7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #103: Featuring Bryan Collier

h1 February 22nd, 2009 by Eisha and Jules

Jules: Once upon a time, I wanted to interview the insanely talented collage illustrator and author Bryan Collier. Well, I shouldn’t say once upon a time, since I will always want to interview him. But last year—and, actually, the year before, too—I tried as hard as I could to snag an interview through both the publisher Henry Holt and all by myself with my own stubborn determination by my side. Hard as I and the nice Henry Holt publicist tried, it just didn’t pan out. Not that Collier isn’t also insanely nice: I met him once, and he is a very personable, friendly fellow. And if you read the “about” page of his site, you’ll see that he is all about going into classrooms to talk with teachers, librarians, and students about books and art. But, hey, blog interviews probably aren’t for everyone. Which is a-okay.

But, since I can’t seem to snag an interview, I decided to feature some of his art today. Henry Holt was able to send some spreads. I tried to get some from other publishers as well (’cause, really, if you haven’t seen Martin’s Big Words and—ooo! ooo!—John’s Secret Dreams: The Life of John Lennon, then I’m so sorry for the nagging feeling you must have walking around in this life, not having seen these beautiful books), but I got what I could. And my o! my, isn’t it beautiful art work, his cut-paper collages? I wish I could make it even bigger for you to see more of the details.

The opening spread and below spread are from Collier’s Uptown, published in 2000.

Here are two spreads from 2005’s striking Rosa, winner of the Coretta Scott King Award and a Caldecott Honor book, by Nikki Giovanni:

“…Rosa waved good-bye and headed for the bus stop. She fiddled in her pocket for the dime so that she would not have to ask for change. When she stepped up to drop her fare in, she was smiling in anticipation of the nice dinner she would make. As was the evil custom, she then got off the bus and went to the back door
to enter the bus from the rear.”

“They came together in a great mass meeting: the Women’s Political Council, the NAACP, and all the churches. They needed someone to speak for them, to give voice to the injustice. Everyone agreed that the Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr., would be ideal. ‘We will stay off the buses,’ Dr. King intoned. ‘We will walk until justice runs down like water and righteousness like a mighty stream.'”

And, finally, for a couple of spreads from one of Collier’s most recently-illustrated titles: This is from Lincoln and Douglass: An American Friendship, also by Giovanni, and released last October. Books about Lincoln are hot right now (here’s but one — remember that?), if you haven’t already noticed, what with his 200th birthday occurring last week. So, as you’re reading all those new Lincoln titles, don’t forget this gem, a glimpse into the unusual friendship between Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass during a time of severe racial inequality.

“Both men hated slavery—Douglass because he had been enslaved; Lincoln because he had seen its evils in New Orleans. Both men knew from their religion and the United States Constitution that human being should not be ‘owned’
by other human beings. It hurt the goodness and hearts of all.
A nation could not exist half enslaved and half free.”

“‘Here you are, Fred,’ said the president. ‘I thought I saw you a while ago.’ ‘Yes, sir, you did, but there was a misunderstanding about the door through which I was to enter. The gentlemen invited my wife and me to go around to the rear door, and we declined. No matter. It has been cleared up.’ ‘I’m so sorry,’ said the president. ‘I had told my secretary to keep an eye out for you.’ Douglass smiled at Lincoln. ‘I think, sir, you did not mention that we are colored.'”

You’ll see at Bryan’s site that he has a gallery of images (as well as lots of other great information). I totally did not get official permission to post any here, but I can’t help myself and will risk getting sued: I’m going to share this giclée print here, entitled Love Can Be Heard. I. just. love. that. It, along with many other prints, is purchaseable, so by all means, if you’re interested in buying some art and can afford to do so, consider Collier. He is one of our most talented and dynamic contemporary illustrators, in my not-so-humble opinion (and I think it’s also safe to say that Visiting Langston by Willie Perdomo is one of my top-ten favorite picture books ever.)

Thanks to Henry Holt for their help, and remember all rights reserved on the spreads, all published by Henry Holt in the years named above. And all that important copyright info. Etc. Etc. Amen.

As a reminder, these Sunday posts are our weekly meeting ground for taking some time to reflect on Seven(ish) Exceptionally Fabulous, Beautiful, Interesting, Hilarious, or Otherwise Positive Noteworthy Things from the past week, whether book-related or not, that happened to you. Absolutely anyone, of course, is welcome to list kicks — even if, or especially if, you’ve never done so before.

