7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #113: Featuring Up-and-Coming Illustrator, Eric Wight

h1 May 3rd, 2009 by Eisha and Jules

Jules: This is how happy we are that the month of May has arrived. See? We’re swoony and floating.

It’s the first of the month again, and that’s when 7-Imp features a student illustrator or someone otherwise new to the field of children’s books. The art today comes from first-time author for young readers, Eric Wight. Here we have an illustration from his debut graphic novel, My Dead Girlfriend, which was listed among the 2008 Great Graphic Novels for Teens by YALSA. So, yeah, Jenny Wraith here is swoony and floating, but she’s also very much not alive.

As you can see, Eric’s not new to illustration, but this May he will be debuting a new chapter book/graphic novel hybrid series for younger readers, called Frankie Pickle. Frankie Pickle and the Closet of Doom, published by Simon & Schuster, will be released this week. “The Frankie Pickle series,” Eric told me, “is about a typical boy with an anything but typical imagination. Whenever faced with a challenge, Frankie becomes lost in fantasy -– which sometimes causes bigger trouble than what he started with. But, in the end, creative problem-solving always triumphs. The aspects of the chapter book that take place within Frankie’s imagination are told with sequential panels, while the parts of reality are prose. My intention for creating a hybrid was to seamlessly integrate words and illustrations in order to entice even the most reluctant of young readers. A father of two small children myself, I also set out to write a book that parents would find equally entertaining as they read it to their kids.”

As for this first title in the series, “what begins as the simple task of Frankie cleaning his room,” Eric said, “quickly escalates into a wild adventure filled with lava monsters, giant robots, whirlpools of junk, and of course – THE CLOSET OF DOOM.”

Prior to creating Frankie Pickle, Eric was an animator for almost ten years for such companies as Disney, Warner Bros., and Cartoon Network. His comic book adaptation of The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay helped garner both the Harvey and Eisner Awards for Best Anthology, as well as the Russ Manning Award for Most Promising Newcomer. Even though this post is getting looong (but, hey, it’s fun), I wanted to share my brief chat with Eric about his work:

Jules: Tell us about how your work as an animator informed your work on the new chapter book/graphic novel.

Eric: I think, because I was an animator before an author, film is my first language. When I imagine a story, I don’t see it as static words and pictures. Everything plays in my head like a movie. The challenge becomes interpreting those moving images into something that can exist on a page. One of the ways I do this is to choose drawings that convey motion: poses that would hurt if you held them too long or snap shots of things happening mid-action.

I also strive to integrate the text and imagery into a single, harmonious experience. The choice and placement of the illustrations is very deliberate so that, as your eyes scan the book, the imagery flows with the text as seamlessly as possible. Each reveals each other, rather than just co-existing. It’s very challenging to make work, but then you have those happy accidents that push you even further. For example, in Closet of Doom there’s a drawing of Frankie’s hand turning the knob to open his closet door, and then the reader has to turn the page, which unveals his reaction, as though you were opening the door yourself.

Jules: Have you already started working on the next Frankie Pickle title in the series?

Eric: The second Frankie adventure is called Frankie Pickle and the Pine Run 3000, set arrive in stores February 2010. The premise is the Pinewood Derby meets Speed Racer. After making a mess out of a knot-tying lesson, Frankie doesn’t have enough badge points to move up in rank with the rest of his Possum Scout troop. The only way for him to catch up is to win the Pine Run 3000, the annual model car racing derby. The manuscript and cover are finished, and the art for the interior should be wrapped up by the end of June.

Jules: What’s next for Frankie?

Eric: Next up is Frankie Pickle and the Multiplying Menace, which can only be described as math meets Lord of the Rings. I have over a dozen volumes of Frankie books planned, with two-three books coming out a year.

Jules: Are you working on any other projects, too? What’s next?

Eric: In addition to the Frankie Pickle series, I’m also writing and illustrating a middle grade fantasy series for Simon & Schuster, the first of which is titled Kookleberry and the Sword of Fools. It’s also a hybrid, although the graphic novel elements are utilized differently. Kookleberry is about a boy minstrel who, after losing his mentor, goes on a quest to figure out his purpose and discovers an illustrated tome, called The Scarlet Hood. The tome leads him to a parallel world, filled with mystery, monsters, and magic. Contained within the novel is the actual comic that Kookleberry discovers, allowing readers to experience it with him as it guides him on his journey.

Eric’s creation for the Spiderwick bind-up, coming out this Fall

From My Dead Girlfriend (TokyoPop, 2007)

Many thanks to Eric for stopping by this morning. I’m saving the most exciting part for last: Eric created a brand-new tea party image for our blog, and 7-Imp’s tech support, my husband, placed it on the “Contact Us” page of our site. It’s here, and it’s wonderful! Go take a look, if you’re so inclined, because if I include the image here, it doesn’t quite translate well. (Due to its original size, the lines show up weak when I try to squeeze it in here, but it’s beautemous on our “Contact Us” page.) Big ol’ hugely huge thanks to Eric!

