7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #104: Featuring Up-and-Coming Illustrator, Chantal Bennett

h1 March 1st, 2009 by Eisha and Jules

Jules: Can you believe it’s already the first Sunday in a new month? I can’t. But you know what it means when the first Sundays come along: We highlight a student of illustration or an illustrator otherwise new to the field in some way. This morning, 7-Imp welcomes Chantal Bennett, who . . . well, no introduction is necessary on my part, because when I asked if she’d like to say a few words to introduce herself, she ran with it and did a fine job, indeed, of giving us a bit of insight into her work and her plans. So, without further ado and with many thanks to Chantal for stopping by—especially for that enchanting opening image up there—here she is:

* * * * * * *

Hi! My name is Chantal Bennett. I’m 26 years old, and I went to Parsons New School of Design. I interned with the fabulous Pat Cummings, who introduced me to the business of children’s books. I always had a feeling in the back of my mind that I was destined to illustrate picture books, and interning with Pat only reinforced that.

I’m originally from Northern Ontario in Canada, where art classes are few and far between. My education as an illustrator took a long time to develop, because there was not much encouragement for the field where I grew up. So I dabbled in fine arts {and} animation and finally obtained a non-art-related university degree before I decided, enough was enough; I’m moving to NYC to go to art school and become an illustrator. I moved there with my boyfriend Joel Kimmel, who is also an illustrator. I am fortunate to have studied at Parsons.

I draw my inspiration from the Golden Age illustrators (Arthur Rackham, Edmund Dulac, Carl Larsson, N.C Wyeth, etc.) and also contemporary fantasy illustrators such as Alan Lee, John Howe, Yvonne Gilbert, Rebecca Guay, The Dillons, to name a few. I like illustrating obscure Celtic myths, like this one about jackdaws that saved a village by finding two missing rings…

…and painting obscure creatures, like Failinis, a golden hound who renders the beasts around him powerless.

I also really love costumes, so you will rarely ever see a character in modern-day clothing in my work. I collect books on costumes and even enjoy making them myself just for fun. I have a particular penchant for the Victorian era…

I’m also a big fan of fantasy literature, so I always try to add a bit of the fantastic or the whimsical to my pieces {such as with the illustration that opens this post}.

I like doing portraits, too…

I’m in the middle of several projects right now. I created a 32-page dummy at Parsons named Growler the Reluctant Guard Dog

…but I am now working on three different dummies that are mostly along the fantasy/folktale genre. While in school, I also came up with a concept for a book entitled Around the World in TwenTea Days, and I plan on developing that idea as well…

I hope to shop these books around soon. I’m also starting up a letterpress business in the spring, so I hope to incorporate that technique into my illustration in the future. It’s going to be a busy year, that’s for sure!

* * * * * * *

Thanks again, Chantal, and best of luck with your career!

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). If you haven’t already read about Share a Story — Shape a Future (the brainchild of Terry Doherty from The Reading Tub), coming up in March, then—by all means—head over to Jen Robinson’s or Terry’s blog and take a gander. They have all the info, but bottom line is that it’ll be a one-week literacy blog tour of sorts that is “for and by the people who create and engage their readers: teachers, librarians, parents, and people passionate about literacy.” It’s got its own site here, and—as you can see there—I’ll be involved on Day Four: I’ll be interviewing/chatting with public librarian extraordinnaire and kicks-regular Adrienne Furness about how to make the library work for YOU — yes, YOU, the patron. It’ll be fun. I’m happy to be involved in such a unique blog tour. More on that later.

2). My husband and I finished—all done and kaput—The Sopranos. I’m mostly speechless, but I will say that I understand now what author Haven Kimmel meant when she said that her choice of death, if she only had twenty-four hours to live, would be to spend twenty-four hours with Tony Soprano and then have him shoot her in the heart. Tony Soprano is an evil sociopathic rat bastard son of a devil. Yet I love Tony Soprano. The show just might do that to you.

3). My mother-in-law gave me money to spend on myself (I was forbidden to spend it on my children), ’cause she’s just randomly-giving like that, and one thing I got was this book, pictured here to the left. ‘Cause I’m a nerd like that.

4). Smart teachers like this, and thanks to Susan for that link. (I also figured out from Susan this week that the NPR librarians have a blog “by and for the audio-loving, fact-finding, truth-seeking, pop-culture-fiending, news-addicted librarians of the world”. Color me jealous. I’ve always wanted to be an NPR librarian.)

5). I taught a class to the homeschoolers at my local public library on Friday. The two children’s librarians asked me to teach about American Sign Language for one hour. I was nervous. I’m used to working at home in my PJs anymore. I had a blast. I think the kids did, too. It was really fun. I think I need to be back in a library again some day soon, mostly ’cause I took a stack of new picture books with me and managed to work them into the class. I can’t help it.