* * * Jules’ kicks * * *

1). I am pretty sure I have fifth disease! This might not sound like a kick, but wait for it: Well, I don’t wanna ramble with more information about my physical health than you’ve ever wanted to know, but bottom line is that I have been sick for about two weeks, and it’s been mighty frustrating and confusing. And in the middle of this week, my joints suddenly swelled and became itchy and painful. I mean, it hurt just to walk or move my hands or turn my head. Dudes, it hurt to sleep. More tests were done to try to figure out what-in-the-what-the was wrong with me — and me feeling like a COMPLETE hypochondriac by this point. The doctor told me that my symptoms were typical of the adult version of fifth disease. (Fifth disease has a name that bites and tries to show off and be a punk, but it’s really a very harmless virus in children). My daughter had red cheeks this week, a sign of the virus, but—long story why—I didn’t think much of it. But, the other night, as I bathed her, I saw more of the tell-tale fifth disease rash on her arm. I nearly cheered. Not that I cheer when my kids get sick; the virus is harmless to them. I cheered, because I am now 99.9% sure this is what I have, which means IT’LL GO AWAY SOON! And that the doctor is not likely to call on Monday and tell me I’m a thirty-six-year-old with, say, arthritis. WOOT!

Plus, my steroids finally kicked in, which relieved the swelling and pain. Have steroids, have Benadryl: Can survive this stupid virus! In fact, once the steroids kicked in, I did a wiggly-woo dance, just like Hector. Just ’cause I could.

After all this, I really feel even more for the people of this world who are chronically ill.

2). Neko Case’s new CD comes out very soon (early March)!

3). Speaking of the goddesses of modern rock, Sam Phillips posted this week at her site that she and Eric Gorfain and drummer extraordinnaire Jay Bellerose are in the studio recording a handful of new songs. And that Jay’s drums are older than her parents (and that he plays “open, orchestral parts that unlock these little pop songs”). Sweeeet. I lurv him. And I lurv how Sam can write such great songs for drums.

4). Speaking of drums, I took about a thirty-minute break in writing this post to go bang some drums to Modest Mouse’s “Float On” and Beastie Boys’ “So What’cha Want” on my husband’s new Rock Band thingy — or whatever it’s called. He’s had Guitar Hero (is that the name?) for a while now, but the drums? Now, they’re waaaay more fun. I didn’t do too badly on them my first time.

5). This is turning into kicks-about-music, but have you heard the new U2 song, “Get On Your Boots”? Now, U2 rocks, but they’ve made a few choices in these latter years that I haven’t much cared for. But this song is slammin’ good. Here’s a link to the video, which is un-embeddable. Boo. If you go listen, don’t forget to turn it up, man.

6). I finally saw Muriel Harris Weinstein’s When Louis Armstrong Taught Me Scat (Chronicle; February ’09), illustrated by R. Gregory Christie. The writing is ooo-blee booo-blee jippitty-joon good, and I’ve made it clear how much I love Greg’s art. Remember when he stopped by in ’07 and showed early sketches from it?

I also saw a copy of Kids Can Press’ 123 I Can Collage! by Irene Luxbacher. My four-year-old art-lovin’ daughter loves collage so much that she saves tiny candy wrappers to cut up and put in her art work. This book is perfect for her — and for any art teachers out there. It’s a fine, fine introduction to materials needed and techniques, and little did I know—until I just linked to Luxbacher’s site—that she has a whole series on art. I’m going to have to look into these.

7). I bought my own milk frother and vanilla syrup so that I can make my own vanilla steamers—or something as close to it as possible—which is my favorite coffee-shop drink.

BONUSES: I forgot this last week, that one of our readers was truly inspired by the subject of a 7-Imp interview. Oh, and when I was venting to sweet Jama this week about feeling ill and she wrote, “all i can say is, thank god we have great picture books to lift our spirits and keep us going.” Now, there’s a picture-book fan after my own heart. Also, since my kicks are mostly about music this week, how cool is this guitar? And below that is a video Sara shared this week, Bettye LaVette’s take on The Who classic, “Love Reign O’er Me,” at the 2008 Kennedy Center Honors. It just might take your breath away.

What are your kicks this week? I look forward to some fun 7-Imp posts lined up, now that I feel better, and I look forward to catching up again at my favorite blawgs, too.

* * * eisha’s kicks * * *

Dude, I am so glad you’ve finally figured that mess out. And that you’re already feeling better, too. And *squeal* – I just heard about the new Neko Case album too! HOW FREAKING AWESOME IS THAT COVER?


L’enfant1* Bryan Collier! Love that man’s art, forever and always.

2* My dear lovely friends, the Poets Upstairs, are moving away this summer. This is bad! Very bad! But I’m using it as an excuse to cram as much socializing in with them as possible. So last Sunday we had yummy brunch at their apartment (huevos rancheros with bellinis AND mimosas). And yesterday we did the Ithaca Chili Cook-off.

3* And Thursday night we saw my husband’s latest show, which was really incredible design-wise. (That’s a publicity photo to the left.)

4* Hey, who was it who first mentioned “Slings and Arrows” here? Was it you, Sara? Whoever it was, thanks! That show is fabulous.

5* I got the sweetest card in the mail from Jules and her girls. Thanks, J. And tell Piper that I love the “Still Life with Dancing One-eyed Eisha and Cake” she drew for me.

6* My boss took a trip home to Scotland, and came back with a hilariously goofy gift for me: a glittery, feathery pen with a little bagpiper on top.