* * * * * * *

As a reminder, our 7 Kicks 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. So, let’s kick it up. Absolutely anyone is welcome to list kicks — even if, or especially if, you’ve never done so before.

* * * eisha’s kicks * * *

1* How lovely and fun is Eric Wight’s art? My Dead Girlfriend looks so Alice-y. And I love anything that has to do with Michael Chabon’s The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay.

2* If there’s one thing Ithaca weather has taught me, it’s not to get cocky and think it means something if we have a few straight days of a given temperature/precipitation range. But… I think… yeah, I’m gonna say it… I think it’s finally spring. There’s daffodils and tulips everywhere, and I finally saw some lilacs starting to bloom this week. And this weekend has been beautiful. Well worth the wait.

3* The husband and I have been Netflixing 30 Rock. The 2nd season cameo by Al Gore made my whole week. Watch it here.

So cute! So cheap! And that shelf is now totally stacked with half-read and to-be-read books.4* The first 100 Days are over, and I’m impressed at how much Obama has been able to do.

5* Also, I’ve really loved tracking it through The Onion.

6* I put my new Ikea bedside table together and it is so cute! And functional!

7* And although I ended up having to work on a very pretty spring Saturday, I got a bunch of stuff done because all our would-be patrons were out enjoying the weather.

How ’bout you, Jules?

* * * Jules’ kicks * * *

1). It’s May! I love May. And Sam Phillips even released a new (but old) song—for free for all her fans—on May Day. See how I worked that kick into another kick, since I figure you all are sick of hearing me talk about Sam Phillips’ music?

2). Our irises bloomed.

2½). A gut-bustingly funny Mother’s Day card from my friend, Gloria, who very much understands my sick sense of humor.

3). Have you all seen Booklights yet over at PBS Parents? It’s a new children’s book blog, and it’s in the very capable hands of Jen Robinson, Pamela Coughlan (a.k.a. MotherReader), and Susan Kusel. The goal, as Jen put it, is to bring literacy and reading content to the PBS Parents audience. I think for parents who need some book tips to get directed to the trio that is Jen, Pam, and Susan is good. Real good.

4). I failed to mention last week that I was the recipient of one of Jone’s students’ postcards in her poetry-postcard project she does with them annually. I loved getting a poem in my mailbox like that; it was way better than junk mail, too. The poetry-postcard told the credit card application in my mailbox, Move over. I’m real mail. You suck. And it shamed the credit card application. It did.

5). The below photo, which Andi posted at a wrung sponge on Friday. It’s from the White House Flickr stream, an official White House photo by Pete Souza of Obama speaking in March at the Miguel Contreras Learning Center in Los Angeles. The second part of this kick is marking 100 Days. I’m still at the point where simply seeing or hearing the words “President Barack Obama” makes my day…I try not to get political at 7-Imp, for different reasons, but sometimes you just can’t hide your glee.

6). My five-year-old’s Angry Art: I told her that perhaps one good way to deal with getting angry is to put it all into a piece of art — a coloring, a painting, what-have-you. So, as I’ve made her mad in the past several weeks, she’s stomped off and then come back with these tiny pieces of cardboard with heavy, black crayon scribblings all over them. (Often, it’s from simply disciplining her or telling her no, as you just gotta do sometimes, but there have been a few times when I was being impatient or not listening as well as I should). Angry Art. I’m keeping a stack. Here they are below, spread out. (Sorry ’bout that loud flash.)

As soon as she gives them to me, we both laugh. And make up. Apologies are given by the necessary party, sometimes swapped. It’s a good thing.

7). YOU GUYS! The submissions to the Academy of American Poets’ Free Verse Project. Go see! I’m going to include here my very favorites and hope to goodness I don’t get sued. I’ll link each image back to the Free Verse Project page, to be safe:

From T.S. Eliot’s “Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock”

From Walt Whitman’s “Miracles”;
This makes me think of Chapter Three of Part Three in
Lulu Atlantis: The Quest for True Blue Love when the Eggman is talking to Lulu about the miracle of eggs.
(“An egg, Lulu Atlantis, is an everyday surprise!…
You could keep an egg nearby for comfort.”)

From Jack Gilbert’s “Failing and Flying”

Aren’t those great? I think that last one is my very favorite. I don’t know who made ’em. The Free Verse Project site doesn’t say.

What are YOUR kicks this week?

29 comments to “7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #113: Featuring Up-and-Coming Illustrator, Eric Wight”

  1. Happy Sunday!

    Eric’s art is fascinating. I don’t know much about graphic novels, so this was a good primer for me. Love the new Contact Page tea party image!

    Jules, what a good idea about angry art. It allows your daughter to process and express her anger, and then move on. Genius! And I love all those poetry images. I did browse over there and was thrilled to see those beautiful hands again, Jules. I agree with both of you about the first 100 Days. I still have to pinch myself whenever I hear or see “President Obama.”

