How do you eat a whale?

I’m in the copy editing stage of the publishing process for my book SHIRA AND ESTHER DOUBLE THE WONDER. My middle-grade debut novel launches Fall 2023 from Chronicle Books.

Perhaps because of the heat, my attention is not as focused as usual. Like a squirrel, I skitter from one thing to another—foraging, cleaning, social media, videos, playing with Rothko the cat, and back to the work at hand before something else shiny catches my eye. I’ve been waiting and working for this moment for the last 20 years and yet, I’m procrastinating.

One show that I’ve been obsessively procrastinating with is Home Town Takeover with Ben (a cuddly bear of a man who can make anything out of wood) and Erin (pixie-dream-girl, and artist extraordinaire) Napier. The premise of this show (in case you don’t know) is that they have chosen one town to revitalize. Ostensibly, the show is about remodeling buildings but REALLY it is about leadership, economics, transportation policy, marketing and community. The Napiers often reflect on the massive task they’ve taken on with the question: How do you eat a whale? The answer of course is: One bite at a time.

Back to copy edits. Enjoy this excerpt of the poem “The Whale,” by Joseph Edwards Carpenter.

The Whale
by Joseph Edwards Carpenter


Oh! the whale is free of the boundless sea
He lives for a thousand years;
He sinks to rest in the billows breast,
Nor the roughest tempest fears:
The howling blast as it hurries past,
Is music to lull him to sleep,
And he scatters the spray in his boisterous play,
As he dashes the king of the deep.
Oh! the rare old whale, ‘mid storm and gale,
In his ocean home shall be,
A giant in might, where might is right
And kind of the boundless sea!


When one is creative, one must create. There are certain ducks that need to be in a row before the creation can begin. If you carefully follow my list of artistic preparation below, and you might be an award winning procrastinator artist. (Someday, I might too.)

Make sure your children are asleep. (They are bound to wake up as soon as you complete the list so don’t have high expectations.)
Let the dog out.
Let the dog in.
Feed the dog
Get dressed in your comfy creative clothes: Overalls (Mine are paint spattered with so many holes that one leg is almost severed.)
My overalls are paint spattered and have many more holes.
Comfy socks. (These are the ones I got for Chanukah.)

Something to hold your hair back (if you have hair). I like the Rosie the Riveter bandana look.

And you’ll need an apron.

Check your email.
Check your friend’s blogs.
Uh. Oh. What did I tell you? Now the kids are up and wanting breakfast. Maybe I’ll create something tomorrow.
"Book Review Wednesday" returns on January 6th! Happy Holidays.


We just cannot get a break from the rain down here in Maryland. It was rainy all weekend and the beginning of the week. Yesterday we had dramatic thunderstorms and tornado warnings. All we saw were high winds in the early hours though. On the bad side, my sons have not been able to play in their scheduled baseball games and are generally bouncing off the walls from staying inside for recess. The good side is that I’ve not been tempted to stray from my final projects and papers to go outside. (Don’t worry procrastinators, there’s always the internet.) My drawing project process is below and the final critique went really well yesterday. I’m thinking of having a small art show in my house for friends, "A Semester of Art." I’ll photograph it and put it on my Facebook page too so that you all can enjoy it. BYOW&C. (That’s wine and cheese.)

Here are my past paintings torn to bits.

Here are the pieces reassembled in a blue gradient.

Here is the final drawing. "The Mythology of Epiphanies."

For the background (the mythology) behind the artwork see this previous post.

Now I am onto the next thing in my to do list: writing the critical essay for my Vermont application!


All the words that want to come are NOT about the articles I have to write they are about the manuscripts I want to write. I’ve been procrastinating like crazy. Staring at a bunch of research and nothing is coming. Sorry if I’ve been complaining a lot. I’m just in a grumpy mood. I think I just want to be with friends. You people. Friday we get in the car and drive to Florida and I have to finish my articles (4) by then. I know. ACK! So stupid to let them heap up on me like this. I’ve tried, just not hard enough. Double ACK!
That’s all. I’m going to try again now.