6). I’ve made it clear before that I pretty much just listen to the same music over and over. This week I grabbed Patty Griffin’s “1000 Kisses,” on my way out the door one day, and I was all blubbery-crying on about each and every song, re-discovering that great CD. She’s so gooood and such a great storyteller and her songs are filled with longing. When is she gonna give us a new CD already?

7). Captain Huggy Face from PBS’s “Word Girl.” I tried to replicate Captain Huggy Face’s dance for my four-year-old and almost got stuck in a position from which there was no return. If any of our readers can do this dance and prove it on video, you’ll have my undying love and devotion for all eternity. Wait, you all pretty much already do.

BONUS: I finally read Sherman Alexie’s Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian. Fabulous. “I used to think the world was broken down by tribes…By black and white. By Indian and white. But I know that isn’t true. The world is only broken into two tribes: The people who are assholes and the people who are not.” Amen.

* * * eisha’s kicks * * *

Word to the Alexie quote. Glad you liked the book too.

Also: Dude! The NPR librarians have a blog?! I’ve always wanted to be one of them too. Do you think we could be, like, NPR field librarians?

And was it the Huggy backspin that got you? That’s a tricky move. Actually, most of those move are tricky when you’re a 30-something person and not an animated monkey.

1* Chantal’s portrait of Tennessee Williams rocks. I have a special place in my heart for that man. It’s a kind of run-down plantation of a place, an old mansion that’s fallen into disrepair, a mere shadow of its former glory. A handful of people with good names and no ambition lounge around on the porch drinking too much, haunted by family secrets and lamenting their wasted youth, when they aren’t stumbling through weedy cotton fields or getting thrown out of the bordello…

What? Too much? Sorry. TW has that effect on me. Right, moving on…

2* Did ya’ll see the fabulous review/interview with Michael J. Rosen, and featuring illustrations by Stan Fellows, that Jules threw down for Poetry Friday? That was some really, really good stuff.

Tender Morsels. Not-so-tender book, so far.

3* Speaking of treating oneself to books, I had to buy some books for a baby shower last weekend, and while I was at it I picked up Margo Lanagan’s latest, Tender Morsels. (In case you didn’t know, our love for Margo Lanagan is the stuff of legend.) I just started it, so I can’t tell you much yet, but DAMN does it ever kick off with a bang.

4* I also stopped in at a little antique store and got myself a cool chain-link bangle bracelet for $3.50. It’s kinda biker-girl, but elegant biker-girl.

5* Lindt Excellence Intense Pear bar. ‘Nuff said.

6* We’ve had every kind of weather you can imagine this week: sun, rain, snow, wind, fog. Friday it was 50-something degrees outside, and Saturday morning I woke up to snow on the ground. I have weather-ADD, which causes me to get bored from too many days in a row of the same thing, so I’m loving it.

7* Saturday night I went to, of all things, a bagpipe concert. It was fabulous, with piping, drumming, and traditional dancing. They also handed out earplugs at the door, ’cause DANG, ten bagpipes playing at once is a big noise.

What are YOUR kicks this week?

39 comments to “7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #104: Featuring Up-and-Coming Illustrator, Chantal Bennett”

  1. Welcome to a new month, everyone! May it treat us all well. It’s time to March forward. 🙂

    Chantal Bennett: What lovely work, especially the first picture! What is that image entitled? Does that, too, depict a story or myth? I love Celtic myths and I love costumes, so you can bet I’ll be bookmarking your site. I liked Arthur Rackham’s take on Alice in Wonderland. Best wishes with your works-in-progress and with those to come. I like the play on words of “TwenTea.”

    Jules, Jen, and Terry: Please, please remind me about Share a Story — Shape a Future! I definitely want to follow that.

    Jules: What a sweet mother-in-law you have – and what a sweet mother YOU are, because you know you WILL share that with your kids. I just discussed the original version of The Little Mermaid with two teens on Friday.
    Congrats on the success of your class! Could that lead to something regular at that location? Have a slumber party / bedtime story-themed Storytime event sometime, and you CAN work in your PJs! I did that for a special event, and it was a blast to see how dressed up (or dressed down!) participants were – and how my co-workers reacted when I went into the restroom in work clothes and came out in purple cat-printed PJs!
    I would totally replicate that dance. I can’t do the breakdancing part, but the rest, sure thing! But I don’t have a camcorder.

    eisha: I enjoy what I’ve read or seen of Tennessee Williams’ work, but I really ought to read and see more.
    I think elegant biker-girl sounds like a great comic book anti-hero!
    That sounds like the perfect week to teach little kids about the weather, or to test a new meteorologist at a news station.

