Monday, August 25, 2008

4:24am: Do you know where your pillow is?

When I was a kid, our Detroit NBC tv station (or was it CBS?) used to announce at 10 every evening: "It's 10 o'clock; do you know where your children are?"
I found it amusing. Where else would kids be but in the living room fighting the directive to go to bed, or in the bedroom already snoozing?
Even more amusing was the spin given to the by-then-well-known announcement, a few years later: "It's 10 o'clock; do you know where your parents are?"

So it's almost dawn. I'm up way past my bedtime. I blame the kids.1. Oldest daughter had a baby shower today, plus she moved to a new apartment. I know -- that's a lot for one day. It's crazy. All it does is make me feel old.2. Second kid's fiance' hosted the baby shower party, so I had to help out. (It was very kind and generous of her)3. Third kid needed to be driven to college (3 hours round trip) after the party. And before that, she needed groceries because she's having trouble getting a student loan to pay for classes and a meal plan. I have no idea what's going to happen, but as a show of support I bought her lots of peanut butter, tuna fish, oatmeal, cherries, broccoli and chicken. Real food. (real expensive food)
On the way home from the other end of the state, I consumed mass quantities of caffeine just to stay awake.4. Fourth kid was entirely reasonable and unhormonal. I guess I only blame some of the kids.

Upon getting home from college, wide awake, I checked the computer. It was stuck in an almost-turned-off mode. Scary. An automatic update didn't quite update, and my computer insisted the date was Feb 24, 2004 and the time was 11:34pm. I was sent back in time 4 years, 6 months, 4 hours and 10 minutes.
I thought about staying there, because it'd make me a bit younger (more energetic?), but 02-24-04 was a whole year before I signed with my agent, a whole year before I finally got a great, marketable idea for a book (Ellie McDoodle) and a whole year before that fateful first trip to NYC with a sketchbook in hand.
I prefer what I've got right here, right now.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Ellie McDoodle on the web

This is so cool, finding Ellie McDoodle in unexpected places.
Do you subscribe to Google Alerts in your name, and your book's name?
If so, you get surprised with occasional references to your work, like I was with this Detroit News article about kids' lit, mentioning both Ellie books.
If you're not yet a fan of Google Alerts, you will be.
(more hearts here)

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Childhood aspirations

All this time I thought when I was a little kid I wanted to draw for a living when I grew up (I also remember wanting to be a teacher, a lawyer or an embryologist). See, when you get a book published, people ask what you were like as a kid, and what you aspired to, growing up.
You get all introspective about it, and try to remember.
And what I'd remembered was that, as far back as my brain would cooperate, I was a good writer and a good artist, but writing was my mother's forte and, being territorial, I figured I couldn't write. And so I drew.But my dear friend April just described her work-in-progress and it jolted my brain and suddenly I remembered something wonderful: When I was 7 or 8 I read Eleanor Estes' The Witch Family which I looooved. I read it a zillion times. I remember loving it so much I drew and wrote new scenarios for the witch girls. I longed to write and illustrate a real, published story about little witch girls at school and at home. I knew I couldn't do justice to the idea as a kid. I knew I'd have to become a grownup first.
Incidentally, The Witch Family was nothing like Harry Potter. It was for younger kids, and it had an entirely different sensibility.
Funny that I forgot it all these years.
Funny to suddenly remember why I've liked the name Clarissa all these years, and why bumblebees have never scared me, even though I was stung between the toes when I was 9.
And funny to know now, with absolute certainty, that at age 8 I wanted to grow up and write and illustrate kids' stories for a living.