The Elements of Style, baby

7* My new project: an exhibit celebrating the 50th anniversary of Strunk & White’s The Elements of Style. If you’re as big a word-geek as I am, you will understand my happiness. Did you know it started out as a textbook William Strunk wrote for the English course he taught at Cornell? Did you know that both he and E.B. White were alumni? Did you know that we have E.B. White’s typewriter in our hugely-huge collection? Did you know that the 2005 edition illustrated by our beloved Patron Saint of Whimsy Maira Kalman was also turned into an opera? Do you ever get sick of me raving about my awesome job?

Here’s the part where you tell us your kicks for the week. And tell me to shut up about my job already, too, if you like.

30 comments to “7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #103: Featuring Bryan Collier”

  1. Nifty art, as always. Eisha, don’t shut up about your job — it’s inspiring for us working stiffs who deserve meaningful work.

    Jules, I’m stuck on your musical kicks (and hoping you feel better soon). A few notes:
    — that Neko Case photo (cover?) is so badass. Yowsers!
    — Float On and So What’cha Want would likely be in my top 50 favourite songs ever. Not that I have actually created said list…it would be too difficult. Must be fun to bash drums on those tunes.
    — You liked Get on Your Boots, eh? I didn’t, but the video is cool and it might grow on me. I heard three more of the leaked songs this week and they were pretty amazing. So I went from being “meh” about the new album to thinking I’ll buy it, and maybe even go see them again.

    Quick kicks:
    1) My wife baked bread today. So good.
    2) Skating party in the backyard with a bushel of kids and happy grown-ups
    3) Meeting an old friend I grew up with (k-12) who I hadn’t seen in many, many years.
    4) Borrowing a nifty lens from a friend, which got me out taking different kinds of photos. The price tag is an anti-kick.
    5) Some Kind of Monster…I loved this documentary, but I’m an old fan and metalhead, so I can’t really recommend it to anyone else.
    6) Two nights playing hockey this week…I’m not so horribly out of shape any more.
    7) Warm chocolate chip cookies.

  2. …ooh, maybe whomever designed that Neko Case album cover can do book covers, too. I had the niggling of a little story poking at my brain the minute I saw it. Wow.

  3. This is going to have to be a drive-by because I’m on my third day of YogaFit training—which is a big kick, especially since today is yoga for kids!—but I wanted to say that I’m SO glad you’re on your way to feeling better, Jules, and that you managed to find all this beauty in the middle of all that yuckiness.

    LOVE the Neko Case cover—and yes, Tanita, book covers by that artist would be mind-bogglingly good.

    Eisha, FINALLY! A convert to Slings & Arrows! I rave about it all the time, but now I’ve got someone to really dish with. (There’s a Facebook fan page too) And I can’t tell you how much your post about the Elements of Style exhibit made me want to jump in my car right this minute and head to your library! If my son gets in to Cornell, expect me very, very soon.

  4. Jules I am so glad you found out what it was and that it was just an annoying virus! Hope you kick that thing seven ways this week.

    Eisha your job sounds drool worthy for sure. I bet you just wander around touching things, right? ha. I know I’m taking to an archivist. You probably have your white gloves on right now.

    Jeremy I like your ice photos this week and your kids are so adorable!

    Tanita write it down girl!

    Brian Collier rocks. And he gets to work with the most exciting authors! I am so glad you featured him even without the interview. I can’t tell you how much that cheers me up! Now I have to get that Lincoln and Douglas book to add to my collection. I like how the wives both have blue dresses on and they are so beautiful.

    My kicks:
    1. I caught the squirrel that wanted to live in my kitchen. Actually I caught him twice and he escaped the first time. The second time i was smarter and he wasn’t. He is exploring hiw new home at the nature park this morning.
    2. My blogging friend Judy sent me some new %100 organic cotton PJs in the mail as a surprise. I love getting packages! I love PJs! Can anything be better than this?
    3. My mom made me a gluten free pumpkin pie and brought it over yesterday. Pumpkin pie AND PJs! Hoo boy!
    4. I’m reading Brass Ankle Blues by Rachel M. Harper. My blogging friend Jenna recommended it to me on GoodReads about a year ago and I just finally got it from the library because I have time to read now. It’s about a mixed teen on a road trip with her Black dad and her white teen cousin. I didn’t know it was going to be this good and I am really enjoying it. Blog friendships are so cool!
    5. I have daffodils in bloom in a pot on my dining room table, given by a school friend. She sent them home with my son on Thursday and it was exactly what I had been craving! We are still in winter but I have flowers. Yay!
    6. I read Terry Pratchett’s Nation this week and it was great. First Pratchett for me and now I have a prolific author to keep reading. That is going to make me happy for years to come.
    7. I managed to finish a big project for my library school grad course on database searching. It was a bear mostly because my partner and I weren’t completely sure exactly what the prof. wants it to look like. I was just glad to turn it in and be done with it. I think I did learn a lot about searching scholarly databases and I think I’m a better librarian now. Cool, huh?