    My kicks for the week:

    1) Going the extra mile
    2) Fresh fruit
    3) Testing
    4) Knowing
    5) Getting the part (which is about seven kicks on its own, and hopefully will be twelve more after the shoot on Monday!)
    6) Really good soup
    7) Planning ahead

  2. Whoa, Chantal Bennett’s an illustrator to watch. I’m sure we’ll see her work gracing book covers soon. Love that tea thing.

    Jules… just once I need to be a fly on the wall at your house. Just once.

    Eisha, I’m laughing at your bagpipe concert. I’ll have you know I carry earplugs in my bag at all times in this country…

    Kick #1:Pancakes. Even though we had no syrup this morning (why does one never check for these things first?), it’s really easy to make your own. Somehow, that’s one of those things we know, but never do…

    Kick #2: It occurred to me that all of the grief in my life has come about because of other people’s expectations and rules, and so I’m going to pretend there aren’t any… that there never have been any… and go from there.

    Kick #3: Science fiction. Where would we be without the realms of “what if?”

  3. Kick #4: Seeing LW on TV. CONGRATULATIONS, girl!

  4. Happy March Everybody!!

    Can you see me smiling at Chantal’s teapots? LOVE the idea of TwenTea. I sort of, didn’t mean to, don’t know how it happened, collect teapots, sort of. We almost have more tea in our house than in all of China. What? Too Much?

    When Eisha said that, at the end of her fabulous description of her TW place, it reminded me of Nathan Lane in “Bird Cage.” The part where he dresses in a suit and tries to be masculine :). Funny how the mind works.

    Jules, I’m so excited you’ll be chatting with Adrienne soon. Isn’t the Share A Story logo adorable? Your class sounded really fun. PJ’s should be required attire for all library events. 🙂

    And congratultions to LW for gettting the part!! Yay for you!!

    A few kicks:

    1. Chantal’s art. Those portraits are awesome and the Growler spread is wonderful. Also fascinating that she likes costumes.

    2. Elaine’s Exterminator Tom DeLay poem on Friday. It’s so cool that all those funny words came out of her mind :)!

    3. Maira Kalman’s Abe Lincoln crush — another unbelievable piece for the NY Times.

    4. We’re going to see some of our former neighbors at a little wine and cheese gathering this afternoon.

    5. It’s snowing!!

    *going to practice the Huggy Face dance*

  5. Chantal, I am now officially waiting for Around the World in TwenTea Days to be published. I can’t wait – it looks so pretty!

    Jules, I also loved The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian. Woot woot!

    Eisha, I love the special place in your heart for Tennessee Williams. You actually didn’t say enough about it – tell us more!

    Little Willow, I want to see you on TV too! Is there a video online somewhere… ?

    Tanita, your second kick blew me away. I want to try doing that too.

    Some of my kicks from the past week:

    1. My mom is in town and is spoiling me by cooking a lot. Her cooking is my absolute favorite in the world. I am so spoiled that breakfast is waiting for me when I get up in the morning, there is a lunch packed for me to take to work, and dinner is waiting for me when I get home from work. I feel like a little girl again. Wheee!

    2. Mangoes. Sweet, juicy, sticky. Cold too, since we keep ’em in the fridge. (Mmm, now I want another one.)

    3. Bibingka (the Filipino version of the Goan dessert bebinca) with coconut, Laguna cheese, and Edam cheese. OMG OMG OMG OMG. It tastes like heaven. Heaven served on a pandan leaf. OMG OMG OMG OMG.

    4. My high school best friend, Amor, is pregnant! Amor married my cousin. Hehehe. It’s their first child.

    5. The weekend.

    6. Interviewing Newbery Honor winner Ingrid Law. 😀

    7. Matt (of my seventh kick last week). *happy sigh* And Matt telling me to separate the children’s books with real magic from the children’s books where the authors are “just doing a job.”

  6. Little Willow:


    I know marquee tags hurt the eyes and such, but this is a marquee-worthy moment.

    Little Willow, I’d love to see you do Captain Huggy Face’s dance. Captain Huggy Face dances to all kinds of new words (“flabbergasted” is fun), but the dance never changes. Maybe one day we’ll meet, and we’ll do the dance together. I’ll work on perfecting it.

    Tanita, whoa. I like kick #2. Heavy. But good.

    Jama, I second your cheering of Elaine’s poem. And the Abe Lincoln tribute from Maira. Have fun at the wine and cheese gathering. And guess what? It’s snowing here, too. Or it did. The girls were just being dinosaurs in the snow. And eating it a lot.

    I love Eisha’s Tennessee-Williams moment, too. I have a thing for American playwrights — give me Tennessee Williams and William Inge and Arthur Miller (All My Sons is one of my favorite plays), and I’m a happy woman.

    Thanks for comin’ to kick with us, you guys.

  7. Jama! We were listing our kicks at the same time. LOL. Happy March! 🙂

    Little Willow, I forgot to say… Congratulations for getting the part!

