New Projects

I’ve been back from the January residency for awhile but had no time to write. This residency was a bit more stressful than the last one because I got stuck in New York after flying on only two hours of sleep. After that everything felt off kilter.

I had a wonderful workshop this time, though. It was “Writing and Illustrating Picture Books” and I learned so much. We went through the whole process of storyboarding and making dummies and learned a fascinating painting technique. I can’t remember what it’s called (too much information packed into my brain right now), but it involved painting everything except the lines we wanted to be black, then painting over everything with ink and washing the ink off to reveal a beautiful painting edged in black. It was like a magic trick. We also got to spend two hours with David Macaulay looking at his dummies and sketches and hearing about his process. Really, truly, an amazing experience.

I’m starting something new this semester and just turned in my first packet. My advisor this time is An Na and I’m very excited to be working with her 🙂 It’s been odd starting something new because even though last semester I was essentially rewriting a novel I still knew more or less who the characters were and what was going on, whereas with this I’m just playing with ideas and brainstorming. I have lots of ideas. The hard part is organizing them into something coherent. I’m also exploring the line between the real and the unreal, what makes something fantasy versus magic realism versus a fairy tale/fable versus something more psychological. I’m still not sure which direction I want to go in, but reading all kinds of books along that spectrum is fascinating.

I also just joined a critique group for writers of children’s literature. My very first one! It’s so much fun to read everyone’s work and feel like part of a group, especially such an imaginative one. I think that’s what I love about kid lit so much. The stories are so fun and inventive.

In other news I’m considering getting gallbladder surgery. My gallbladder’s on the borderline between functioning and not functioning so it may be causing at least some of my symptoms, but it looks like the only way to know for sure is to have it removed. It’s a difficult decision to make, but I’m tired of feeling sick…