NYC trip looming

Here is a unique idea in the world of gallery shows. “Fill in the Blanks” marries art and performance art by providing canvases, frames and lumps of clay for artists to develop over the course of the show dates. Mary Brooking of the Maine Illustrators’ collective will be one of the featured artists.

I am busy prepping for my trip to New York. The SCBWI conference does not start until Friday, the 8th but I am going early to show my portfolio to Art Directors and do research at the New York Public Library and meet up with friends and family. A week away from home! ACK! I’ve thrown myself into a whirlwind of laundry, packing, and list making. Lists for portfolio revisions, lists for what to take, lists of addresses and phone numbers, subway maps, amtrak timetables… I like traveling, love the train, and can’t wait to visit the city but I am a little nervous too.

A list:
1. Remember to breathe
2. Work on Chapter 2, Ballet
3. Revise cat montage
4. Finalize portfolio, make sure you have 2, dummy books attached
5. Pack clothing
6. Pack sketch book, traveling drawing kit.
7. Confirm appointments
8. Mapquest directions for Providence train station
9. Highlight relevant subway routes.
10. Check on subway passcard for the week
11. Society of Illustration hours?
12. Breathe.

John Bisbee Opening

    Last night was the opening for Bright Common Spikes: The Sculpture of John Bisbee at the Portland Museum of Art. I happened to be in the museum a couple of weeks ago and met John as he was installing hundreds of flat metal pieces to the wall. John saw me watching his work and cheerfully introduced himself. John lives in my town and works in the art department of  Bowdoin college. Thin, athletic and 42, John has the spirit of Santa and the beard to match. He is effusive and welcoming and invited me to attend the opening. Last night, he paid as much attention to my six and eight year old as every other grown up who wanted to shake his hand. 
    Each metal sculpture in the show is fabricated from nails. In the piece I watched John install, the nails resemble sunbeams radiating from a center screw that mounts the piece against the wall. Unlike a kid’s drawing of a sunbeam or the original nail, the pieces are organic and curvy. One piece flows into the other. Some are mounted two layers against the wall and the result is a graceful intertwining lattice that winds it’s way up a huge three story wall. The piece is framed by the rectangular white spaces the artist has created by the absence of metal. My older son commented that the piece seemed to seep from the ceiling and drip down the wall.
    The opposite wall showed pieces that seemed to climb like vines and sprout from the wall on which they were hung. Spiky and twisted, these sculptures reminded us of the thorny vines that would have grown around Sleeping Beauty’s castle wall.
    The exhibit is extremely kid friendly. My younger son had fun finding patterns, and naming otherwise abstract designs. “This looks like bamboo.” When we viewed a huge airy ball of thin, welded nails he mentioned that he thought he could just roll it away. I asked if it would be heavy or light. He said light. In reality the piece probably weighed a ton but Bisbee has created a sculpture that uses white space as effectively as the skillfully welded nails that are his medium.
    Nails, a common object that anyone can relate to are turned into beautiful (yes beautiful) sculptures. I was constantly amazed that a nail, something so manufactured and tough, could evoke the feeling and look (Seed pods, cocoons, vines, a husk) of something organic.  The exhibit is on display from January 24th through March 23. If you need an excuse to come to Portland, this is it. Don’t forget to bring your children. After viewing the Bisbee exhibit you can take them to the Portland Children’s Museum next door.

Five things on a Saturday

1. It is amazing how normal things continue to happen even though extraordinary things dot the landscape of life. Preparing dinner, cleaning up after, walking the dog, carpooling children… these things still need to be done even though I’m staring at a contract from a lovely agent.
2. Because of snowdays and Martin Luther King Day my children will end up with only one full week of school in January. Those luck dogs. No wonder I’m behind on my blogging duties.
3. Anne Marie is right. (Of course) Just having the agent offer has given me a sense of purpose and time to create. No longer do I have to worry about where the proposal is going next or running to check my mailbox for rejections. I can concentrate on the project that is most important now and give it my full attention. I got so much done on Ballet yesterday.
4. My trip to NYC is fast approaching and I am so excited. If you are going to SCBWI-NY I hope to meet up with you. Leave me a comment. While I’m there, I’ll be able to meet with “my agent” (oooo, that sounds so sweet) and hopefully do more Ballet research at American Ballet Theatre and School of American Ballet. I’m crossing my fingers that I get to meet Angel Corella. (swoon)

5.When I get up at 5 am on a Saturday to work, my children (who refuse to get up at 7 am on school days) manage to wake up by 6:45 needing me.

