A Blast from the Past

I’ve been organizing bookshelves in my office, and I found some classics from my past.

When I was 13, I had to make a decision about continuing my Catholic faith. I decided to step away from the church, and I had many questions. This book helped me with that:

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Well-worn reminders of why books are so important.

I had almost forgotten about this fun middle grade adventure:

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Check out these great interior illustrations:

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Picture Books and Plays

A light went on (so to speak).

A connection I hadn’t thought of before fused in an unexpected way.

In April I was at the Western Washington SCBWI Conference. I attended Justin Chanda’s session on editing picture books. Justin Chanda is the vice president and publisher of a bunch of imprints at Simon and Schuster, and he edited, among many other books, Jon Scieszka and Mac Barnett’s book, Battle Bunny, a book I happen to adore.

Justin Chanda was fantastic! Not only did he hand out actual manuscripts for three great picture books (I love, love, love models to work from), but he explained how he felt editing was a lot like directing a play.

This is when I had my connection.

During the month of April I was working on “Main Course,” my short comedy I wrote for the Orcas Island Ten Minute Playfest. I attended rehearsals as a very talented director worked with actors to create life from my script.

The results were much more awesome than I even imagined. I never grow tired of the magic which transforms words on a script to a live performance.

Stage Magic with Adam and Brian
Stage Magic with Adam and Brian
Adam, Aaimee, and Brian
Adam, Aaimee, and Brian

(Photos by Michael Armenia)

When Mr. Chanda made the director/editor connection, I could totally see this. The editor, like the director, coaxes and encourages the story along. As I considered the writing versus the finished picture book, I thought, perhaps, the artist is like the actors; the ones who make the story come to life.

Suddenly I could see what I do as a playwright in relation to what I could do as a picture book writer.

Playwright, director, actors: Performance

Writer, editor, artist: Book or story.

Connection.

I love it when this happens!

 

>Finding Voice

>Both of my sons started blogging recently, and, like any proud mother, I read their work eagerly. I love the intrinsic Liam and Holden-ness.

Liam describes his dreams like a poet:

I am a ten year old boy who dreams of exploring the vast water of our planet to do marine biology all over the our planet. I love fish them self not the taste I hate all meat by the way. I like the color GREEN A LOT! The color of sea grass.

Holden postulates communication in the universe:

One high frequency photon can be split into to low frequency photons. These photons are now entangled which means no matter where you are in the universe whatever you do to one photon happens immediately to the other one.

I wish I could write as beautifully as my children. I want to unlearn everything and find my way back to the essence of dreams and imagination . . .
into honesty.