  5. Jeremy, bread baking in the kitchen is an awfully good kick, indeed. As well as warm chocolate chip cookies. …I’m gonna have to head over and see your new ice pics. I think I’ve missed those (assuming you took more since the batch with the great sunflower ice photo). And, yes, it was fun to bash drums on Modest Mouse and Beastie Boys, though I still mangled moments in them. And often. Yikes. A drummer I will never be, though I’m better at it than the Guitar Hero thingy.

    Yes, Tanita, write that story down!

    Sara and Eisha, I can now see “Slings & Arrows,” since we finally did the NetFlix thing, which I have to say ROCKS. Thanks to everyone who converted me. Oh, and YogaFit training sounds rockin’.

    cloudscome, those are some rich kicks. Comfy PJs are the best. AND PIE! Ever seen this great Julie Paschkis poster?

    (I’m going to make sure to link to her posters at her site, since I didn’t exactly ask her permission to post this here. All her posters rock if anyone wants to go order any.)

    Congrats on all the great pleasure reading as well as finishing the monster grad school project. Hope you are feeling tip-top, too.

  6. Jeremy, I see you even got a photo of that bread. Hope you don’t mind me linking…

  7. Happy Sunday Kickers and Compeeshos,

    SO so glad you’re feeling better, Jules, and now know it’s fifth disease (what a strange name). Amazing what a few steroids can do, huh? And Bryan Collier’s work is fabulous. I hear you on the “blog interviews aren’t for everyone” thing. Loved all the spreads you shared today, though, which is the next best thing.

    Eisha, I have white gloves! Hire me as your assistant!! E.B.’s typewriter? Moment of silence, please.

    A few kicks:

    1. Slowly making my way through Dreams from my Father. Love the part when Barack talks about first being drawn to basketball and watching the UH team — who one year actually got invited to the NIT (the five starters were all Black players recruited from the mainland). It was the very same time I worked in the UH Athletic Department and knew those players he admired — and now I’m thinking, wow, a 13-year-old boy watching those basketball games taking place right in our back yard actually grew up to be President of the United States! I still can’t believe it. For as long as I’ve been alive, Presidents were men you read about in books — they weren’t real people hanging around in your home state wearing flip flops.

    2. Danny Gokey on Idol.

    3. Got a copy of How to Build an A, by Sara Midda, which I first heard about from cloudscome. Love unique alphabet books!

    4. Robin LaFevers’ post, “The Art of Letting Go” at Shrinking Violets:

    Can you believe it’s already the last week of February? Funny month — both long and short at the same time.

    Have a good week, everyone.

  8. Jules, I hope you get better very, very soon!

    Eisha, your job is inspiring. Hearing about it makes me feel hopeful… and itchy to work for a school again. 🙂

    Tanita, OMG, I thought that Neko Case album cover was a book cover when I first saw it. I thought, “Is that a new YA novel?”

    Cloudscome, I also hope you are feeling tip-top. 😀

    Some of my kicks:

    1. Collages. Thank you Jules and Eisha for sharing about Bryan Collier. And Jules thank you for the idea from your daughter about using candy wrappers in collages. I hadn’t thought of doing that before!

    2. Being introduced to some new music through this post.

    This post in general actually. I really need to be more consistent with joining the kicking every week. I sure could use the happy thoughts.

    3. Last night I had dinner out with my dad and younger brothers. We had lumpiang shanghai (Filipino spring rolls), pancit canton (Filipino-Chinese noodles), and honey chicken. Yummm. And the whole time I was laughing at and rolling my eyes at my dad and brothers talking about their old girlfriends. Hehehe.

    4. My mom is visiting this week!

    5. My aunt and uncle and cousin are visiting this week too!

    6. Some people at work were let go. 🙁 But I still have my job….

    7. Falling in love.

    I hope everyone has a fabulous week!

  9. Oooh, and may I add…

    Bonus kick: Watching He’s Just Not That Into You with my dad. I didn’t think at first that it would be entertaining, but all the truths in the movie were painful AND funny to watch.

  10. Jules, glad you are on the mend and the drums? I want one.
    Eisha, I love hearing what you aredoing in your job. So very cool.
    Yoga, cool ice photos, story ideas and the end of February already? Really? It is a kick reading other’s kicks.
    My other kicks:
    1. Knowing that Pam is at work with the beginnings of the 3rd blogging conference next fall.
    2. Processing all the good information from the conference I attended the previous week. A group of us stayed talking after school for a long time on Friday. All of us excited.
    3. Seeing the “Stafford Stones” Basalt columns with W. Stafford’s poem etched. I have poems at “Solace au Naturel, my new photo blog. (actually an one blog reconstituted).
    4. The video on FB of my granddaughter reciting the “Pledge of Allegiance”.
    5. Fabulous tamale at a Casa de Tamales and then seeing Coraline.
    6. The Wrestler….powerful, still thinking about it.
    Have a great week.

