Monday, October 27, 2008

Stellar Birthday

Wishing a stellar friend - a stellar birthday! Maribeth Bush is a shining star for many reasons... she has been a great friend to me, to FableVision and to The Blue Bunny. She has helped cyber-sculpt our sites for years. She also built and is caretaker of my children's book studio site. She is an amazing educator - not only caring for the children at Lunt School in Maine, but also educators and children around the world with her abilities-focused website she created and continues to build. She is also an author and artist. Her recent book, Sharing Friends, shares her wisdom of how to deal with playground dynamics.

She provides so much inspiration and wisdom to the world... I am lucky to call her a friend.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Halloween 1969

I was eight when I drew this in school. Seemed like a good one to share this Halloween Week! This was created by drawing the yellow and brown with crayon and then using a big brush to cover the whole thing with black paint. The paint rolled off the waxy crayon. Cool effect!

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Broadcast Your Story

People write and ask me for tips on writing stories.
I often will share my strategy of telling the story -- before you even write it.

I called my brother, Paul, this week and left a "story message" on his voice-mail. I was driving along and the story began flashing in my head. In the message, I pulled the ideas from my head and crafted them into sentences "on the fly." I guess, if you can make the story idea make sense in a 4 minute message, you probably have something on your hands. This technique is handy. I was able to get Paul to bounce the message back to me.

What might have been an "idea flash" that vaoprized among all the incoming stimuli of the day, became instead - a little radio show. The only images were the ones my words attempted to conjure in Paul's head. If you're a fan of old radio shows or books-on-tape, you'll attest to the fact that good stories can survive on words alone.

Once you have a story written down, go "test-drive" it with a group. Hearing the story told aloud is very instructive. If you're aiming at the story being a picture book, resist the tempation to show images. Try it first with spoken words only. Later on, you can always exchange some or all of the words with art or photos.

Your choice.

Good luck tuning into your own internal radio station. The one that broadcasts your inner stories.

When you're ready - share them with the world.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Stories Wanted

The American Red Cross is always low on blood and trying to get folks to roll up their sleeves to donate. In an effort to develop a more effective campaign, they did some research on why people don't donate. The most common response was: "No one asked me." So, they launched their "Consider Yourself Asked" campaign! I feel the same about art, writing and other creative, constructive endeavors. I meet a lot of folks who have either "been meaning to" write that book, or pick up the brush, or write that song, or film their grandparents telling the famous family stories... or those folks who have not thought of it - or haven't done so in a very long time. 

 SO - consider yourself asked. 

Write a Post-it note and put it on your bathroom mirror. 

Tell a friend, "I've started a book!" 
(Try to avoid: "I'm thinking about writing a book." 

Thinking about it, in my world, IS part of the process of DOING it. Combine the two for success. Dream and do. Some people dream. Some people dream and do!) The drawing above I made today to help me share something to help people to take action. The surprise invitation that might trigger the "next step." This image reminds me of when I was walking by a restaurant under construction in Harvard Square in the winter of 1986. There was a sign on the door: "Artist Wanted." I thought: "That's me!" 

I walked into the noise place, sawdust flying, sparks shooting from welding torches, and found the manager, Mike Eberly. "We're calling this place "The Border Cafe" and we want big murals of old Tabasco labels and the like. Do you paint murals?" I, of course, said yes. I had not YET painted a mural, but I could imagine it wasn't much different than painting on a sheet of paper. I had a LOT to learn! And boy, did I learn! (My mentor, Aldo Servino and I ended up painting 17 murals for the Border Cafe!) I'll save the details of that story for another time, but the lesson from my story is that a simple sign from the universe might be your invitation in... and do not worry if you lack the experience. 

 The experience begins by accepting the challenge, sometimes bravely, and making it real.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Rose's Garden

My FableVision Team just put the finishing touches on the animated "Telefable" version of my new story "Rose's Garden." My good friend, colleague, and children's book author/artist, John Lechner, lent his directorial and artistic direction to the project.

Rose Kennedy Greenway park grand opening is this weekend. Tonight we'll be unveiling the telefable at the kick-off gala. Senator Kennedy might be there if he is feeling up to it. Caroline Kennedy will be there - as well as 350 other guests. A high school student, Jennifer Sanchez, from Boston, will be reading the story live to the audience. The story is dedicated to Rose Kennedy. The character in my book is also named Rose, but she is really based on the spirit of the park. The mission of the Greenway is to bring diverse neighborhoods together, to provide a wondrous place to pause and reflect in the midst of a busy city, a place that took vision and patience, creativity and hard work to make real. My story weaves these together and encourages those who read it to bring more color to their own neighborhoods.

There will be a book version coming - but probably not until Spring of 2010. Such is the reality of traditional publishing. My experience though is that when you do what you love and love what you do - time flies.