Wednesday, November 19, 2014

something new

"Perhaps the excitement of a new idea 
comes partly from the feeling of freedom that accompanies the loss 
of the previous idea." 

 -John Tarrant  
Bring Me The Rhinoceros

 Something new, from this week. A girl and a dragon...

Tuesday, November 18, 2014


"Oh," said Sister Marie out loud in her sleep, in her chair by the door, 
"how wonderful.  Didn't I know it? I did. I did. I knew it all along."

-Kate DiCamillo, The Magicians Elephant

I've been delving into a world of blackness and stars and flight as I work on a new story.  And so it feels like a good time to share this excerpt from Kate DiCamillo's book, The Magician's Elephant. The beauty of the language and storytelling took my breath away the first time I read it.

"As the snow fell, Sister Marie, who sat by the door at the Orphanage of the Sisters of Perpetual Light, dreamed too.  She dreamed that she was flying high over the world, her habit spread out on either side of her like dark wings.  She was terribly pleased, because she had always, secretly, deep within her heart, believed that she could fly.  And now here she was, doing what she had long suspected she could do, and she could not deny that it was gratifying in the extreme.
Sister Marie looked down at the world below her and saw millions and millions of stars and thought, I am not flying over the earth at all.  Why, I am flying higher than that. I am flying over the very tops of the stars.  I am looking down at the sky. And then she realized that no, no, it was the earth that she was flying over, and that she was looking not at the stars but at the creatures of the world, and that they were all, they were each- beggars, dogs, orphans, kings, elephants, soldiers- 
emitting pulses of light.
 The whole of creation glowed.
    Sister Marie's heart grew large in her chest, and her heart, expanding in such a way, allowed her to fly higher and then higher still- but no matter how high she flew, she never lost sight of the glowing earth below her.  "Oh," said Sister Marie out loud in her sleep, in her chair by the door, 

"how wonderful.  Didn't I know it? I did.  I did. I knew it all along."
-Kate DiCamillo, The Magicians Elephant


Sunday, November 16, 2014

when we no longer know

"It may be that when we no longer know what to do 
we have come to our real work 
and that when we no longer know which way to go 
we have begun our real journey... 
The impeded stream is the one that sings."

-Wendell Berry, Standing By Words

Thursday, October 23, 2014


"Perfectionism is a mean, frozen form of idealism, 
while messes are the artist’s true friend."

-Anne Lamott

A few happy messes, from my sketchbooks:

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

something is always far away


"The world is blue at its edges and in its depths. This blue is the light that got lost... the blue end of the spectrum does not travel the whole distance from the sun to us. It disperses among the molecules of the air, it scatters in water... the blue at the farthest reaches of the places where you see for miles, the blue of distance.
This light that does not touch us, does not travel the whole distance, the light that gets lost, gives us the beauty of the world, so much of which is in the color at the far edge of what can be seen, that color of horizons... of anything far away.  The color of there seen from here, the color of where you are not. And the color of where you can never go. For the blue is not in the place those miles away at the horizon, but in the atmospheric distance between you and the mountains.
look across the distance without wanting to close it up...own your longing in the same way that you own the beauty of that blue that can never be possessed...  For something of this longing will, like the blue of distance, only be relocated, not assuaged, by acquisition and arrival, just as the mountains cease to be blue when you arrive among them and the blue instead tints the next beyond...Something is always far away. "


the north wind

I've been thinking about the color blue.  Pthalo, turquoise, cobalt, cerulean, indigo, ultramarine.  What is the feeling of blue?  I'm choosing colors for a few characters that I'm working on, and as I walk through my days, I keep looking for the perfect blue.  The blue that catches your eye and looks as though it is lit from within.  And so it was a thrill to happen upon the above lovely words, by Rebecca Solnit.  And a big thank you to Maria Popova over at Brain Pickings for introducing me to her work.   I love this idea of "the color of there seen from here, the color of where you are not. And the color of where you can never go... "

the east wind, shopping for shoes.

Sunday, October 19, 2014


"If you want to be a writer you have to be reverent.
If not, why are you writing? Why are you here?
Think of reverence as awe,
as presence in and openness to the world."
A few weeks ago, through my local Western WA chapter of SCBWI, I had the opportunity to take classes with two illustrators whose work I admire a great deal,  Sergio Ruzzier and Kelly Murphy.  After three days that were filled to the brim (with experimental drawing, inking, color theory, spectacular sunsets and the kindest most wonderful people) I came home inspired, grateful, in awe.

Friday, September 12, 2014

the greatest storyteller

"The wind is the greatest storyteller of them all.
Just listen to the wind."

-Tomi Ungerer

A few nights ago I was finally able to watch Far Out Isn't Far Enough, a documentary about the life and art of Tomi Ungerer.  There were many things that I loved about it (seeing the clear influence of a childhood surrounded by war/propoganda/art on his art making, his own influence on Sendak's Where The Wild Things Are, his thoughts on the importance of fear in the development of courage.) His words about the wind were also great company, as I work on my own windy story.  

And there were more than a few other quotes worth remembering and repeating:

"Here in Ireland the greatest compliment 
you can pay someone is to say they are genuine."

-Tomi Ungerer 
(from Far Out Isn't Far Enough: The Tomi Ungerer Story)