7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #133: Featuring Elizabeth O. Dulemba

h1 September 20th, 2009 by Eisha and Jules

“Hugo didn’t hear the rest. He wriggled free and took off running. But now he had, ‘I’m out, so you are in’ stuck in his cabeza. And he still could not remember what his mother wanted him to buy at el mercado.”
(Click to enlarge.)

Jules: Blogger, illustrator, and first-time author/illustrator Elizabeth O. Dulemba is here this morning to tell us about the picture book she’s just written and illustrated, a bilingual title called Soap, Soap, Soap ~ Jabón, Jabón, Jabón. She’s very psyched about this and has embarked on a blog tour to talk about her excitement. The book, available as all-English or bilingual, takes this classic Appalachian Jack tale and gives it a new, contemporary, Spanish twist. The story now takes place in a small town with a protagonist named Hugo. I’ve got a bilingual copy and some spreads to share from it today. If these colors don’t wake you all up this morning, I don’t know what will.

Cover art; click to enlarge.

Here’s Elizabeth to tell us more about it:

* * * * * * *

When I was a little kid, I loved getting muddy. Scratch that: I still do. Of course, the bubble bath afterwards isn’t bad either. But it’s funny that somebody, at some point, had to teach me about cleaning up after getting dirty. (It’s not intuitive.) But I think it’s part of why I’m getting such a good response to my first picture book as both author and illustrator (just took seven years), Soap, Soap, Soap (and the bilingual, Soap, Soap, Soap ~ Jabón, Jabón, Jabón)! It will be officially released September 25th, 2009, but it’s already been picked up by the Alliance Theatre’s Teaching Artists program, and bookstores are selling it to teachers by the bucket-loads (per my publisher’s book rep) to tie in with hand-washing or general hygiene instruction in their classrooms. Ironic, considering I never intended that to be a main feature! I was just trying to tell a good story.

“Hugo was near the playground when he slipped in a puddle of mud. KERSPLOOSH! His slide through the charco de barro surprised Hugo so much that he forgot what his mother wanted him to buy at el mercado.”
(Click to enlarge.)

Soap is my second book with Raven Tree Press; the first (I only illustrated) was Paco and the Giant Chile Plant (2008). Happily, my publisher was so pleased with my work (it won a Moonbeam Children’s Book Award Bronze Medal) {that} they wanted more. And, since Paco was an adaptation of Jack and the Beanstalk, the groundwork was already in place for another Jack tale (which I have a thing for anyhow).

(Click to enlarge.)

The original version of Soap is inappropriate for modern audiences, and—while there are many adaptations out there—it’s still a lesser-known tale. So, it was a challenge to write, but I love the general concept of the story — the remembering and forgetting wrapped up inside a crazy adventure. That’s where I got to play. The best part was, since my publisher specializes in bilingual picture books, I had the privilege of sharing the story with a multi-cultural audience for the first time.

“Hugo was still repeating ‘lo siento’ when he passed Señora Soto on the sidewalk. She had dropped her grocery bag and now the eggs were broken. Huevos oozed everywhere. She overheard Hugo saying ‘lo siento’ and blamed him for the mess. ‘Joven,’ she said, ‘young man, I’m out of eggs, so you are in…'”
(Click to enlarge.)

I placed the story in a rural “Anytown” setting (although I think of it as middle Georgia — I live in Atlanta). Since it was modern day, the star from Paco didn’t fit, so he became Hugo (named after my little cousin Hugh, a.k.a. “Hughlito”). The setting presented some challenges, too. Originally, I saw it in olive greens, wheats, and oranges. But since I had to include so many indoor bathroom scenes (glaring white tiles), I needed to adapt the palette for consistency. It became much more colorful with strong greens and blues, yellows, even some reds. I drew most of the elements by hand (pencil on paper)—higgeldy, piggeldy all over the pages—then scanned them into my computer to create my compositions in Photoshop. I rendered in Painter. I also pulled in some textures for the grasses, bricks, and mud. That was fun to experiment with, and I hope to do more of that in the future. In the end, it looked very different from what I expected. But that’s nothing new. I rarely know what something will look like, once my hand is done with it.

