Stacked in Our Favor

Thoughts about libraries, education, children's literature, writing, art and being connected

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Feeling Stylish

A marvelous thing happened to me. Children’s book author, public and school librarian and all round, wonderful friend, Ann Dixon, emailed to tell me she was bestowing The Stylish Blog Award upon me. Thank you, Ann! This act of your friendship and affirmation have made my month!

I had never heard of the award. So I looked it up only to find that there is no official source telling about the award. However, after looking at many blogs that have received the award I can tell you that the rules seem to be:

1.     After saying thank you, you link back to the person who bestowed the award upon you.
2.     You are to tell the world between 7 – 10 things about yourself. People vary widely on their thoughts on this.
3.     You then pass the award along to anywhere from 1 – 15 bloggers you have recently found.

My Seven Things

Most of you probably don’t know that:  

1 . I am obsessed with reflections. Especially how light reflects in glass and water, how culture is reflected in people and how when two cultures meet one is reflected in the other and visa versa. Last summer I contemplated starting a blog named “The Reflectionist” to showcase my photos and thoughts on reflections, but it gave way to other projects.

2. The first place my mother took me after I was born was the public library.

3. One of my more unusual jobs was being an origami test folder.

4. My first grade teacher thought I might have a problem with speech because I was so quiet in class. My mother thought she might be mistaking me for someone else.

5. My grandfather was in the circus, but I’m just a clown.

6. I took up rock climbing to help me get over my fear of heights. It didn’t work. Can’t explain what made me decide climbing Bruneschelli’s Dome to get a bird’s eye view of Florence was a good idea.

7. I love flowers, but don’t ask me to tell you what my favorite flower is. If you dare to do so, I’ll probably tell you the last flower I saw or what is in season. See what I mean?

I’m delighted to bestow the following bloggers with the Stylish Blog Award:

I couldn’t resist passing it along to long time friend, Cindi Huss at Dancing Threads 

The rest of these marvelous folks I have come in contact with within the past year. I have arranged them in alphabetical order. Those of you who are familiar with my work as a school librarian know that I am crazy about alphabetical order. 

Debbie Davidson - Etegami by Dosanko Debbie
Debbie Ohi - Inky Girl
Holly Thompson Hat Books
Jim Hill - Hey, Jim Hill 
Julie Hedlund - Write Up my Life
Kat Apel - Kat Whiskers
Kathleen Isaac – Grilly Fish 

Sunday, May 8, 2011

NaPiBoWriWee Wrap Up

This is the second year I’ve participated in NaPiBoWriWee. Last year it seemed like a huge challenge and commitment. I voraciously read the resources on Paula Yoo’s blog. As well I should. She provides great inspiration and the comraederie is wonderful.

This year, I had plenty on my plate. By all that is sane, I should have excused myself and lurked jealously, but I had looked forward to the challenge all year long. NaPiBoWriWee 2010 is how I met my cherished writer buddies – buddies who have cheered me on the whole year since. I jumped in this year thinking that each Picture Book I wrote would be more to add to my file – good, bad or in between. I may have worried each one into existence usually crossing the finish line just before bedtime each day, but finish I did. There are a few which are near the front of my editing stack.

I found time to tweet compatriots on the road, but I only managed one blog post. Sorry Paula and to those who I might have reached with information about this great event.

This year I was prepared to write using the ideas I came up with during PiBoIdMo. So I did not need to think of a brand new idea and do the writing each day. This made it simple. Last year the week seemed long and the writing hard. This year I did not experience it that way. It’s like I’ve built up the muscles the task requires over the past year. Time was in short supply this year, but the act of writing itself seemed easier. Perhaps it was easier to accept that these are drafts that can be edited into something better. I had more confidence that I could do it.

What I have learned this time around:

1.    The practice of writing does indeed make the job easier.
2.    Community, online or off, is a precious thing.
3.    Pacing picture book writing throughout the year is helpful to sustaining momentum. PiBoIdMo in November, NaPiBoWriWee in May, and PB Dummy Challenge (which I have failed, but lurked and learned from) between the two. Hope these challenges continue to be offered.
4.    Finding people who write Picture Books is very helpful in writing them. Not all my writer friends have the interest or understanding of the genre. It is important to maintain contacts with people who share the types of writing you enjoy doing.
5.    I need to work on my system for tracking Picture Book ideas, drafts, and almost done manuscripts.
6.    I have many aspects of picture books to explore. I feel like I need to write some that are junk stories in order to explore different aspects of writing picture books.

Thanks, Paula, for running this challenge. I look forward to doing it again next year. I’m sure that NaPiBoWriWee 2012 will yield new observations and skill sets.

If you’ve missed it this year, I’d still suggest you take a look at Paula’s blog. She provides great writing resources, writing advice and author/illustrator interviews. All of this is helpful not only for the yet to be published author, but also for the lovers of picture books everywhere. 

Monday, May 2, 2011

NaPiBoWriWee 2011

Just a quick post to let you know that NaPiBoWriWee 2011 is going on right now! What? You don't know what NaPiBoWriWee is? National Picture Book Writing Week is the brain child of children's book writer, screen writer and musician Paula Yoo who packs more into her schedule than I care to think about. With all of these activities swirling about, she found it was hard to take the time to sit down to write those picture book ideas that were swirling in her head. So she set a goal, gave it a name and invited others to join her. The goal is to write a picture book a day for seven days. If you take the challenge you and finish you will have seven picture book drafts when you are done. Some people have more than that. 

Paula is a great cheerleader. She provides guest bloggers, writing tips, inspirational posts and community through this challenge. Oh, and there are prizes. For those who do finish the challenge, there are a number of books signed by authors or illustrators ready to be distributed. While the real fun is the challenge itself and the community, the prizes are an added bonus. 

I met many of my writing buddies through this challenge last year. We have crossed paths many times during other writing challenges. So this week feels like homecoming week to me. These friends, and you know who you are, have added so much to my life this past year - encouragement, knowledge, information, humor and motivation. We've participated in some of the same challenges, we've visited each other's blogs, we follow each other on twitter. This is one of the many beauties of the internet. So Paula, thanks for starting it all!

This article is also posted at my blog Picture Book Inspirations