    My kicks:

    1. All the Poetry Month posts last month. It was a fabulous celebration, and the best part is, whenever we want, we can go back and reread any of the interviews, original poems, reviews, etc., and savor them in more depth.

    2. Today I get to meet up with some writer friends at an SCBWI regional get together. I’m also looking forward to meeting some new people.

    3. Interviewing Melissa Sweet this past week. The more I see her art, the more I love her. She does bears, alphabets, travel journals — my most favorite things. Plus, we share a love for white gloves and saddle shoes!

    4. The trees and shrubs got their leaves back. Yay! Now we’ve got our privacy again, and don’t have to look at the backs of ugly houses.

    5. Dylan’s got a new CD out — I think it’s his 46th or something. I’m anxiously waiting for my copy to arrive, as all the reviews have been stellar so far. It’s #1 on the Amazon rankings for music!

    6. I’m mad about the mouse! Linda Urban’s Mouse Was Mad, to be exact. See my release day post tomorrow.

    7. I’m also very excited about Booklights. Yay for Jen, Pam, and Susan!!

    Have a great week, everyone. 🙂

  2. Oh, sigh, but doesn’t EVERYONE have a Closet of Doom? Frankie Pickle looks like just the thing for my library. I’m trying to stock up the shelves with awesome for summer.

    Also, I love the expression on Alice’s face at the tea party. Brilliant!

    Eisha, I really can’t think of the last time it snowed in May, so we’re probably safe. Probably. I have also been watching the second season of 30 Rock from Netflix. My favorite is the ep. with Kenneth’s party.

    Jules, I LOVE that angry art! I feel like I want to start doing that at work. You know, just make one and hand it over to the next person who complains at me because our clocks are a minute and a half off their watch or whatever.

    Did you guys watch Obama’s 100th day address? I didn’t watch the whole thing, but I really loved how he was like, “People, wash your hands. No, really. This is how you don’t get the flu. Wash. Your. Hands.” I love when he just tells it like it is.

    My kicks:
    1. The auction to benefit Bridget Zinn (http://bridgetzinnauction.wordpress.com). Can I just say how much it warms my heart to see so many positive responses to a situation that is just so horribly unfair? In the center of it all is Bridget, who is just a bright light of positive.
    2. I am also ALL OVER this bracelet (http://bridgetzinnauction.wordpress.com/2009/04/30/silver-bracelet-by-laura-ludwig-hamor/) and Sarah’s blank book (http://bridgetzinnauction.wordpress.com/2009/04/30/auction-item-2-handcrafted-blank-book/).
    3. Monday was this beautiful, spectacular 80-some degree day here in ROC, so I took my writing group out to the park near the library to do a writing exercise where we wrote about things we were seeing and hearing. It was so much fun.
    4. Wednesday was my seven year anniversary of working at WPL. Huzzah!
    5. I’ve been cleaning up my office at work. My coworkers have been all smiles and support, and it feels good to feel a little more on top of things again.
    6. I had some good days with friends-seeing Wolverine Friday night, going to the Public Market and Free Comic Book Day yesterday.
    7. In general, I feel like some balance is being restored in my life. I am grateful for that.

  3. Adrienne, we have a room of doom. It follows us from house to house, no matter where we move.

    The funny thing about the Angry Art—and its downside—is that she colors so furiously on such tiny pieces of cardboard that she gets black crayon all over the desk she tends to color on, but hey, this is the upside of currently not being able to afford reeeeeally nice furniture. In fact, I decided a while back that, even if we could, I wouldn’t do it now with two young children in the house. Let’s wait ’til the spilling-everything phase passes.

    Anyway, yes, I think adopting Angry Art at work is a brilliant idea.

    The auction rocks. And that blank book. ! It’s beautiful. I hope you win it. Good luck. Looks like you’re in the lead.

    Yay for #7, Adrienne. And I can’t believe that big, hairy spiders and serious devoted spring cleaning didn’t make your kicks-list. Geesh, where are your priorities?

    Jama, your Melissa Sweet interview was a big ol’ treat. And I still can’t wait to see more of her titles, once my library delivers, so to speak. …Mouse Was Mad is very funny. I look forward to your post. Have fun today at the SCBWI get-together.

  4. Eric’s Frankie Pickle series looks fun. I love the new graphic for your site. Ju.les, I can’t wait to share with my daughters the idea of creating “angry art”. Eisha, love the look of the nightstand…simple and fuctional!
    My kicks:
    1. The response to Bridget’s auction. Not only the bidding ( you go Adrienne) but the offers for more things to bid. I cannot keep up! Lots of work to do today when I get home from the coast.
    2. My other kick of the week, spending time in Seaside, OR with my good friends. They are home for the summer from PHX.
    Have a great week.

  5. Oh boy those pickle books are going to be so HOT in my library!! They can’t get enough of good stuff like that. I’m feeling kinda swoony just thinking about it.

    Jules I LOVE the angry art. We are going to do some of that here for sure. Need more black crayons.

    My kicks:

    1. Winter semester is OVER!! Can’t say that loud enough. I think I got an A in both grad classes – which is one kind of huge miracle. Can’t quite believe we made it through this winter and came out looking and feeling so GREAT! Thank God.

