail. Obsolete papers were ripped out of notebooks and given to Recycling Detail.

Finally, I had a corner, established a base camp, and moved further into enemy territory from there. But the garbage can was full and had to retreat. An overlarge box stepped in to take its place. Suddenly I was surrounded by boxes full of...nevermind what they were full of. I had to strike again and again. I was wearing down. The words of FDR filled my mind: "the only thing we have to fear is fear itself—nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror which paralyzes needed efforts to convert retreat into advance." I had to advance, not retreat. And suddenly, it was the calvary! Chris, my right hand man, arrived, fresh for the fight. He burst in through the shed on the opposite side, through the large doors. He flung sticks out the door, swept (literally) through a whole section, and reached me in time to back the enemy into a corner.

We rushed out of there and locked it up. The shed was still standing but so were we. Another day, we will return, and we will NOT FAIL!

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Red Lines

The 20,000 word book I wrote has returned from an editor. So many red lines; so little time.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Mime Show

(My goal with this post is to keep it short; let's see if I can do it.)

I think most people think "clowning," "street mime," and "leave me alone" when hearing the word "mime." To me it's storytelling, and it's magical. With no objects, no hidden cameras, and no special effects, a mime creates entire environments that the audience can "see." I remember watching Marcel Marceau create a sidewalk cafe, with at least six characters. In spite of having nothing but himself on stage, I could see each table, chair, pool table, door, and all the other props he created. And the characters! Even they were distinguishable from each other. Yes, magical.

I had a mime show last Saturday for a children's event. The closer it got to the event, the more I was sure that no one would show up--or maybe five people would come. I was wrong. Forty-five people showed up and most of the children were older elementary--perfect for what I do. The 46 of us had great fun.

(and I kept it short-ish--miraculous!)

Sunday, January 11, 2009

A Vision of a Story

A few years ago I started sketching. I picked up the book Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain (which I have not yet finished; I'll add that to my list) and began the exercises. I got a cartooning book for Christmas one year. I bought a small sketch book that I put in my purse so I could sketch whenever. I started sketching at business or church meetings, while waiting in the car or in an office. My thought was, by the time one of my picture book stories gets accepted by a publishing company, I may know how to draw and I'll be able to illustrate my own book. So that hasn't happened yet--I haven't had a picture book manuscript accepted nor have I learned to draw well enough to illustrate it. I haven't even advanced to adding color (an illustrator friend is going to teach me a bit about that in a couple of weeks). But I do have an amusing time sketching.

At first, I tried sketching the people sitting around me or the person speaking but that didn't work so well. I didn't want to be caught sketching a person in case they caught me and wanted to see the picture--that would be humiliating. Besides, people don't sit perfectly still. I started staring at walls, carpets, clouds, and ceilings and picking out pictures--you know the whole cloud thing: "That one looks like a fish...that one looks like a dragon blowing smoke about to eat the fish." Well there are pictures in walls, carpets, and ceilings if they don't have actual patterns in them. It's easier to draw those pictures because I'm not trying to make them look like a real person, nor do they move.

Today, as I stared at the carpet looking for something to draw, I saw instead a story--no, not actual words--but the picture I saw made me wonder about the characters in it. Then the imagination kicked in gear and soon I had a story line.

Tomorrow, I'll type up the story. Maybe I'll make the sketch that goes with it.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Cardamom Bread

Every Christmas season, I make Cardamom bread. I love it. It has nothing to do with writing or performing but I love it. Here's the recipe:
Dissolve 2 Tbls yeast in 1/2 c hot water.
Beat together the following until smooth:
2 c scalded milk
1 c butter, melted
1 c sugar
1 egg
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp crushed cardamom
2 c flour
Then add the following and mix well:
softened yeast
about 5 c flour

Knead 10 min. on a floured board, until smooth. Put in a thinly oiled bowl, turning dough to coat. Cover and let rise in a warm place until double (about 1 hour). Knead smooth. Divide into six pieces and roll thin. Braid three. Put on a cookie sheet or cake pan. Cover and let rise until double. Beat 1 egg and brush over bread. Bake at 375 degrees for 20-25 minutes.

Cardamom can be expensive. I've made this bread without cardamom for years but then one year I found a cheaper brand of the spice and I've been able to make cardamom bread with cardamom--whoa, what a concept!