“When Hugo returned home, his mamá was happy to see him — but not the mud.
‘¡Por Dios! My goodness!’ she cried. ‘Hugo, you’re a mess! You need an un baño.
It’s no wonder we use so much soap!'”
(Click to enlarge.)

As a creator, I never feel like my work is complete until it’s being enjoyed and interpreted by its audience, and I’ve been thrilled by the reaction to Soap. I figured the embedded Spanish, light graphic-novel format (for reluctant readers to segue into graphic novels), and touch on bullying would be a pull (those I did on purpose), but I never considered the muddy-to-clean part. Duh! My story has grown legs! It’s out in the world now, making its own path, and it’s an exciting time. (And the rubber duckie has become quite the sidekick!)

I’m having a blast marketing Soap, since with this book I’m leaning more on technology, the Internet, and social networking. I created an e-galley for librarians, teachers and reviewers (send requests to elizabeth at dulemba dot com) and my first book trailer, which you can see here. Two years ago, I started making coloring pages available as free downloads from my blog for teachers, librarians, booksellers, and parents to share with their kids. Since then, the collection has grown quite large and Coloring Page Tuesdays has become a huge part of my online presence. People sign up to receive weekly alerts, and my subscription numbers have gone through the roof. Of course, I’ve been talking about Soap quite a bit lately and offering give-aways, too! On the non-techie side, I’m speaking at four festivals this Fall (which I love) and doing some panels. Between those and this fantastic blog tour, I’m feeling like Soap is off to a GREAT big ‘ole SUDSY start. Yay!

“…where she made him scrub, scrub, scrub with jabón, jabón, jabón!”
(Click to enlarge.)

Thanks for having me on Seven Impossible Things Before Breakfast!

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Best of luck to Elizabeth with the book. Don’t miss the mud pie dessert and mud pie cookie recipes here at her site. Mmm. That’s my kind of educational outreach.

As a reminder, 7-Imp’s 7 Kicks is 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.

* * * * * * *

Soap, Soap, Soap ~ Jabón, Jabón, Jabón copyright © 2009 by Elizabeth O. Dulemba. Published by Raven Tree Press, McHenry, IL. Images reproduced by permission of the author. All rights reserved.

* * * Jules’ kicks * * *

1). I heard Mary Oliver read some of her poetry at Belmont University on Thursday night. She was wonderful. I even got to speak to her, though very briefly.

2). Two great friends and former colleagues from Knoxville came to middle Tennessee to attend that reading with me. We had great conversations all night, including over dinner after Mary’s reading, about books and poetry and music and education and writing and so on. One of them, Rachel, crashed at our place and spent the next day with me and my three-year-old.

You know how you have those rare friends who are superb conversationalists, excellent listeners, and fun-and-smart-as-all-get-out so that everything they say interests you and you feel like if you were stuck in a room for seven thousand years together with no chance of ever getting out you’d still find stuff to talk about the entire time? That’s Rachel. I’m gonna steal Pascal Lemaitre’s wording and say that Rachel is a sun. (Shannon, too, but you know…I’m singling Rachel out, since we got to talk for much longer. If only Shannon could have stayed…)

3). Speaking of great friends: My dear, dear Jill (one of our consistent kickers, too) saw Sam Phillips live last week way over on the West Coast where she lives, sent me an autographed concert poster (see left)—oh! as well as a little Alice music box she had picked up for me!—and gave me the super-special low-down on Sam’s plans for new music. Why, yes, of course I’ve already signed up.

4). Elbow. Elbow. Elbow. (For which I also have Jill to thank.) I know, I know. I mentioned them last week (and, you know, the week I first found them and showed that video with the beer-stine percussion), but this CD is seriously SERIOUSLY good. I’ve been listening to it so much that my girls are now walking around singing the songs. My husband put it best when he said the songs give him goosebumps as he rides into work, listening. Yeah. That. They’re all goosebumps-inducing and will raise the hairs on your skin.