  8. Tarie, we were posting at the same time, too.

    Matt! Matt! I like what he said. A WHOLE lot. Is he smart or what? Did I mention before he’s a KEEPER?

    And bibingka — your description made me drool. That sounds heavenly. Oh, and congrats to Amor!

  9. Chantal– impressive stuff. I LOVE the Tennessee Williams portrait— the blue throughout is great. 12Teas is splendid too— what a great idea— keep us posted!

    A few kicks:
    6″ of snow in Memphis, my new camera lens is on its way: 17-50mm f/2.8 for those who enjoy photography nomenclature, apple crisp, yellow Thai curry, London Fog (the drink), automated PEOPLELESS banking.

    Have a great week everyone!

  10. Staying home from church today with a sick 3yo. Just watching the snow fall and racking my brain for kicks. Fortunately these rose to the surface:

    1 Tulips http://sandycovetrail.blogspot.com/2009/02/lean-on-me.html
    2. Your FP post on The Cuckoo’s Haiku and Other Birding Poems. Gotta get that book in multiple copies!
    3. It’s spring break this week in grad school. Perfect timing since I’m in for my second surgery on Tuesday. Hoping it’s easier this time.
    4. Herb seeds have sprouted on my windowsill! Parsley, Basil and Chives.
    5. Looking for signs of spring.

  11. Little Willow, maybe my Elegant Biker Girl and your Pajama Girl can fight crime together. Also… CONGRATULATIONS!!! (I’ll leave the marquee thing to Jules.) And yeah, where can we see you on TV?

    Tanita, the heightened risk to your hearing from living in Scotland never occurred to me. Do you have bagpipers busking on street corners? And I am full-on in love with your Kick 2. That should be a magnet or greeting card or something.

    jama, I loved Maira’s Lincoln post too. Honest Abe is totally crush-worthy. And yay for wine & cheese on a snowy day.

    Tarie, your mom sounds fabulous. No wonder you turned out right. And HEL-LO, does Matt have any brothers?!? I know a few single bookish girls who would love to meet someone that gets that distinction.

    jules, please tell the girls to watch out for yellow snow when they’re eating it.

    Jeffrey, whoa! 6″ of snow in Memphis is epic. Take pictures! And I had Thai this weekend – maybe my favorite cuisine.

    cloudscome, we’ll all be pulling for you this week. I hope you heal fast, and that your army of friends have all reported for duty to help you out.

  12. I agree with the comments said about Around the World in TwenTea Days. … Love that illustration. Chantal has a future.
    Jules, the new book rocks. Eisha, I would love to go to a bagpipe concert. How cool. LW, congrats on getting the part. Cloudscome, thinking good thoughts for you on Tuesday.
    My kicks:
    1. My granddughter telling me “don’t cry Grandma, it’s just a story.” In her story she had gotten eaten by a dinosaur.
    2. Getting to interview both Kirby Larson and Deb Lund for the Provato Marketing Winter Blog tour. Interviews posted last week.
    3. Headed to Phoenix next Thursday. Get to see friends and my nephew and family. BTW, he’s doing better, except he ended up in ER with two blood clots in the lungs yesterday. So I guess this condition he has is pretty dicey.
    4.Tricia’s poetry stretch was really fun to do this week. All about macaronic poems.
    Have a great week.

  13. Chantal, your work is terrific! Do you know what’s so exciting to me about seeing the work of new artists like Chantal’s? Knowing that they will be improving upon their already well-honed craft as they create more masterpieces. I’m very excited to see that the future of children’s illustrating (and art in general) is in very capable hands. Jules, thanks for giving these artists a venue to showcase their talents!

  14. Eisha, I’m in love with your Kick #1 paragraph. I’m pining for a whole novel based on a character who keeps saying things like that. Just like that. Write it for me, will you?

    Jules, that Andersen book! It’s so beautiful, like a book of his stories should be. Way to nerd out!

    I’m loving that first floaty image, too. To be able to call turtles whenever you pleased. I’m thinking that skill could change my attitude on some grouchy days. I’m also kinda of thinking that LW (super TV and PJ and Huggy Face dance goddess!) might be able to do that, too.

    It’s supposed to snow here, so my book club meeting this afternoon was postponed. Boo. But then again, I have more time to hang out here and read kicks.

  15. I wanna see LW on TV!

    Tarie, your kicks are absolutely delish. All that homecooking from your mom? Adopt me please. We have a version of bibingka in Hawaii — doesn’t have all those fancy cheeses in it, though.

    Tanita’s #2 kick is SO powerful!!

    Sending healing thoughts, prayers, and hugs to cloudscome and Jone’s nephew.

  16. Oh, wow–I’d like to see some of those costumes Chantal sews along with her lovely art.

    Jules, It’s cool to have “Share a Story–Shape a Future” as an excuse to talk about libraries, isn’t it? I’m excited to be involved. And YAY I’m glad to hear the ASL class went well on Friday!