    2. I have some framed haiku & photos going up in a local art show this week. If you had to guess which three favorites from April’s Poetry Month haiku posts which would you guess? http://awrungsponge.blogspot.com/search/label/haiku
    I’ll give you a prize if you pick the ones I picked. Hee Hee.

    3.Blueberry muffins, reading Friday Poetry posts, and starting slow on a Sunday Morning. Sharing kicks is a kick in itself.

  6. Jone I am so psyched about that auction too!! You get huge KUDDOS for getting it rolling and keeping it flowing. So much fun to watch!! Now what am I going to bid on today?

  7. Thank you so much for the kind words! The tea party piece was such a treat for me. It’s so much fun reinterpreting other artists’ work, and it’s so rare that I have the time or opportunity. This time around I only had the opportunity, so one out of two isn’t so bad!

    Adrienne – I’m going to be driving right through your neck of the woods on book tour next week on my way from Toronto to Boston. If you were interested in having an event at your library, I could totally pop in on the 11th.

  8. The Frankie Pickle books are already on my to read list. This post moves them up a bit. LOVE the 7-Imps party picture. Eisha, I’m happy that it’s spring there. Spring, in places that have tough winters, is a true gift. Jules, thanks so much for the Booklights love. And I think that “angry art” is brilliant. The poetry images are great, too. As for me:

    1. Obviously, Booklights starting is a big kick. It’s been a long process getting here. But the bigger kick is the wonderful and supportive response from our friends in the Kidlitosphere. (See Jama’s kicks above, for example). Thanks, guys!! It means so much.
    2. And, like Adrienne, I’m also warmed by the response from this community to the Bridget Zinn auction (even if Adrienne and I are in competition for Sarah’s handmade blank book). I’m so impressed by Jone for organizing, and everyone who has contributed and promoted and so on. It’s a wonderful thing.
    3. I stayed up late reading Cassandra Clare’s first Mortal Instruments book. And the real kick is that there are two more already published!
    4. This one is old, but I’m not sure if I ever mentioned it here. Did I tell you guys that I was quoted in Donalyn Miller’s new book, the Book Whisperer: Awakening the Inner Reader in Every Child? This was definitely a high point of my blogging career.
    5. This is a tiny thing, but I got a kick out of it. From his blog, Rick Riordan’s and his family are having their house painted. The color that they chose is called “Zeus”. I love it when life imitates (or pays homage to) art. Kind of like those poem images from Jules above.
    6. I finished season 6 of 24 on Netflix, and have just started The Wire. Recommendations of plot-heavy, non-episodic series welcome. I go through things pretty fast, because I’m on a real exercise bike kick, and I like stories that don’t wrap up from week to week.
    7. I’m sitting in my kitchen, and a rabbit just ran by the back window (this might not be a kick if I had a garden, I guess, but I don’t).

    Happy Sunday!

  9. I am loving the artwork for MY DEAD GIRLFRIEND, as well as the new art on your contact page. Two thumbs up!

    I am very sad that April is over. I had a blast and my only regret is that there were poets I didn’t get to interview. Perhaps I can keep it going with one or two a month.

    Anyway, here are a few kicks.
    1. The gorgeous cardinals eating at my feeder right now, looking up every so often as if they’re looking right at me.
    2. Despite all that’s happening at home, my mother is maintaining a sense of humor, which is a good thing. However, if she calls me one more time to see if I’ve purchased funeral attire (I haven’t yet), I’m going to scream.
    3. I’m still in the mire of grading, but I’m seeing such great projects that I’m actually having fun. There are some might creative young people out there getting ready to teach our kids, and knowing I’ve had a hand in it makes me mighty proud.
    4. I’m watching WISHOLOGY, the FAIRLY ODD PARENTS trilogy with William. So far they’ve paid homage to The Matrix, TLOTR, Star Wars (the original), Terminator, and more. I’m having more fun than the kid, trying to find all the movie references.
    5. Reading THE WITCHES with William. Boy do I love Dahl.
    6. Homemade minestrone soup this week with all the fresh stuff I bought at market.

    That’s it for me. Have a wonderful week, all!

  10. Eric: The first illustration in this post, that of Jenny Wraith, brings to mind Alice (in Wonderland). Therefore, it makes me happy. I clicked into your S&S profile and discovered you too enjoy North by Northwest. Thumbs-up, sir. That is my favorite Hitchcock film! Best wishes with Frankie Pickle. It looks and sounds very cute. Bonus points for inclusion of fairy in both Pickle and Spiderwick. I adore the Spiderwick Chronicles. I’m requesting My Dead Girlfriend from the library now.

    eisha: Please say hello to the flowers for me. I hope you have a day off today!

    Jules: Three cheers for the trio behind Booklights! Yikes (and giggles) to the Angry Art. Please remind me to enter the Free Verse Project, or at least post about it.

    Jama: Hurrah for privacy. Go Linda! I look forward to reading Mouse Was Mad.