  11. Jules, I’m glad you’re on the mend. Isn’t it funny how much better you feel just KNOWING what’s going on, even though you’re still sick?!

    Eisha, you probably already know this, but having a job you truly love is such a blessing. You probably only call it work because someone pays you! You are fortunate indeed. Hurray to that!

    My kicks for this week…
    1.We have a buyer for our house, so now we can proceed with buying our “forever” home. This will put me a couple of hours closer to my friends and family back home in TN!
    2.I spent a wonderful Saturday night at a Mardi Gras party with some of the best people on the planet. I’m grateful to call them friends.
    3.I’m amazed at how much energy it takes to get over a little bitty cold.
    4.My daughter is now interactively reading “Moo, Baa, LaLaLa” (by Sandra Boynton) with me. She knows exactly when it’s her turn to read, and calls this book by name.
    5.Our gas stove/oven finally works! Yeah – no more take-out!
    6.My friend and co-worker found out she is having another girl in July.
    7.My last kick will have to be about this blog. Jules and Eisha, the enthusiasm you have for art and literature always shines through in every entry you write, making 7-Imp such a pleasure to read. THANK YOU!

  12. Hi, everyone… what a fabulous pile o’ kicks this week! (Hmm… an accident that sunday and sundae are twins?)

    Congratulations all over the place, Jules, for the fairly innocent diagnosis. I read up some on the disease, intrigued by the name, and am fairly disappointed that the reason for it is so mundane. I sorta wish it were a fictional disease named after the Fifth Horseman or something.

    Bryan Collier’s work a revelation. As you said, his Love Can Be Heard is wonderful! But I’d never heard of giclée prints before (Jeremy, do you use that process by any chance?). Was mildly amazed in reading about them to suddenly finding myself reading about Graham Nash too.

    Second everyone else’s reactions to the new Neko Case CD cover. (I want to read Tanita’s story!)

    Eisha, I know even less about opera than I do about 90% of the stuff which 7-Imp introduces me to, but that publicity still for The Child and the Wild (English transl. of the real name, which I wanted to type at least once in my life because it’s so great)… WOW! Your husband needs to be introduced to Tim Burton and/or Henry Selick ASAP.

    (And I love that you’re all E.B. White at the moment. I feel like I’m at, y’know, 6 degrees of separation from James Thurber and Harold Ross.)

    Some small-caliber kicks this week:

    * Big Band swing, which cropped up here and there throughout the week, online and off — and which always leaves me feeling all sitting-around-the-living-room-age-10ish-Saturday-nights, no matter what day or time I run into it.
    * Eisha’s Poetry Friday entry this week, which reminds that line breaks aren’t what makes poetry, y’know, poetry.
    * More in a continuing series of moments with the Yorkie which do not involve stress (hers, or ours).
    * [whispering, in hopes that the Jinx Gods are looking the other way] Submitting short(ish) fiction for the first time in, like, maybe 8 or 10 years.
    * My younger sister’s blog, which she just started and is keeping private for now. She is so much more than I’ll ever be that a (very tiny and likewise private, selfish) part of me hopes she never opens it to the world. But dang…

    P.S. jone, the Stafford Stones! Amazing! Tho’ I’ve never seen them, I just read all about them in a PDF newsletter of the Friends of William Stafford. What a project, how cool!

  13. P.P.S. Dang again, how could I forget:

    * Sam Phillips (he said, a little fearful of what even mentioning her name here might unleash).

  14. I like how close “Collier” and “collage” happen to be! Great contrasts and colours.

    Jules: Ouch! I hope that you and yours are completely better soon.

    eisha: Woo hoo for your husband and the show!

    Jeremy: Bread = good. Yay for reunion.

    Tanita: Go inspiration!

    Sara: Crossed fingers for your son.

    cloudsome: Congrats on the completion of the project. I’m glad that the squirrel is happy and safe in his/her new home.

    Jama: Have you heard the song Letting You Go by Jason Robert Brown as sung by Lauren Kennedy or the song I Don’t Believe in Ghosts by Duncan Sheik?

    Tarie: Sounds as if you are surrounded by good people and happy family.

    Jone: What did you think of Coraline movie vs. the book?

    Angela: Good luck with the house transitions! Sandra’s books are fun. I like But Not the Hippopotamus and Snuggle Puppy the best.

    My kicks:
    1) Visitors
    2) Two auditions in one week! (One last Monday, another this afternoon for a different project)
    3) Warmth
    4) Knowing
    5) Planning
    6) Accepting
    7) Investing

  15. I was so excited about Giovanni and Collier’s Lincoln and Douglass when I first saw it that I ordered three copies. Aside from it being cool in its own right, did you know that Frederick Douglass is buried not fifteen minutes from my house? It’s true! (Susan B. Anthony’s there, too: http://www.fomh.org/history.php. We’re all about freedom here in Rochester. Or at least the dead people are. And me.) So I buy a lot of Douglass books for the library, and I’m always extra-happy when I find a REALLY GOOD one.