This here below is my new favorite Happy Song (“Throw those curtains wide / One day like this a year would see me right”) — and love song. No one writes love songs quite like Guy Garvey:

I promise I won’t mention them again after today, or you may get Elbow’ed out.

* * * eisha’s kicks * * *

HEY! You wanna piece of me, Abe? STEP UP. My one big kick this week is that, after a month of feeling like the Lincoln exhibition I’m helping coordinate was kicking my ass… this week I finally felt like I was kicking back.

* * * * * * *

That’s it for us now. What are YOUR kicks this week?

31 comments to “7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #133: Featuring Elizabeth O. Dulemba”

  1. Here are my kicks:
    1. Monday, I attended a board meeting for an arts organization, and we actually decided some stuff and got things done. That happens so rarely at meetings that it’s pretty amazing when it does.

    2. On Tuesday night, I met with a group for a project we’re presenting this week, and they were wowed by the Powerpoint I’d put together for us to use. (It really wasn’t a clever smokescreen to cover up how I hadn’t finished my research. Really…)

    3. On Wednesday night, I wrote a paper that was due Thursday morning. It looks like procrastination, but I’d been doing research, taking notes, and outlining for two weeks. Which made the actual writing go really quickly. And I feel the paper is pretty solid. And as part of the research process I found out why steam technology never took off in the Roman Empire!

    4. On Thursday, my sister came over and I tried on my dress for her wedding and it’s lovely (needs a tiny bit of alteration) and we made banana bread.

    5. My husband’s brother is the guitarist for Who’s Bad, the Ultimate Michael Jackson Tribute Band, and they had a hometown show Friday night. We went and my sister came with us. I’d been wanting to take her to one of their shows for a while, so I was happy she came. (Staying out until 2 am after a concert though is really not my thing.)

    6. Yesterday I saw “Extract,” which is a cute movie. In the middle of the film the projector stopped working and it was a long time before management got it fixed and when they did, they’d gone too far forward, past where we left off, so we missed a few scenes. But the whole experience was rather hilarious, so that’s good.

    7. Today I am going to do laundry, and clean clothes smell nice.

    Cross-posted to my blog here.

  2. Elizabeth, I *just* had a teacher in the library this week looking for books to tie into her hand-washing/hygiene unit for elementary school students, so this is timely.

    Jules, Mary Oliver. Jealous.

    eisha, It seems wrong to encourage you to kick Lincoln’s ass, but ROCK ON! You gotta do what you gotta do.

    Kimberly, Your #1 made me laugh–so true about meetings.

    My kicks:
    1. Monday night, I did a presentation (on homeschooling–do I speak of anything else?), and no one threw anything at me during it or when it was over.
    2. Of course, the computer I was using to show my PowerPoint decided to go right ahead and shut down to do some updates in the middle of my presentation. You have to have a sense of humor about these things, and thank heaven I know my material, so I was able to just keep talking like nothing was going on.
    3. Ooo, oo, and the librarian from the local science and history museum attended the workshop along with an intern, and they invited me to their library, which I’ve never seen. They apparently want to do some outreach to homeschoolers. Fun, fun!
    4. On Tuesday, we did our first library program for homeschoolers this year and had 20 kids in attendance. My goal was 15, so this was excellent .
    5. On Thursday afternoon, I did an after-school library skills class, the first of a five-part series on finding nonfiction. It was so much fun. We talked about the 900s, and I had the kids make maps of the Children’s Room. Those wonderful, bright children loved making their maps–I loved how much they got into it (and I worked on a map, too!).
    6. Yesterday, I got my first apples of the season. I love apple season. I may make applesauce.
    7. This week, Lucas and I have been reading the first Harry Potter out loud to each other in the mornings before school. There is no better way to start the day. The story is engrossing even though we both know it, the language is fun to read, and we stop periodically and discuss where various plot details and people wind up through the series. Lucas makes some really astute observations about characters and motivation, too. This all brings me great joy.