    Adrienne: I don’t have a Closet of Doom – I have a closet that’s organized by type (shirts, pants, dresses), then length, style, cut and color (solids in rainbow order, then patterns, also in rainbow order). I’m that obsessive about order! I’m going to post about Bridget’s auction this week. Read CODENAME: WOLVERINE by Christopher Golden.

    Jen: That might have been Peter Rabbit!

    My week in kicks:
    1) Audition (unexpected and wonderful)
    2) Fourth weekend of performances for show #1
    3) Dress rehearsal for show #2 (we’ll have another today, and then we open on Wednesday!)
    4) Vegetarian kugel (my thanks to the chefs)
    5) Mental soundtracks while reading
    6) Belting
    7) Dancing

  11. Hi All,

    As usual, wonderful art is in residence at 7-Imp. Frankie Pickle looks an awful lot like Speed Racer, a cartoon that the husband of one of my friends is crazy about.

    This is a big work day for me (ugh) so I’m quickly dashing off my kicks. Sorry for the short and rather unfriendly post, but time is really limited today:

    1) Went to see a local band called “Luce” last night with my boyfriend – I really LOVE these guys – such happy, life-affirming music. Got to dance (well, flail around and embarrass myself is more accurate) within inches of the band and talked with the lead singer (Tom Luce) afterwards. This is their new website if anyone is interestedin hearing a few tunes: http://www.luceband.com/
    2) Sam Phillip’s May 1st song giveaway – “Was It All In My Head?” YAY! As you know, Jules, I will never be sick of hearing you talk about Sam’s music!
    3) My literacy volunteer work – great group of people and deep satisfaction from helping an adult read for the first time. A very humbling experience.
    4) The Maxfield Parrish exhibit opens this month in Sacramento! Can’t wait to go!

    Back to the salt mines. I hope everyone has a fantastic week!

  12. Eric, I think we would be interested. Send me an email (adrienne.furness[at]gmail.com)?

    Jules, Oh, and I got even MORE stuff out of the basement this morning.

    Little Willow, I love the sounds of that closet. Also, I am *this close* to done with Soulless. That book really zips along.

  13. I am thrilled by the enormous, generous hearts of people, The auction bidding is rapidly approaching $1000. Wowee!

  14. jama, I keep hearing about that new Dylan album too. I’ll expect a full report when yours arrives.

    adrienne, YES, Kenneth’s party! And Carrie Fisher! And the cookie jars! God I love that show. Hey, congrats on your anniversary! And that whole balance thing – how’d you do that? I want some too.

    jules, we have a whole Apartment of Doom. But I’m working on it! Right now! Well, not right now since obviously I’m typing, but I’m just taking a little break, see? Also, I have this fear now that for my next birthday, instead of a colorful finger painting, Piper’s gonna send me a little scrap of black-scribbled cardboard. It’s like her version of putting a horse’s head in your bed.

    jone, thank you so much for organizing the auction for Bridget. You are just so awesome it must hurt.

    Andi, congrats on kicking ass in your classes AND getting your lovely photos and poems in an art show!

    Eric, thank YOU for sharing your stuff with us, and most especially for the new Alice header! LOVE IT! LOVE IT SO MUCH!

    Jen, congrats on the quote! That is seriously cool. And I’ve heard of Cassandra Clare, but not read her yet – I think I’ll just slap her up on the ol’ TBR pile.

    Tricia, why don’t you just promise your mom you’ll call her the VERY SECOND you get your outfit? I’m sorry you’re going through this, but I’m glad you’re managing to keep a sense of humor too. Also, I’m gonna have to look into that Wishology thing. And I’m so glad to hear about how great some of the future teachers are going to be.

    Little Willow, I wanna try that vegetarian kugel. I’ve only had the sweet kind – not savory. Also, as always, BREAK A LEG!

    Jill, my husband put Luce’s “Electric Chair” on a mix for me ages ago, and I’ve meant to look up more of their stuff ever since. Thanks for reminding me!

  15. [Okay, let’s see how fast I can do this… spent waaay too much time on a long blog post of my own today, and now I’ve got just a little window of time before lighting the grill for our dark-mustard-and-brown-sugar cedar-planked salmon…]

    First, LOVE Eric Wight’s stuff, although (as is often the case) it took 7-Imp to introduce it to me. That line — “I’ve been called many things. Treasure seeker. Relic hunter. Grave robber. I prefer… Frankie Pickle.” — honestly made me laugh out loud, so I’ve got to give him props for the writing as well as the amazing artwork. I mean seriously. I wanted to applaud! (But you can’t do that effectively in a blog comment.)

    (Way too often, because it’s the first thing we see, we think of graphic novels in terms of the images. What really MAKES a novel of any kind, though, for any age group, is the story and the writing. And there’s plenty of both story and writing in evidence in EW’s stuff.)

