Not out till 2017 but I’m too excited about this to keep it to myself any longer…
So, I thought I’d taken a pretty cool photo of a clam shell on the beach this summer and posted it for the assignment on symmetry in the class I’d been taking the month before. (The “classroom” stays open even when the class is officially over.) The instructor, Joy Sussman, suggested: I think this would pack more dramatic punch if it were vertical–like wings. You can just rotate it in PicMonkey. Maybe a tiny crop to center it, too.
Well, just as can happen when a writing-friend or editor makes a friendly, helpful suggestion for a little change to a scene and you run with it, I took Joy’s suggestion, picked up on her words “dramatic punch” and . .
You may have seen me excited about something like this happening in a post last winter. My enthusiasm for making pictures (not always involving post-processing) has not waned!
I’ll soon begin my fourth term with Joy, exploring my growing passion for making pictures. See you there?
Labour Day weekend on the south shore of Nova Scotia included happy hours with family and then with beloved writer-friend, Budge Wilson. My first weekend home after a long summer away, I made seeing family here a priority: son, daughter, sister, dad, and attachments where applicable (including this lovely boy I hadn’t seen since July).
This past weekend the focus was on other aspects of my wonderful life.
Friday night — Lovely turnout in Fergus for the launch of my writer-in-residence term with Wellington County Public Libraries. Great to see writer, Marilyn Helmer, there, and to hear how I’d inspired her at an event years ago to “take [her] dreams out of the drawer”.
Saturday morning — Long walk with my dog in the Rockwood Conservation Area, hanging out with the heron and reconnecting with dog-walking friends. Then finished reading the final quarter of a ya novel manuscript by Hadley Dyer, in preparation for a Writing Group meeting the next day. Despite a number of questions yet to be resolved, I’d say she’s close to having it ready for publication.
Saturday afternoon — Participated in a “Welcome Neighbours” event for Syrian refugees in Guelph, organized by the indefatigable Eric Walters. The event featured a reading of Stepping Stones: A Refugee Family’s Journey by Margriet Ruurs and Nizar Badr. Each guest (authors, illustrators, local politicians and other dignitaries) was assigned a page. After reading the English, a 14-year-old recent arrival in Canada read the Arabic so expressively that, had she read the story right through, from her voice alone you would know where in the journey the family was. I wish Naia, her uncle, and all the other families who came, many happy years here in Canada.
Saturday evening — Finished reading The Night Stages by Jane Urquhart in preparation for tonight’s Book Club meeting over dinner, to be followed by an evening with the author at the Georgetown Public Library. Some passages begged to be read aloud. It will be interesting to see if Jane will choose any of my favourites for her reading.
Sunday morning — Met with Writing Group for a good discussion of Hadley’s work. And I read a possible new beginning for the novel I’ve been wrestling with this year. Grateful for their encouraging words and their suggestions.
Sunday afternoon — With Writing Group member, Lena Coakley, off to read from her book The World of Ink and Shadows at the Eden Mills Writers Festival, and the others heading back to Toronto, I spent an hour or so working in the garden, then hunkered down to begin reading, and preparing to read for the CNIB, The Fortunate Brother by Donna Morrissey. What an honour to be offered such a fine book and I know I’m going to enjoy in the months ahead reading it aloud at the CNIB Recording Studio.
Sunday evening — Followers of my blog know I’m becoming quite an avid photographer. One of my favourite communities for sharing photos and photography talk is oopoomoo Creatives. Their challenge for this month is to create a collection of five photos on the theme of colour. So Sunday evening I combed through my recent photos looking for possibilities. Can you guess which colour I think I’m going to submit?
What’s up for the last weekend of September? My calendar suggests: Nothing! The packed weekends I’ve just had have been great but I’m looking forward to the unpacked weekend coming up too. What’s your idea of an ideal weekend?