    Little Willow, YAY to the part!

    Tanita, Oh, yes, ignore those rules. I couldn’t agree more.

    My kicks:
    1. The week as a whole was topsy-turvy moving-a-little-more-quickly-than-I-could-keep-up-with, but it was good even so.
    2. We’ve had some sun this week, including today.
    3. We tried a new program for parents at the library on Thursday night. We didn’t get huge attendance, but the parents who came really seemed to enjoy it, as did I.
    4. I’m serving as a mentor for a long-time teen volunteer for the library who’s working on her Girl Scout Gold Award. We had a meeting this week, and she’s just going to do an awesome job with it. It’s such a gift to watch kids grow up and become these amazing very-nearly-almost adults.
    5. My friend’s 88th birthday was Friday, and there was a party. I was able to go early and help with setup, which I was grateful for, as I got some time to talk with the woman of the hour before everyone showed up and things got all nutty.
    6 .Speaking of bagpipes, Eisha, someone brought his bagpipes to play at the previously mentioned party. It was so unexpected and wonderful–the sort of thing Kicks are made of.
    7. I devoted the entire day yesterday to watching movies with a friend. It was the perfect combination of some much-needed downtime and quality time with my friend. We watched The Savages (wow, wow, excellent), Man on Wire (ditto), Fantastic Planet (huh?), The Strangers (scary), Dead Moon Rising (I could have made this film), the first season of the This American Life TV show (really, really liked it), and two eps. of the Masters of Horror series. Whew. What a day!

  17. Today is my closing performance of P-Joan. Sniffle.

    Tanita, Tarie, eisha, Jone, Jama, Jules, et al: Thank you! I wish I were on TV, but I’m not (yet)! Believe me, when I am, I’ll tell the world.

    Tomorrow, I’m shooting a commercial. That’s the part to which I had referred! It is an online campaign, not a national TV spot. Cross your fingers that all goes well for the shoot, and that it runs somewhere, somehow, thus allowing me to show it to you all!

    Tanita: Mmm, pancakes. Yes, free yourself of the expectations (and judgments) of others, and you’ll be ever so much happier and optimistic, so much more at peace, with a better focus.

    Jama: Enjoy the snow and the visit.

    Tarie: Congratulations to your friends and family!

    Jules: Aw, marquee for little me?! Danke! Are many of Captain Huggy Face’s dances available on YouTube? Yes, when we meet, there will be dancing.

    Jeffrey: Enjoy your new camera lens.

    cloudscome: Healthy vibes for the munchkin. Yum to the herbs!

    eisha: Electra Woman and Dyna Girl, step aside – Here come Elegant Biker Girl and Pajama Girl! 🙂

    Speaking of Abe Lincoln: One of my P-Joan castmates has a big audition for a Lincoln-related show in the next 48 hours, so send him some luck!

    jone: “Don’t cry Grandma, it’s just a story.” = Hilarious! Isn’t Kirby kind? Good thoughts for your nephew.

    Sara: I am the Pied Piper of critters. Enjoy your day. May your book club meeting be fantastic and easily rescheduled.

  18. Everyone, Little Willow may not be on t.v. yet, but I remember this from last year and squealing IT’S LITTLE WILLOW! (The lovely lady in the purple shirt reading an excerpt with Jay Asher at the end)…

    LW, sorry about that closing performance. Wish the show’s run hadn’t gotten cut short. Enjoy the hell out of it.

    Jeffrey, enjoy that new camera lens, come and share the results of it (new photos) with us, and apple crisp = yum. My husband makes some KILLER apple crisp.

    cloudscome, again, sending warm thoughts your way, and we’ll all be thinking of you/praying for you/sending hugs your way on Tuesday.

    Jone, good vibes to your nephew, too, and glad you get to see him. Yes, Tricia’s poetry stretch rocked, but I chickened out and didn’t do it. I loved your Deb Lund interview. Haven’t seen Kirby’s yet.

    Hi, Angela! Thanks!

    Sara, at least you can take time during what was supposed to be the book club and read. I’ve been on a reading kick — I put so many novels down mid-way and was getting disappointed, and then I read Alexie’s book and JUST finished another GREAT one and started yet another fab one.

    Adrienne, kick #7 is fabulous. You just made me decide that I want to do that one day. An entire DAY of movies — it’s been too long. I’d have to line up child care, but it’s do-able.

    Yes, LW, Captain Huggy Face — whom Adrienne knows all about, as she loves Word Girl about as much as I do — has all kinds of YouTube videos. Again, they’re all the same dance but different words. Here’s another:

    Adrienne, I just found this! Just for you. How funny is this?

    Plus, dude, Jeffrey—Word-Nerd Extraordinnaire and about-to-be-Linguistics student—would appreciate Word Girl.