    Jules, I am so glad you’ve got your MD problem figured out and that you’re feeling better. Yay, medicine! Yay, steamers! Yay, drums!

    Eisha, I agree with Sara. I love hearing about your job, and every time I do, I think I have GOT to go there and see whatever you’re talking about. I mean E.B. WHITE’S TYPEWRITER? Do you not just want to sit and stare at it ALL DAY?

    My kicks:
    1. Jules sent me such a lovely card that’s blue with a cool design and SPARKLES! I love sparkles. Thanks, Jules!
    2. It was the schools’ February Break round these parts this week, and we had a tremendously successful week of programs…
    3. …starting with our Teddy Bear Picnic on Tuesday, which drew over 100 people, and was very fun. Kids brought their teddy bears, although we also had some elephant bears and bunny bears and the like. After our stories and songs, we had animal crackers and lemonade. Mmmm.
    4. Then on Wednesday night, we had Star Wars characters visit the library, which drew over 200 people.
    5. We also issued Darth Vader a library card. He checked out a book about ponies. It was so much fun, and the kids were all a’flutter giggling standing in line behind him.
    6. Have I yammered on here about my writing workshop for homeschoolers yet? It started a few weeks ago. I never would have thought I was qualified to run a workshop, but a few people asked me if I’d consider doing it, and now I don’t know why I haven’t been doing it forever. It’s so much fun. Part of the fun is this particular group of kids, who keep bringing such interesting things to share and coming up with delightful responses to our writing exercises. I thought maybe it was just me having fun, but this week the kids (well, teens, really–they’re older than the age I usually work with) asked if I would extend it beyond when we planned to finish, which I’m totally doing.
    7. My BFF’s husband dropped a latte off at my house this morning. That is a seriously good way to start a Sunday.

  16. Jules I thought you were saying you had four other diseases, and this was the fifth one. Am glad it is only one disease and isn’t serious!

    Eisha, that sucks your neighbours are leaving. But congrats on recognising this for an excellent food and drink consuming opportunity.

    Cloudscome, discovering you like a writer with heaps of books already written is such a joy!

    Jeremy that bread looks delicious. I haven’t managed to get a really great crust on my bread yet but it is early days yet.

    There are so many other nice things on lists today, but I have to dash, so here’s my list:

    1. It’s like Spring has arrived after all of that snow. Birds are madly singing and flowers are blooming, including the first crocuses in my backyard pots
    2. A visit to a hospital dermatologist was enlivened by many crazy antics including a mad Russian doctor who obviously thought I was a lazy wimp for opting to buy a water filter rather than wash my skin and hair with a glass of water with a teaspoon of vinegar in it, receptionists that wandered in and out of consultations and a nurse hollering through the toilet door at a poor girl trying to give a urine sample (YOU CAN’T GO?! TRY RUNNING THE WATER!) while the waiting room unsuccessfully tried to pretend they were laughing at something else.
    3. We finally sat down and picked out and printed photos of the local area and travels for people back home
    4. I’ve got some great books to read on the planes and to leave here for when I get back (in case the cold depresses me!)
    5. Have started packing for Australia. Am getting excited at thought of wearing summer clothes (I even have a couple of tops I brought with me but I haven’t worn over here!).
    6. Togs (swim suit to non-Queenslanders) still fit. Phew.
    7. Getting to say “see you soon” in a casual manner to my sister on the phone this morning!

  17. Collage is so FUN! I need a collage lesson. “Love Can be Heard” is phenomenal. Absolutely gorgeous.

    Shredded Kicks:

    1) Michael Franti and Spearhead at the Valarium. Check out his Obama song: http://www.spearheadvibrations.com/index2.php (on the left-hand side: click it!)

    2) PBS NOVA online. I recommend

    Cracking the Mayan Code: http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/mayacode/program.html

    Lost Treasures of Tibet: http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/tibet/program.html

    3) Not being sick: get better people!

    4) Yesterday’s nice weather: turned-over my whole garden only to find it covered with snow this morning.

    5) The Arab online sign language dictionary and Google for translating it. Totally saved my but in World Civ. Jules you must see! Got there via David Bar-tzur’s website (check out the site address: “sins4islam”– was that intentional?)http://www.theinterpretersfriend.com/rlgn/sins4islam.html

    6) Homemade risotto

    7) Abuelita Mexican Hot Chocolate

  18. Jama, thanks so much for sending us to that link at Shrinking Violets. I really enjoyed that. I think I pretty much follow that philosophy without even trying to. I’m always hesitant about setting goals that formally. Wow, I’m more Zen than I knew. This is always good to discover about oneself, I suppose.

    And then from there I saw the Introvert’s Bill of Rights, which I’d like to slap right up on my wall. I nodded my head a lot, reading that one.

    Tarie, sorry to hear about your co-workers. Glad you’re still employed, though. Have fun visiting with family this week! And yay for being in love, as always.