  3. Wait! I’m taking 8 kicks this week because thanks to Jules, I am now also the proud owner of A Birthday for Bear, which I’ve read five times already.

  4. Jules, funny story. Last night I saw the Mary Oliver post on FB. I got all excited about where on Belmont she was speaking UNTIl…I relazied it was a totally different state. Lucky you.
    Eisha, how exciting for the exhibit and how tiring at the same time…I can relate to big projects like that.
    Kimberly, the concert sounded like serious fun.
    Adrienne, congrats on a great presetation, sound like people really enjoyed it.
    My week began sad: the loss of my cousin(who I had just seen in April, 51, massive heart attack, the loss of an uncle like family member, 89 (just saw him 8 weeks ago), and of course, Patrick Swayze (gotta rent Dirty Dancing and Breakpoint).
    My kicks were getting to go to Idaho for the funeral and be with “family”, it was a cellebration of this man’s amazing life.
    Sharing my father’s letters from when he lived in Idaho with this family at age 17. They were a big hit!
    Meeting a woman who dated my father in 1940.
    She was mentioned in the letters.
    I am now going to transcribe the letters (ink is beginning to fade and I was to preserve the history, dig up some of the photos of that year and create a book for me)
    Coming home with green tomatoes to make green tomato relish.
    Meeting with the fifth grade teachers this week and find out we are on the same page for instruction.
    Oh, and the NFPB panel for the CYBILS should be announced soon. I am exciting to be the organzier.
    Have a great week.

  5. Jone, Might you be willing to share that green tomato relish recipe? I have a quantity of green tomatoes in my backyard.

  6. Certainly, Adrienne, there is a bit of by guess and by golly in it…hope you don’t mind. I will email later today.

  7. Good morning, everybody. 🙂

    Soap/Jabón: cool-looking book! I confess I have a knee-jerk reaction — skepticism, bordering on outright disbelief — to anyone who tells me they make their art digitally. (It’s hard for me to imagine that if their claim is true, the work could possibly, y’know, live.) But the digital artists you feature here have put a huge dent in my doubt, and these spreads from Elizabeth Dulemba’s work are prime examples. A case in point: look at the full-size enlargements of the cover art from both the Soap and Paco books — look at the fingernails. I have no idea if the covers as well as the interior spreads were created digitally, but there is no way the software includes a “dirty up the fingernails” filter in the one case, or a “break and split and make all jaggedy-looking the fingernails” in the other. Sweeeet!

    Jules: You know how crazy — subtly — I am about Mary Oliver; that would have been my #1 kick, too.

    And y’know what occurred to me while watching that Elbow video? (Which I loved, btw. I see another Jules-made-me-do-it Amazon Downloads visit in my future.) This may be a coincidence, and it may be a stretch, ’cause it’s based on one video and certain other, um, limited evidence (your FB album of the Gulf Coast vacation a while back)… but it seemed to me that lead singer (Guy Garvey?) looks an awful lot like, uh, well… Blaine?

    Eisha: adrienne’s comment above about kicking Lincoln’s ass cracked me UP majorly, so I’ll just second what she said.

    (Oh, and also add: the comic-book cover was a masterful addition to your kick. Is that cover part of the exhibit? For anyone who wants to see the full-scale thing, you can find it here.)

    Love everyone’s kicks so far. Any cynic who thinks kidlit nerds must lead uninteresting lives should be tied to a chair and force-fed a couple of 7-Imp’s Sunday comments sections.

    Some kicks of mine:

    * Finally saw District 9 yesterday and wow is all I can say. WOW. Definitely not a feel-good movie (though the ending is sorta-kinda “hooray for the heroes”). But I agree with a recent New Yorker review which concluded something like: after you see D9, unlike with other summer-blockbuster films, you don’t leave the theater feeling cheated and foolish for having spent the money; you leave the theater feeling shaken and ashamed. Again, those aren’t sentiments you traditionally “hope” to feel after leaving a film. But it was more thought-provoking than any movie I can remember having seen in a loooong time.