    Er, sorry, everyone. I’ve made it Word Girl Day at 7-Imp. Well, just embrace it. Thrust your hand and fist into the air and shout, “Word up!”

  19. Major kicks today, huh? Starting with Chantal Bennett’s opening piece and continuing through her introduction. The first picture is deceptive; look at it too quickly and you think to yourself, COOL picture of a little girl floating among lily pads… and then you see the lily pads are something else entirely and you’re left thinking Darn, I gotta watch out for this artist in the future…

    (Well, maybe all those 2nd-person pronouns were a bad choice there.)

    Have a long way to go — and a long time, too, of the sort which occurs specifically backwards — before I can attempt the Huggy Dance. I’m still trying to decide if Little Willow’s “I don’t have a video camera” was something to be disappointed or suspicious (like, “Oh, how convenient!”) about. 🙂

    Jules, I loved that comment of Haven Kimmel’s too. If I were James Gandolfini I’d have that in my scrapbook of reviews.

    And Eisha, you need to fill out that scene from your novel-that-isn’t. It practically screams novel-about-to-be. (And I want to be one of the ones getting thrown out of a bordello.)

    Some kicks…

    * This has been one whole heck of a week here at 7-Imp, huh? I mean, not suggesting that Jules should get sick more often but the last seven days here have been to die for.

    * Couple of Internet kicks in one: an amazing panoramic zoomable scrollable photo of the Inauguration crowd… zoom in and see just about every face!; and this Youtube video of a scuba dive in Belize, which has been cracking me up since I first saw it yesterday.

    * Pad Thai two nights in a row!

    * Viggo Mortensen and Ed Harris in Appaloosa

    * Wales, and the Welsh language, and Welsh names

    * Two otherwise normal adult humans, handing a stuffed animal to a 3-pound Yorkie and watching like eager parents on Christmas morning as the poor inanimate toy is savagely mauled. And then congratulating themselves on the selection.

    * State of the Union: tough, clear, straightforward talk which finally got around to mentioning defense matters almost as an afterthought (but also tough, clear, and straightforward talk about that).

  20. Chantal – Your work is just lovely. How cool that your characters have their own costumes. The young man may be in a vest, but his thoughts of his sister are timeless. Bravo.

    Jules – Thanks for the shout-out about Share a Story – Shape a Future. Captain Huggy-Face is VERY popular in our house, but I haven’t dared try to bust a move yet.

    Eisha – Oh, how brave. I married into Irish, and have come to discover that bagpipes are most definitely an acquired taste.

    My kicks this week –

    1. It’s snowing -a guaranteed sit-by-the-fire and lets-all-be-lazy-and-read kind of day.

    2. The reception to Share a Story – Shape a Future is keeping me on Cloud Nine.

    3. Susan Stephenson’s (Book Chook) great sense of humor and never-ending energy!

    4. Having an hour just to wander the library by myself.

    5. Paella and a glass of red wine.

    6. I polished up a bunch of reviews and got all the new books organized.

    7. Last but not least: refinancing the mortgage.

  21. The good thing about coming in during the double-digits is that I get to read so many kicks. However, you’d think that a person who tells stories as a vocation would have a better short-term memory. I don’t. Hurrah for Little Willow for getting the part, and for everyone else’s good news. After filming yesterday’s storytelling video, I have even more respect for the hard-working actors in the world. I showed up at 8:45 am with props and snacks (including cupcakes for afterward), we started filming at 10:30 am after I did some warm-ups with the kids beforehand, and then we broke quickly for lunch. Soon after, we did almost the whole program again, this time without kids. Then, there was the interview set-up, and so much waiting. Every time I began to speak, it seemed, a plane flew overhead. And then it would be quiet, and I’d flub a line. 😉 We finally wrapped things up at 3:15 pm and Grace Stahre (the filmographer of VersantMedia) said, “Now, imagine doing that for 10 hours a day!”

    The video yesterday was one kick. My almost-six year old daughter listening to “The Magic Flute” with rapt attention and wondering once again why children don’t usually get to go to operas (aha! My cunning plan is working) is another. She is currently in the other room, trilling the high notes of the Queen of the Night. Some of it is campy, but there are times when she hits a high, sweet note and I think, “Wow! Did that actually come out of my daughter?” I am pretty sure that, whatever path my daughter finds, music and performance will enrich it. Fear not, I have no plans of sending her off to voice lessons before puberty or enrolling her in child acting classes. I think of Mozart, and how much longer he would have lived, plus how much of a richer life he would have had, had his father not pushed him to be this child prodigy performing all over Europe.

  22. P.S. That smiley face showed up in an odd place. It should teach me not to use smileys, but hey, I was using smileys long before we started typing them sideways.