    Jone, I wanna see “The Wrestler.” Is it on DVD yet? And I’m currently reading Coraline to my oldest—which might make me a bad parent (???), but she can withstand a lot of what is supposed to be “scary”—and we can’t wait to see the movie afterwards.

    I need to read up on what exactly the Stafford Stones are, but I enjoyed seeing the pics. I’m intrigued. Also, I’m cleaning up our blogroll, Jone, and was just reminded to add Solace au Naturel to the list, so thanks!

    It’s Angela!! (This is the aforementioned best friend from 9th grade with whom I re-connected, thanks to Facebook, though I should probably stop referring to her as “my best friend from 9th grade.” How about just great friend?). Anyway, congrats on the house, and glad you feel better, too. And thanks for the 7-Impish compliments. That’s very nice to read.

    John, the Fifth Horseman bit made me laugh outloud. Yeah, this whole “fifth disease” nonsense needs to stop. It sounds so….I dunno…awfully terminal or dangerous, and it’s harmless (in children anyway). I also love that you actually clicked on the link for “giclée,” seeing as how I so nerdily went and looked that up myself and thought maybe other readers would wanna know.

    John, I have only glanced at, in my sick-dom this week, your what’s-in-a-song posts, but I LOVE that idea and am saving them to read later. Good luck on submitting your short-ish fiction. None of us will say anything to the Jinx Gods. Our lips are sealed.

    And HA to the Sam Phillips addendum! Good one. Laughed outloud again. I’ve unleashed enough on you. But I’m glad you like her music, and my offer to send music—if you want it—still stands. Remember, you haven’t really lived ’til you’ve heard “Fan Dance” — the song as well as the entire CD from which it comes.

    Little Willow, as always, break a leg on auditions and keep us updated.

    Adrienne, animal crackers and lemonade right there alone could constitute 7 whole kicks, don’t ya think? Mmm. And I just KNEW Darth Vader liked ponies. He’s really a softie at heart, yes? ….That’s excellent news about extending your writing workshop. Congrats! I’ll be volunteer-teaching to the homeschooling group this week at my local pubalic liberry, teaching about American Sign Language for one hour. AND I’M NERVOUS.

    Emmaco, so Tanita will write a story about the story within the Neko Case album cover, and you MUST write a story about kick #2!….Thing I learned from you this week: What togs are.

    Jeffrey, thanks for all the linkage, especially that online sign language dictionary. Rockin’. And do you know how much I love mexican hot chocolate — all thanks to Eisha, too? Now I want some.

    I’ve written a novella here. Sorry, friends. But your kicks are so completely fabulous to read every week.

  19. Jules – So glad you’re on the road to recovery.

    Eisha – I ran out and bought that illustrated Strunk & White as soon as I saw it. It was a MUST HAVE!

    As always, the pics are fab. I love Collier, and love, love love Visiting Langston.

    Here are my kicks:
    1. We had our first full rehearsals (music only) this week. What fun! We have only 72 scheduled hours of rehearsal time before the shows. That’s a bit scary.

    2. William turned 8 on Tuesday, though we celebrated for what seems like days.

    3. Birthday dinner at Kabuto. Good food and good fun. The kid totally surprised me by picking this one. I thought we’d be doomed to Friendly’s.

    4. The newest member of the family, Squeaker (William’s birthday guinea pig), totally makes me smile.

    5. Homemade veggie lasagna.

    6. My amazing students.

    7. My super secret poetry project for April!!! – I can’t tell you yet, but let me just say that 29 days out of 30 are planned and will be awesome!

    Have a great week all!

  20. Jeremy, do you think you’d have to be a Metallica fan to dig the movie? ‘Cause I’m not, really, but they do have a long history… I bet it’d be fascinating. Agreed on “So What’cha Want” and “Float On,” too.

    tanita, OMG, please WRITE THAT STORY.

    Sara, I would totally give you a personal tour, and make sure they bring out the Charlotte’s Web manuscript for you too.

    cloudscome, you are so brave. My husband still laughs at me over one of the first times I brought him to my mom’s house, and how totally freaked out I got when a bird flew down the chimney into the living room. How did you catch it? Also, I try not to wear the white gloves at home, lest I find out how badly I need to dust.

    jama, I think that means you and Barack Obama are basically related. You should ask him if you can be HIS assistant!

    Tarie, I’d been thinking I maybe wanted to see that movie, but was waiting to hear from someone I trusted. So thank you! Also – FALLING IN LOVE? Details, please! I’m an old married woman and would like to live vicariously.

    jone, I’ve been curious about The Wrestler too, so thanks for the recommendation. And I’d never heard of the Stafford Stones – how cool. Also, exactly how many blogs are you up to now? You’re putting the rest of us to shame here.

    Angela, you made me blush! Thanks! Also, I went to a baby shower today, and among the three gift bags full of books the couple received (one was from me, obviously) was a copy of Moo, Baa, La La La. Three of us grown-ups started reciting it from memory, and a toddler who was present chimed in on some animal noises. Clearly, it’s the most awesome baby book ever.