    Before getting into anything kick-y, I’d like to thank Little Willow for her weekly comments here. She’s so darned generous with her time, have you noticed? Always comments on, well, others‘ kicks first, and then sort of tosses off little brief phrases as kicks of her own. (“Mental soundtracks while reading”: zowie!) And since Julrs brought up politics, I can’t think of a better demonstration of what it means to be liberal, hmm? (LW: I hope that doesn’t embarrass you, and if it does I apologize. It just never ceases to amaze me.)

    Eisha, I loved every one of your kicks this week. The last one especially made me smile — the way it turned “beautiful day, stuck inside” into a kick. Now that’s someone with her head screwed on right.

    Jules: (a) The Obama photo: how great that is. One (one!) of those “Is this is great time, or what?” images for sure. (b) [whispering] I thought Sam P’s new(ish) single was terrific. (c) Everybody else has already said how great the angry-art project is; I’ll just concur. You need to make that a movement, not just a one-off project. (Yeah. In all your spare time. :))


    * Cannot tell y’all how wonderful the last weekend in April was for me. My first springtime visit to NJ since 1992. First time I was with nobody but my brothers and sisters — no spouses, no kids — since… uh… forever. And no occasion other than, “Why don’t we do this?” Makes me grin, and chokes me up all at the same time.

    * Derby Day. Okay, grrr, if that frigging horse hadn’t come out of *nowhere* then I would have scored something like $20 out of our enormous Derby-Day party pot, vs., uh… nothing. Still, it’s hard to beat a day with friends and family, copious mint juleps (especially when it’s at your house and you don’t have to drive), and Kentucky Hot Brown sandwiches…

    * Tech stuff I don’t want to detail, except to say Boo-yah! or however that goes.

    * The original Halloween movie, which I (and the Yorkie) watched after The Missus fell asleep.

    * The May issue of Wired, “Mysteries,” with guest editor J.J. Abrams (Lost creator). For instance, did you know about the Georgia Guidestones? Me neither.

    * My mom’s heart attack, which turned out to be not a big deal after all. (Really — she’s doing great. Second opinions and all.)

    * I’m with Jules: the month of May is pretty darned kick-y, across the board. (In Florida, y’know, we look at 6/1 — the start of hurricane season — like the dark spot in the center of the end of the gun barrel you’re staring at. Plus throw in some genuinely gorgeous weather and an anniversary and some other stuff and, well, what’s not to like?)

  16. Adrienne: You must tell me what you think of Soulless. I love it. That book is so meant to be a movie. (Of course, they aren’t allowed to make it one without my consultation and involvement!)

    eisha: ‘Twas my first ever kugel, and ’twas TASTY. It was so sweet of my friend to bring some in for me.

  17. Jone, it’s mighty mighty good of you to be handling the auction stuff. I wish I could afford Andi’s gorgeous quilt as a gift (for a friend — I ain’t birthin’ no more babies any time soon.). $1,000 already=truly awesome.

    ANDI!!! Straight A’s after all you went through this semester?? You. simply. rock. And congrats on the art show. I’ll have to look at your link and do some guessin’ later.

    Jen, congrats on getting quoted in Miller’s new book! I assume that means a review excerpt. Excellent. As for tv recs, didn’t you and I talk about “The Sopranos” once? Didn’t you say you’re not so sure you want to watch it, or was that someone else? That would be my recommendation for what you’re looking for specifically.

    Tricia, ooo! ooo! I should try The Witches with my girls. Thanks for that idea. We’ve read some Dahl, but I didn’t even think of that. …If you did more of your poetry interviews from month to month, as long as you didn’t work yourself too hard, I know you’d make lots of people very happy.

    Little Willow, I think the folks who did the Free Verse Project are no longer taking submissions. I’m not sure about this, but I think that’s the case. I’m confused about who won, as I think there was a first prize, and the site doesn’t make it clear to me, so it’s altogether possible I could be wrong about entries, but I think the deadline was mid-April or something….Glad you had a good week. What is belting? And, more importantly, did you like Lulu?!

    Jill, thanks for the music, good luck getting work done, and you reminded me that I really need to find the literacy volunteer-work phone number I jotted down recently. My uncle does that and also finds it very rewarding.

    Eisha, I’ll make sure Piper doesn’t send you any Angry Art for your birthday. Hey, wait…she never gets angry at you. She thinks the sun rises and sets in you. Only mamas get Angry Art, I guess. And when your birthday *does* come in August, I will FINALLY get that gift I said I wanted to order you BACK IN DECEMBER. I’m just really slow sometimes. The object just screams your name.

    John, AMEN to the Little Willow Ode there! She’s the sweetest person and oh-so thoughtful. Also, happy anniversary in advance! And, whew, so glad your mother’s okay. Sounds scary. And I think a sibling visit is wonderful. I get to see my older brother soon, since my NEPHEW WILL BE TURNING 13 and we’ll be surprising him at a party. I’m screaming this, ’cause I can’t believe age thirteen is here, and I will probably cry.

    The Georgia Guidestones? Gotta read that later. My eyes are crossing now. But thanks for the link and the future read.