  23. This Week’s Kicks:
    1) Today I bought this amazing crown, which I may or may not wear in my wedding: http://www.etsy.com/view_transaction.php?transaction_id=14218719

    2) Yesterday the Mr.Me-to-Be and I headed down to the beach to visit possible wedding sites and explore. While it was kinda rainy and gross, and the first place we looked at disappointed a bit, it led to some productive thought and research.

    3) Friday I received some very good news that I’m not quite ready to share with the world yet, but I will as soon as I can.

    4) Thursday was a rather restful day for me.

    5) Wednesday, one of my colleagues who accidentally broke the driver’s side mirror on my car paid to have it fixed. It was very good of her to take care of this promptly, when she could easily have just driven off and never told me she was the one who’d done it.

    6) Tuesday I went to dinner with my sister and her fiance.

    7) Monday I didn’t have a meeting (because my colleague and I scheduled ours for Tuesday instead) which meant I had time to prepare, which made my Tuesday much less hectic.

    Off to cross-post these to my blog!

  24. “AND I corrected his word usage.”

    Poor Word Girl. So much work to do!

    Jules, Yes, a day of movies is very fun. This particular friend and I have movie days a couple times a year, and it’s this day of essentially doing nothing that still leaves you with a sense of accomplishment, since you are suddenly able to cross all these things off your “to watch” list. Plus it makes for great conversation. I highly recommend it.

  25. Happy Kicks-day! After being gone for a week, it is always fun to read the week’s kicks I missed, plus the new ones for this week.

    Chantal, love the turtle-summoner. And I really love growler the reluctant guard dog. Beautiful art!

    Jules, love that Alexie quote. And thanks for sharing the video of Little Willow!

    Eisha, I concur with everyone else about your first kick – and as a huge Tennesse fan, it sounds like a story I would wait in line for.

    Little Willow – congrats on the commercial!

    Sending good healthy thoughts to cloudscome and to jone’s nephew too.

    It has been a very hectic but productive two weeks for me, which has been nice. Also, sometimes there are parts of my job that can be a bit depressing – which is another reason why I love coming here to read all the joyful, happy kicks. Instant pick me up!
    Kicks this week:
    1. I have a job. There are big budget cuts in Oregon and in my office we will be affected, but for now, we all still have our jobs.
    2. Six mile run this morning. Cleared the cobwebs out of my head.
    3. I curled up with Vol 2 of Octavian Nothing this afternoon while it was raining – 150 pages in so far and I am liking this one even more than Vol. 1.
    4. The Daily Show in general, but Tom Selleck was on this week, and he told the sweetest, funniest story about having his pet cow cremated because of his wife and daughter. Made me a bigger TS fan than I already was, and I’ve been one since Magnum.
    5. Having a handy BF. We had water damage in the guest bathroom, he ripped out the floor and subfloor and fixed everything! Took a full week, but its all fixed and better than before.
    6.Book review in the NYT on “Flannery – A Life of Flannery O’Connor” by Brad Gooch. Its on my wish list now.
    7. Finally got a teensy bit brave and put a short story out into the universe. I am eager to see where it takes me.

    Have a great week!

  26. jone, have a lovely time in Phoenix. That’s some worrying stuff about your nephew, but I hope he continues to do better.

    Angela, couldn’t agree more.

    Sara (and JES), I dunno. Write a whole novel from my Tennessee Williams place? When there’s all these glass unicorns to dust, and lamps to drape scarves over, and arguments to have with my probably-secretly-gay husband, and naps to take in my baby crib? And this mint julep isn’t going to drink itself, you know. *sigh* But you know who else had a Tennessee Williams place, and wrote a bunch of stuff from it? Tennessee Williams. You could read his stuff. Also, arguably, Flannery O’Connor, Carson McCullers. Maybe even Faulkner. They’ve all done it way better than I could. (takes consolatory sip of bourbon.) (takes another.)

    adrienne, that is quite a week. Glad you got some time in with your birthday friend, and your movie friend too. But, when you say “I could have made this film,” do you mean it in a good way? Or in an “ANYONE could have made this film” kind of way?

    Little Willow, I’m loving it. Also, nice dramatic reading in that video.

    JES, you pretty much just blew my Sunday afternoon. The link to the scuba video took me to her blog (which is hilarious) and then to her etsy page (she makes zombie sock dolls) and then to her friend’s etsy page (who makes cthulhu finger puppets) (yes, I really did just type “cthulhu finger puppets”). And then I turned around, and like 4 hours had passed. Thanks, sort of.

    Terry, I kind of dig bagpipes, but I wasn’t sure I’d dig an entire evening of them. Turns out I do. Hope you enjoyed your snowy day by the fire.

    Alkelda, that video shoot sounds exhausting. Doesn’t it give you all-new respect for movie actors who do 16-hour shoots every day for months on end? I hope it turns out excellent.