    * But also saw (FINALLY) Coraline. Not in 3D, alas. Still, as a kick, it’d have to be up there in my list for any week — it’d have been first this week if not for D9.

    * My writing sessions this week were filled mostly with research. Which is sort of a kick in its own right; I love doing research. But I have to say, the reason I’m listing it here is that it finally ended, enabling me to finish at least drafting that chapter. (Which, as such things often go, meant discarding explicit reference to 90% of the research uncovered — but makes the chapter weirdly convincing just for having soaked the writer’s brain so much.)

    * I barely know Helen Couchman, the artist/photographer in question, but love the idea and execution of her recent book, called Mrs West’s Hats: sixty self-portraits of her wearing selections from her (late?) grandmother’s huge collection of hats from the 1930s to the 1950s. Self-portraits, I’m not generally a fan of — they’re usually like some of those really godawful music videos of, like, hair-rock bands which consist of black backgrounds against which the singer sings, soulfully (and noisily) while pretending to look up and to one side, and pretending not to be playing to the camera. But the few samples I’ve seen from the book didn’t strike me like that. Here‘s the book’s “home page” for anyone interested in more info. (Again, disclaimer: I really don’t know Couchman, but I helped her with some research after a mutual friend put her in touch with me.)

    * Re-reading an old unpublished article I wrote about the invention of those little translucent-plastic double-ended-T-shape thingums used for fastening price tags to items for sale.

    * Coming home to a lawn freshly mowed by somebody other than yourself, even if you did pay him to do it.

    * Homemade brownie sundaes.

  8. Far-too-fast fly-by — I’ll catch up later, but I wanted to say hi quickly before rehearsal!

    My kicks from the past week:
    1) Offer
    2) Auditions
    3) Monologues
    4) Timing
    5) Butterflies
    6) Chance
    7) Smiles

  9. LW…love the one word kicks…an inspiration for next week!

  10. Yay, I made JES laugh!

    I also enjoy Little Willow’s one-word kicks.

  11. Kimberly, your sister’s getting married right after you? That’s pretty great. And I haven’t heard of Extract or District 9, which John mentioned. I need to get straight on my movies. I’m always a few years behind. Case in point, though this is a show and not a movie: We’re just starting Season 2 of Mad Men.

    Adrienne, apples! My mother-in-law keeps buying us some reeeeally good ones from a Nashville market she frequents. And have you seen Eden Ross Lipson’s Applesauce Season with illustrations from Mordicai Gerstein? I’m going to share some art from it if I can ever get around to getting questions off to Mordicai, who agreed to an illustrator interview. I need to do this. (Any big huge Mordicai fans want to join me on this?) Anyway, I bet you’ll like that one, Adrienne.

    I love reading about you reading with Lucas, ’cause reading with my girls is truly my favorite thing ever.

    Jone, Mary was fabulous. Someone asked her about her relationship with God and how it seems to have changed over the years in her poetry, and her answer was beautiful. I had a question for her, and I was about to jump up to the mic and ask, my heart thumping from nervousness, but then they stopped the Q & A session.

    Jone, so sorry to hear about your losses. 51? Too young to go.

    John, I’m with you on the skepticism about digital art, but I’m also with you on how some visitors to 7-Imp help dispel my skepticism.

    And, yeah, I guess Guy favors Blaine some — or vice versa. When I told Blaine you said that and that I agreed, he said that’s really where he’s going every day — instead of going to fix computers for Bridgestone, he’s flying to England to make music and, I guess, bang some beer stines around.

    Helping out on research for Mrs. West’s Hats sounds like fun. Thanks for the link. Will go explore.

    Little Willow, re butterflies: My five-year-old keeps walking around saying the Spanish word for butterfly and singing a song about it: Mariposa. (Did I get it right?)