    Oh and John, that was a very detailed and thoughtful response to the post for someone who’s in a hurry, but then I’ve already said you’re One of the Best Blog-Readers Ever. No pressure or anything. …Enjoy the salmon.

  18. JES: Good vibes for your mom and happy early anniversary. Thank you for the kind words! We were posting at the same time. I have to catch up on some posts and comments from today. I always want to keep everyone and everything POSITIVE. 🙂

    I’m between theatres right now and need more time that I don’t have… and now I’m cracking up because I’m getting an email from Jules as I’m reading her comments. Are you all watching over my shoulder right now?!

    Jules: I liked Lulu. I want to write a review tomorrow or the next day. I thought I might have missed the boat on the Free Verse Project if it was for Poetry Month (April). Belting = singing style. VOLUME and power and strength. I’m a belter. My voice is bigger than me.

    I’m warming up right now, as a matter of fact. Can you hear me from there? 🙂

  19. Yes, Little Willow, I have eyes in the back of my head, as I tell my girls (which isn’t nice. My fourth-grade teacher used to tell my class that, and it used to freak me out. Probably too old to fall for that, but I was, not surprisingly, a very gullible child)…

    So glad I have one more person in the world to talk with about Lulu. Isn’t it gloriously weird?

    Belting. Now I get it. I couldn’t break away from the notion of the thing that goes around one’s waist, and I was lost.

  20. eisha, The balance thing requires an odd amount of concentration. I doubt I’ll be able to keep it up.

    Little Willow, I just finished Soulless. When I first picked it up, I was like, “But the print is so tiny!” But then I couldn’t stop reading it. I think you should play Tania in the film version.

  21. JES, first off, you are such a sweetie for taking time out of your busyness to kick with us. Second, those Georgia Guidestones freaked me right the &*(^$@# out!!! I’ve never heard of them, but next time I’m anywhere near I’m making a pilgrimage. Thank you for sharing! And third: a few years ago my brother and I traveled to SF, CA to hang with my sister for a few days. It was the first (and so far only) time the three of us ever hung out as adults for longer than a holiday, and it’s one of my favorite memories. We had a blast; sounds like you did too. Yay!

  22. Howdy all again!

    Little Willow – Jenny was very much a love note on Alice. Not sure if you know it, but I was also the artist who designed the proposed Buffy animated series.

    Eisha – You are so very welcome! It’s such an honor to be a part of your site. I’ve discovered so many incredible talents here.

    JES – That’s very kind of you regarding my writing, and I totally agree with you. That’s why I fully script everything before I draw a single thumbnail. It doesn’t matter how pretty a drawing is if the narrative is broken.

    And Jules, I loved the angry art. I’m totally implementing that in my house. Although I have a feeling my daughter’s will still somehow involve sparkles.

  23. I love it that you have different Mad Tea Party graphics. Hurrah for illustrators and their illustrator ways.

    1. It’s been a rocky week on the financial front, with much budget reoganizing and trimming. I am happy to say, however, that we do not owe 9 thousand dollars in back-tax for a 5th tax my husband thought he had to pay for his business but DOESN’T. It’s not a kick in the “I feel giddy!” way but in the “Wow, we could have been so hosed, and we weren’t, praise be” kind of way.

    2. I am thankful for “Was it All in My Head?” by Sam Phillips. I have downloaded it but still haven’t listened to it. How can a person with over 11 days of music in iTunes go so long without listening to recorded music? I’ve been busy.

    3. I just finished a small sunflower doll to put in the auction to benefit Bridget Zinn. I think the doll has a sweet face, and there are ladybugs embroidered all over, too.

    4. My husband was so frustrated at breaking the lid of our sugar bowl (the one with our wedding pattern) that he threw down the bag that held the treat I had brought home for us– a brittle coconut chocolately thing from a new German chocolate bakery I visited on my walk home today. This may not be a kick in the traditional sense of the word except that it helped break the tension that had been building up all week over the financial crisis. I laughed and laughed. And hey, the coconut chocolately thing still tasted good, too.

    5. My daughter’s godfather has a new girlfriend! Okay, he’s playing it cool, but we’re so pleased and hope things work out.

    6. Fog Magic by Julia L. Sauer. It’s a book I revisit periodically. I love fog (as long as I don’t have to drive in it), and I always found a kindred spirit in the main character. The first line: “From the time she was a baby in her cradle, Greta had loved the fog.” It’s a timeslip book, and you can read Charlotte’s post on it: http://charlotteslibrary.blogspot.com/2008/08/fog-magic-for-timeslip-tuesday.html

    7. Knock on wood, throw salt over our shoulder, we’ve not gotten sick from swine flu, even though it’s reached Seattle and our neighborhood. We’re playing it safe but not going overboard in precautions. I just want everyone in the world to be okay. I think we could all still live fulfilling, challenging lives if no one got deathly ill and everyone could live out a normal lifespan.


  24. Oh, I love Frankie Pickle and all the art this week! Especially the art for the upcoming Pinewood Derby – he does look like Speed Racer, and since my BF’s nickname is “Speed” I have a feeling he’ll be getting a copy of that book once its released.