Writer Sarah Ellis once gave a talk in which she distinguished between “writing” and “being a writer.” I may be busier “being a writer” in the coming months than I’ll be busy “writing.” Fortunately, I have a new picture book that’s finished which Annick has scheduled for publication in the spring of 2017. (More on that in a future post. For now I’ll just say I’m fortunate once again to have Dusan Petricic doing the illustrations to go with my text.)
Here’s what I’ll be up to:
On September 17, I’m happy to be participating at an event to welcome Syrian refugee families to Guelph. Thanks to Eric Walters for inviting me to take part and to Annick Press for making a generous donation of books for the kids in the families attending to take home with them.
From September 15 to December 15, I’ll be Writer-in-Residence for Wellington County Public Library. I live in Wellington County and I’ll enjoy driving to various branches around this beautiful part of Ontario — to conduct workshops and readings, give presentations on different aspects of writing, and meet one-on-one with writers looking for feedback on their projects. (I get to spend a good chunk of time at home on my own writing too.)
In October (10-15), I’m looking forward to presenting at Wordfest in Calgary and doing a school visit or two there as well.
On November 19, I’ll be conducting a Picture Book Writing Master Class at CANSCAIP’s 32nd Packaging Your Imagination conference in its new location.
Hope to see some of you at some of these events!
Storywalk® is an innovative way to get people of all ages to take a stroll while reading children’s picture books. Pages of a book are transformed into wind-and-rain-proof signs that are then placed on a playground, at a fair or music festival. The project originated in Vermont and Storywalks have now taken place in every American state and eleven other countries.
This summer (August 19-21), the Owen Sound and North Grey Union Public Library will include a Storywalk as part of the area’s 41st Annual Summerfolk Festival. And what better picture book to feature at a music festival than . . . The Man with the Violin!
If you’ll be in the area then, be sure to check it out!
Photo courtesy of Kellogg-Hubbard Library; used with permission.
Fun to get these new editions of The Man with the Violin. Korean and Portuguese editions coming soon too. But that’s not all that’s been happening with this book lately.
The National Arts Centre has big plans. The multi-talented composer Anne Dudley has been laying the groundwork for a musical treatment of the book — for orchestra, solo violin, and narrator. Normal – an animation/video design company from Montreal (who worked with the NAC on the beautiful and moving “Life Reflected”) will design a single-screen treatment of Dusan Petricic’s artwork as part of the show.
The Manager of Artistic Planning for the NAC Orchestra says, “It is our hope that the piece will be easily produced by other orchestras. I expect that it will have a robust life on children’s concerts for some time!”
The world premiere will be in February 2017 at the Kennedy Center in Washington D.C., the city where the true story of what happened when a world-class violinist (Joshua Bell) performed in a subway station and almost no one listened. (Joshua himself will be the solo violinist for the world premiere.)
The date for the Canadian premiere, which will also feature Joshua Bell, is yet to be announced. You can be sure to find out the details here, as soon as I have them.
Many of the kids in this pic took home their first ever “mine for keeps” books yesterday thanks to First Book Canada. Owning a book is a new concept for some of them. When I handed one boy his copy of The Man with the Violin he asked me, “Do I bring it back tomorrow?” When I told him he got to take it home and keep it – along with another book of his choosing from the table at the back of the room – he could hardly believe it!
Who are those folks in blue the kids are being introduced to? BMO volunteers who came to the school to read the new books with the kids in cozy groups of two or three, after their visit with me. A great pleasure to be part of this event, which began with all the kids singing a beautifully sung song about changing the world.
Thank you First Book Canada, BMO, and the great staff and students at Corliss PS.
Thanks to FBC’s Kate Burgess for this photo of two happy book recipients.
Sure, I wrote Red Is Best – first published in 1982 and still going strong. Those Green Things – first published in 1985 and again in 1995 with new illustrations when sales began to flag – has now been officially declared out of print.
Don’t tell anyone, but I actually like green more than red, especially in May when my corner of the world seems to explode with it. As Those Green Things begins to fade from bookshelves, here is a selection of my spring 2016 photos that celebrate the colour green.