Tuesday, December 22, 2015


"Take a deep breath, and slow down." 

"My first piece of advice is always to slow down."

-Steven Malk 




I'm thrilled to announce that I am now represented by Steven Malk
literary agent at Writers House!




A little back story—  


It started with a book.  A gift from a friend, not long after my daughter was born.  The book was All In A Day, by Cynthia Rylant and Nikki McClure.  My whole family loved it— we loved the art, we loved the words.  And I was struck by how well they worked together.  And then I began to wonder how Nikki (whose calendars had hung in our home for years) came to work with such an extraordinary writer on her first picture book.  

A little research led to this interview with literary agent Steven Malk.  A little more research and I realized he represented not two, not five— but more than twenty of my favorite writers and illustrators.  He represented the people who made the books that I LOVED.  Books like The Very Persistent Gappers of Frip, Mrs. Crump's Cat, All the World, and Extra Yarn.  Books that became part of the language of my family, books that changed my life.

And so, impressed by the interview, I rushed to query him a few days later, with an alphabet story I'd written and illustrated.  And he declined to represent me.  But, he was encouraging.  And I had a sense of something bigger now, a vision of the kinds of books I'd like to make.  Not books that I could make yet, but the books that I wanted to make.  So I kept drawing, I kept writing.  Since then I've heard Steve speak at three SCBWI conferences.  And each time he's said the same thing— be intentional, take the long view, slow down.

Steve has a philosophy that, with patience, passion and effort— people can make beautiful things.   

That book, that first query—was four years ago.  And it's been fifteen years, since I knew this was the work I wanted to do.  And now— seven SCBWI conferences (regional and national) and eight book dummies later, I am thrilled to be working with Steve.  

Persistence can be hard to maintain.  Practicing patience, for me, is even harder.  But it helps when I think of it as a dance— in slow motion.  For even the slowest of dances has rhythm and flow.

All of which brings to mind these words by Ira Glass, words that have been such good company on this journey—

“Nobody tells this to people who are beginners, and I really wish somebody had told this to me. 
All of us who do creative work, we get into it because we have good taste. But there is this gap. For the first couple years that you're making stuff, what you're making isn't so good. It’s trying to be good, it has ambition to be good, but it’s not that good. But your taste, the thing that got you into the game, is still killer. And your taste is why your work disappoints you. A lot of people never get past this phase, they quit.  

And the thing that I would say to you, with all of my heart, is this— 

most everybody I know who does interesting, creative work went through a phase— they went through years of this. We know our work doesn’t have this special thing that we want it to have. We all go through this.  And if you are just starting out or if you are still in this phase, you've got to  know it's normalAnd the most important thing you can do is do a lot of work.  It is only by going through a volume of work that you will catch up and close that gap.  And the work you're making will be as good as your ambitions. 

I took longer to figure out how to do this than anyone I’ve ever met. It takes a while It’s gonna take you awhile. It’s normal to take awhile. And you've just got to fight your way through that okay?” 


Monday, December 21, 2015

longest night

A few stars here... in celebration of the longest night of the year.