    Late as usual today. Love the Angry Art too. Reminds me of a clothing designer I knew in the Berkshires who taught me that sometimes, “you just have to have days that are I-hate-everything-days. But make sure you do it up, and get it all out so it only lasts that one day.”

    My kicks:
    1. It was a week of ups and downs, but luckily the ups ultimately outweighed the downs. And its over now.
    2. It was a motorcycle weekend. Two of the BF’s teammate crashed Friday(one broke his collarbone), but today, no one on his team crashed. And he finihed in the Top 10 twice! Yayy!
    3. I helped work a corner today for Taste of Racing (its a ride that lets amatuers try riding on the track for 20 minutes with pro riders.) I had my camera and got some good shots of riders (good for me, anyway). They’re over at my place if anyone wants to look.
    4. Reading “Landsman” by Peter Charles Melman. The history and characters are pretty compelling so far.
    5. Watched “Swingers” with the BF for the first time in years (he’d never seen it). Made me miss living in L.A. (ahhh, The Dresden! Swing dancing at The Derby! ) And then I also remembered all the things I DIDN’T miss about L.A., like the dating scene, which made me give the BF a big hug. It was very fun to see all those actors so young and babyfaced, and Jon Favreau’s phone-call-from-hell is so funny/awful/cringe inducing/can’t look away fun.
    6. Spinning class. I am becoming addicted.
    7. The Wire. Watched the final episode yesterday and it was simply perfect. Since I work in public defense, I know many of those characters and that show gets it right on so many levels, and the acting and the writing at times is pure poetry. David Simon (the producer) is now shooting a show in my hometown of New Orleans, and I have high hopes for that one too.

    JES, I read that article last week about the Georgia Guidestones – what an awesome mystery!

    Have a great week everyone!

  25. Eric, I have temporarily banned glitter from my girls’ art boxes after a disastrous glitter accident whose remains are still in our carpet. …The idea of your daughter making Angry Art with sparkles made me laugh very hard, though: “I’m FURIOUS but feeling slightly sprightly.”

    Farida, whew. I’m glad you all avoided that hugely huge bill to Uncle Sam, too. I’d be feeling pretty kicky, too, if I knew that wasn’t in the future. And I’m very glad you all don’t have swine flu. ….Also: I can’t wait to see that sunflower doll.

    RM, I’m glad you tell us about motorcycle weekends AFTER they happen, or I’d worry all weekend about your boyfriend. ….SWINGERS! That movie’s so money, baby, and it doesn’t even know it. …I hope this week is full of mostly ups, and way less downs (or none altogether), RM.

  26. P.S. Eric, I love it when the featured illustrator comes kickin’ with us, too. Thanks!

  27. Eric: I knew I recognized your name from something in addition to MyDGF! Hi there! 🙂 Even more kudos to you, sir.

    Andromeda: I read that as: “Oh boy those pickle boots are going to be so HOT in my library!!” and pictured little animated kids walking around in green pickled cowboy boots. 🙂 Congrats on the completion of your classes and on your pieces in the show!

    Tricia: Hello to the birds. Good vibes to your family. Yum to the soup.

    Jill: Any form of good live performance – music, musicals, theatre, etc – makes me happy.

    jules: You could have eyes put in the back of your head, but it might be disorienting at first. 😉
    I definitely liked Lulu. I was very, very fond of Harry. Do you know if the author has any additional Lulu stories in the works?
    My favorite songs and roles to play in musicals – if we’re talking strictly the music aspect and not going into the multi-layered character/plot/arc aspects – are those which allow me to belt it out. I sing differently for different roles in different shows. After I emailed you yesterday, I sang Jimmy Eat World songs all the way to the theatre. 🙂
    Oh, no! Don’t ban glitter! “I’m FURIOUS but feeling slightly sprightly” sounds like Lola of Charlie & Lola. Love her.

    Adrienne: Woo! Thank you for that compliment! I’m glad that you found Soulless to be a compulsive read, that you couldn’t stop reading AND that you liked it.

    Farida: Be safe when driving in that fog, and enjoy the fictional fog. Be well.

    rm preston: Congrats to your boy on his Top 10 finish, twice! Yikes to his teammates’ injuries. Swing dancing is the cat’s meow.

  28. Hey Jules, I am belatedly checking back in. The section in Donalyn’s book was a reprinting of one of my blog posts, about why you should read children’s books as an adult. It was one of those things where someone asks you for permission for something, and your response is “um, YES!!”.

    I don’t think you talked with me about the Sopranos, but yes, I’ve watched and enjoyed those. So far I’m enjoying The Wire, but I’m only 3 episodes in.

  29. Ha Ha Pickle Boots!!! Those really would be HOT!! The librarians would be fighting for them for sure.

    Thanks for all the nice comments on my semester and my haiku. The answer’s in todays blog post: http://awrungsponge.blogspot.com/2009/05/art-show-today.html

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