Monday, March 23, 2009

Another Stellar Day

Greetings from Bologna! Another beautiful - yes, stellar - day here in Italy! Just a bit further up on Independenza Ave you will find my hotel, The Metropolitan. Well, not MY hotel. My home for 5 days! If you are ever looking for a place to stay - you'll be very happy here.

I had dinner last night with Marinella Barigazzi, a wonderful author here in Italy, who also translated a few of my books into Italian. She did not get a credit for her work in "Il Punto," (The Dot) but hopefully in the next edition the publisher will correct that. I noticed she gets credit though on certain sites selling the book like -- this one - IBS.IT. She showed me her newest book, in fact - gave me a signed copy - of (roughly translated) "I Wonder" - a lovely book about a boy on a train seeing wonderful things that get his mind and heart racing. I a m a big fan of stories about the "journey." We spoke about FableVision's new story media division which is ramping up and looking for great published stories to animate and distribute. Hopefully, "I Wonder" will be part of our collection. Our goal is to gather the best, most thoughful and though-provoking children's and family stories from around the world and to share that wisdom with others.

I'm off to explore the Bologna Children's Book Fair today and tomorrow. Lots of meetings with publishers from around the world. I will be meeting up with my pals at Pippin Properties (my agents in NYC) for dinner. There's a party hosted by Egmont which is on my list, but I have to reserve some energy for a few book projects on my plate! I am reserving all day Wednesday to sketch, ink and paint in the Italian sunshine!

Wishing you a stellar day!

i vostri amici,

Sunday, March 22, 2009

A Stellar Cafe: Bologna

I realize that I have never labeled any of my blogs "A Stellar Cafe" despite my blog being CALLED The Stellar Cafe. Well, here I sit in one of those stellar cafes.... here in Bologna, Italy. I am attending the Children's Book Fair once again. Part industry re-con trip and part "personal battery" recharge trip. It is already working. I arrived yesterday and slept from noon until midnight... and then unpacked - and slept another seven hours. I rarely sleep six a night. My body soaked it in like a dry sponge. As Shakespeare wrote:
Sleep that knits up the ravell'd sleeve of care,
The death of each day's life, sore labour's bath,
Balm of hurt minds, great nature's second course,
Chief nourisher in life's feast..."
I try to build in one of these recharge days into my trips so that I can begin the actual trip the next day - refreshed.

I had a great cafe session today - and savored the cappuccino... noticing that in Italy they drink small amounts and take their time with them. I think they might be flabbergasted at the "Grande Tall" cafe lattes consumed by USA coffee drinkers. (Better ask for "cafe latte" in Italy - if you ask for just a latte you will be served hot milk!)

And coffee to go? In big paper cups? I have not seen it here. I imagine they'd look at you like you're a bit crazy - which I think we are in the USA. We've gone nuts.

The greed for things we don't need - or things that don't even exist (look at the banking industry buying and trading people's money in things that did not exist!) - it feeds us, stuffs us, but I am sure it is not nourishing us.

We need to slow it down.
Do more with less. Sip slowly.
Feast on conversation.
Feast on the sight of a cup of coffee
gleaming in the sun
in a stellar cafe.

Ciao for now,

Bologna, Italy 2009