    JES, I will do whatever I can to distract the jinx gods for you. Best of luck, you brave man! Also, you’re making me blush too. Thanks for liking the poetry. I should make clear, though, my husband didn’t design the costumes for the opera, which were also amazingly creepy-cool. Don’t those guys look like the ones in Dark City? When they put up photos of the set, I’ll link to ’em.

    Little Willow, I swear, you’re the Hardest Working Woman in Show Bizness. Break even more legs than usual on those auditions!

    adrienne, your freedom line made me laugh tea out my nose. And then I got to the part about Darth Vader and his pony book and choked. It was worth it, though. Do you think maybe he kept asking for a pony for his birthday, and mean ol’ Obi Wan never got it for him? And that’s why he turned out evil?

    emmaco, on one hand I think maybe you should look for a less batshit-crazy dermatologist… But on the other hand, you’d evidently miss out on a lot of live entertainment. Tough call. I do hope you have a safe flight and a fabulous visit home.

    Jeffrey, I dunno about the URL, but the fact that there’s an online Arab sign language dictionary makes me happy. As do risotto and Mexican hot chocolate. YUMMM.

    jules, I think “fifth disease” sounds like you’ve had a whole bottle of Jack Daniels. Bad. Ass.

    Ooh, Tricia, you tease! Now we’re all on tenterhooks waiting for April. Glad William’s birthday was so fun – and Friendly’s-free.

  21. Glad to read everyone’s kicks, and to see that you may very well be on the mend soon, Jules. And a special “Hurrah!” for Tarie for falling in love. I was just thinking about how my husband and I got together… I was so twitterpated. 🙂

    My mom and aunt were here this last week, and it was great. Now, my daughter has to recover from being SPOILED ROTTEN (oops, I meant “highly seasoned”).

  22. Jules, so glad that you figured out what was wrong, and are feeling better. And Eisha, I love that one of your kicks is a fun pen. That alone makes me happy. Andi, I loved Nation, too. And, oh, Tarie, falling in love is the best kick ever.

    1. I finally caught up a bit on reviews this weekend, after a lamentable dry spell.
    2. I’m still doing pretty well with the exercise bike (70 minutes today!).
    3. I’m reading the sequel to Julie Bertagna’s Exodus (Zenith) and it is fabulous.
    4. I’m in the middle of two whole weeks without travel or guests, and only minimal meetings (recharge time for the introvert, as many of you can relate).
    5. I’m participating in Laurie King’s 15 weeks of bees tour (she’s an adult mystery author of a series I love. The books have a lot of YA appeal, that’s why she and her publicist approached me).
    6. Stacy Dillon was kind enough to mail me her ARC of Wintergirls. She rocks! And, as Andi said, blog friends rock in general.
    7. And last, but definitely not least, Mheir got me customized m&ms for Valentine’s Day (a little bit late). I didn’t even know that such a thing was possible, and he surprised me completely. Some of them have our picture on them! They are adorable!

    Happy week, all!

  23. Adrienne: Sparkles are always good. The mental images of Darth Vader filling out an application and receiving the library card are hilarious to me. Love it.

    emmaco: Have a safe and fun trip!

    Jeffrey Palmer: I read that as “rice weather” and thought, “Yum, rice.”

    Jules and eisha: Thank you. I had fun. I hope they liked me. I hope to hear from them. I hope, I hope.

    Tricia: It’s always interesting to consider the process in a matter of hours rather than days, months, weeks. Break a leg and keep me posted! Hiya to Squeaker the guinea pig.

    S&S: Glad that you had a good visit with your relatives!

    Jen: Go accomplishments!

  24. Ooh, Tricia, I can’t wait to see April over at your blog, too! Happy birthday to William!

    eisha, HOO HA! That’s how I’m gonna start thinking of fifth disease anyway.

    Hi, Farida! Now you have to tell us how you and your husband got together. Dish! Dish!

    Jen, that sweet Mheir. And you can get M&Ms with your picture on them? Who knew? Congrats on weeks without travelling.

    Little Willow, don’t you wish we could see Tricia in her show?

  25. If anyone is a little curious… The first few conversations I had with *him* were about children’s literature. 😀

  26. Tarie, he’s a keeper then.

  27. S&S, thank you for the phrases “twitterpated” and “highly seasoned.” Glad your lil’ girl had such a lovely visit. And I second Jules’s request – DISH!

    Jen, you’re blowing my mind with that exercise bike. Just think how far you’d have gone if it actually had wheels! And you need to clone Mheir for all the less-fortunate girls out there.

    Tarie! Love him already!

  28. Tarie: Aww!

    Jules: Yes, indeedy! 🙂 🙂

  29. […] So, remember that Elements of Style anniversary exhibit I’m doing at work? I wanted to get photos of the opera that Maira Kalman and Nico Muhly did […]

  30. It is one of my favorite books. I currently have 17 copies: http://tinyurl.com/c5o39s

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