    Kimberly, do I get a vote? WEAR THE CROWN. When else will you get a chance to wear something that awesome?

  27. rm, we were posting at the same time. Jinx! Also, we both mentioned Flannery O’Connor, which almost certainly means something. Her spirit is probably watching over your short story as it makes its way across editors’ desks. Best of luck!

  28. John, thanks for loving the posts this week. And for that YouTube video, which made me laugh outloud. “It wasn’t funny last time, and it won’t be funny now.” Ha. And now I can say I experienced a baby Cloverfield monster sighting. I’ll have to send this to a friend who recently posted scuba pics on Facebook.

    John, I also love that opening image of Chantal’s. I wanna know the story behind it. Or it needs to be a book cover perhaps. It intrigues me.

    Hey, Appaloosa is in our Netflix queue. Cool.

    Terry, isn’t wandering the library the best?

    Farida, I want to hear your daughter trilling arias all “campy” and lovely.

    Kimberly, lovely week. And, ooh ooh, #3 is tantalizing. Do come back and tell.

    RM, there have been so many times we almost got cable just ’cause of The Daily Show. GOOD LUCK with that short story.

    eisha, as an MC alum, of course you love those bagpipes. Didn’t they play ’em at our grajuashun?

  29. eisha, I wear crowns much more than most people, I suspect. I go to the ren faire, and also I will just wear them because I feel like it.

    But that one, I sincerely hope to wear for the wedding.

  30. Kimberly, I love it that you wear crowns, and I appreciate that shell tiara recently purchased from Etsy. I myself have two tiaras. This might send my comment into spam, but here’s a link to my wedding tiara: http://saintsandspinners.blogspot.com/2005/04/crown-jewels_29.html

  31. Hey,
    I loved Chantal’s work, especially the first illustration. i think the way medvial with a tint of modern art mix is great, they blend perfectly!

    Tho 1 note, at the very begining of the post, where Chantal’s name is first mentioned and has a link on it, if you click it comes back with error page.Mabe is just my pc being funny, but i d really would want to see that link.

  32. Oops, Niovi. You were right. Broken link. Sorry. It’s all fixed now!

  33. Wow!! There are so many kicks that I don’t have time to comment on all of them except to say that I am happy that everybody has had such interesting kicky weeks. I am always entertained and intrigued by the posts.

    This past week has been a difficult one for my family. We just found out my mother-in-law, Polly, has breast cancer. However, I am able to get some kicks out of it because:

    1 – The cancer has been caught at a very early stage, requiring lumpectomies as opposed to mastectomies. Her prognosis is very good, and we are very grateful.

    2 – The extended family has been able to use Facebook to spread the news and keep each other posted, which is great because we are spread out over TN, NJ, NC, GA, MS, SC and AL. My husband may think Facebook is a waste of time, but I think it works really well in this kind of situation.

    3 – We had a wonderful visit with my in-laws over the weekend that involved shopping for kids clothes, playing on the Wii (I love that machine), and watching the kids having a blast. It really took our minds off the upcoming surgery.

    And for my happier kicks:

    4 – Mo Willems. I am so thankful that his books are as much fun to read for grown-ups, as they are for kids.

    5 – Not only is LOST back, but it is followed by Life on Mars. I love those shows, and don’t mind losing myself in something for two hours that is not a book.

    6 – Ruby has taken some very cautious steps, but still prefers to crawl because it gets her where she wants to go a lot faster.

    7 – This is a little old now, but a couple of weeks ago, I got to hear Arun Gandhi (grandson of Mohandas Gandhi) speak not once, but twice. He is the founder of the M. K. Gandhi Institute for Non-Violence, and a very inspiring person. If you get a chance, check out some of his lectures on Youtube.

  34. Zoë, so sorry to hear about your mother-in-law, but I’m glad they caught it early.

    I mailed off this morning a surprise for Ruby in the mail!

  35. Zoe: High hopes and healing thoughts for your mother-in-law.

    Kiba: What a lovely crown. Whenever you wear it, you will reign supreme! 🙂

    eisha: Gracias.

    Thanks to all who wished me well. Very kind of you. I had a lot of fun at the shoot today. 🙂

  36. Eisha – the double Flannery mentions definitely means something!

    Jules, here is a link to Tom Selleck on TDS: http://www.thedailyshow.com/video/index.jhtml?videoId=219497&title=tom-selleck

    Way to knock’em dead LW!

    And Zoe, good thoughts for your mother-in-law! So glad they caught it early!

    And thanks for wishing me well on my ss!

  37. Hi there! I wanted to thank you all so much for the nice comments about my artwork. I feel very privileged to be featured in such a fantastic blog. I’m very flattered!

  38. You really cannot expect to have a proper breakfast unless you have a cold beer as soon as you get up. Beer in a can is preferable to that stuff which is sometimes found in a bottle.

  39. The first image is awsome.

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