What great friends I have!

First of all, thanks so much to all who sent their good wishes and happy vibes my way yesterday. I spent most of yesterday  in a day dreamy fog imagining book signings and (ack) interviews with Oprah. I’m just starting to calm down and doubt myself again. So much for artistic confidence. : )  I had a great figure drawing session today followed by an excellent writing partner meeting and a good haircut. Things do seem to be going my way.

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Thanks for helping.

Click To Empower. Brought to you by The Allstate Foundation.

I resolve…

To be more organized. Now some of my on-line friends think that I am super organized. I organize conferences, send out submissions, search for agents, blog regularly (ahem). Okay maybe not I’m not a regular blogger. Maybe if I give Frank, the  LJ goat, some Metamucil, I’d be more regular. But I digress. The fact is that if you saw my studio/office in the last couple months you’d be shocked. Shocked that I dare to be so hypocritical as to tell my children to clean their rooms when mine is such a wreck. As my son E. says, “It looks like a junkyard.” Gotta love a kid who tells the truth. That’s a family value right there. So I’ve been slogging through piles, and recycling, and buying drawers for supplies, and reclaiming file cabinets, and vacuuming, and dusting and cleaning and…. I’m organized. There are a few more things to do. I need shelves for my  closet and Hubby is going to help me rearranging things and hang pictures. Then I’ll take a few photos and post them. I’m so excited to show you. When I was little, I’d finally clean my room and my Mom would make a big deal of coming upstairs and exclaiming her joy and pride. Today I marched everyone in the family through the room and they all had to make a big deal about it. Ahhh… now back to work. I’m sure that novel will be finished in no time.

The muddy middle

I’m working hard to break through the middle of my novel manuscript. It seems that the characters need me take a break so that they can reconvene and figure out where they’re going. I won’t let them rest for too long though. I’ll be plugging away again tomorrow. For now, a joke. Where do fish keep their money? Answer: In a river bank. I. told me this one but my answer was “In off shore accounts.” I laughed hysterically but he didn’t get it.  I need to make portfolio appointments in NY for the week before the national SCBWI conference. Anyone else going? Let’s meet!

10889 / 30000 words. 36% done!

Hello 2008

Dear Friends:
It seems that it is 2008. Funny that. I’m just going along, writing, mothering, and drawing… and planning conferences, submitting manuscripts, researching agents, job hunting, developing adult ed classes… that another year has come and gone. It is true that 2007 was a busy year and I’ve come a long way but it was not as fruitful as I’d hoped. Looking back on my 2007 journals it seems that some goals never seem to be complete. I keep saying I’ll write the first two chapters of my non-fiction but never do. My Roar book is a like a millstone around my neck. I keep revising and reworking getting farther from the original vision of the book.

What a downer. Who wants to read that? Okay… 10 highpoints of 2007!
1. The awesome feeling of possibilities when I started my novel for JoNoWriMo.
2. Fall Folio Feast 2007. Third time was a charm. Great speaker, great event and I was relaxed enough to enjoy it.
3. Volunteering for Meals on Wheels. I love what I do there and it makes me feel great.
4. New Friends and old. The schmoozes at Tami’s, the amazing LJ community, Botherhood 2.0, (The Project for Awesome was indeed awesome!)
5. Go SOX! Go Patriots!
6. Proposing classes for adult ed and being accepted.
7. Being asked to direct the NESCBWI conference and getting to know Janet and Francine.
8. My family is healthy and happy. My boys are growing into very nice people that I like to spend time with. My parents and siblings are well.
9. The satisfying feeling of doing interviews for various projects.
10. Travel up and down the east coast and through NY State that allowed me to see people and places I don’t usually see.
11. (Okay 11) I read A LOT this year and loved it.

Hope that is better reading for you. Finally, a question. What do you think of getting and MFA  in Writing for Children? Is it all for the experience? Do the contacts and crits help you get published? Or do you feel that the experience made you a better writer and THEN you got published?