  12. P.S. I enjoy Little Willow’s one-word kicks, too (and didn’t she do a one-word kick for each day of the week once?), and I always say I’ll try to be that economically-worded one Sunday, but I can never quite pull. it. off.

  13. Jules, your visit with friends sounds perfect. I love talking and talking with friends.

    I’m joining the chorus of cheering on the ass-kicking, Eisha!

    Kimberly, I laughed at your first kick too. Unfortunately I didn’t get to experience that one last week!

    Jone, I’m sorry to hear about your cousin and family friend. I’m glad you got some joy out of visiting with your family, and the transcribing the letters is a great idea!

    Adrienne, morning book conversations sound like the perfect way to start the day.

    JES I haven’t seen Coraline yet, but I’ve heard good things about it from lots of people. I’ll add it to the list!

    The one word kicks say so much, LW!

    1. I AM GOING TO BE AN AUNT! My sister (the one who got married earlier this year) is expecting a baby next year!
    2. We had a lovely sunny Sunday walking around Cambridge with friends from Ireland and Bristol today
    3. We had a fun dinner with friends during the week (goodbye dinner, unfortunately, but they are moving to Bristol which isn’t too great a distance to visit).
    4. As I popped in late to exclaim last week, I got my visa (and thus passport) back from the government! Hurrah!
    5. And when I madly rushed off on holidays when it arrived everyone was so delighted for me at work that I remembered again how lucky I am to have such a nice workplace.
    6. Now I have my passport back I have booked accommodation for our Ireland holiday with mum (who arrives Tuesday!), and I got a few places on special at great prices.
    7. My no-knead-keep-dough-in-fridge bread making is going very well. I accidentally bought a 52 inch rather than 52cm pizza peel to assist in the baking process, but besides that small (well, tall) mistake I am regularly making yummy crusty bread now.

  14. Lovely art. William has long been a fan of Elizabeth’s weekly picture downloads.

    My kicks for the week include:
    1. I’ve been … drat, can’t tell you yet! Okay, let’s just call it a cool secret that will be spilled soon.
    2. My son’s new bookshelves and his ultra clean and very cool room. In his words, “It’s awesome!”
    3. This week’s Poetry Stretch Results for prefix poems.
    4. Poetry Friday — still an inspiration
    5. Breakfast out this morning with son and hubby (who finally had a weekend day off).
    6. Picking up a huge stack of books at the local consignment shop, including some 2009 titles! How do people part with books?
    7. The copy of SILKSINGER sitting on my desk. I can’t open it until all my papers are graded. Thankfully, it’s providing a great deal of motivation!

    Have a good week all!

  15. Happy Kickin’ Sunday, everyone!

    I’m so full of gratitude this week, that I think gratitude itself should be my first kick. Have you noticed how being grateful leads to more things to be grateful about? Sometimes I forget that.

    Speaking of gratitude, thank you for listing me as one of your kicks, Jules! That made my day. I’m so happy that we can share our Sam-fan-dom, and I’m so grateful for your friendship. So glad you like the poster and the little 7-imp music box.

    Eisha, I have to second Adrienne’s ass-kicking comment – that was priceless!

    Kimberly, I went to my first adult literacy board meeting on Mon. night, and felt the same way you did – they actually accomplished things, AND managed to eat dinner within an hour and a half.

    Adrienne, you make your job sound like so much fun – I’m jealous. I’ll bet you are fabulous at it.

    Jone, so sorry to hear about your losses, but how wonderful that you were able to share your father’s letters.

    JES, I trust your movie taste and will check out District 9. LOVE the link to Mrs. West’s hats – what a beautiful homage to her grandmother and such an original artistic expression! And homemade brownie sundaes sound delicious!

    Little Willow, what perfect kicks! Smiles and butterflies…

    Emmaco, congratulations on becoming an aunt!

    My kicks:

    1) Gratitude.
    2) Jules sent me 5 CD mixes this week. FIVE! Four of them were songs from the Goddess of Music, Sam Phillips (rare versions of various songs, interviews, and hard-to-find music in general -WOOT!), but the best one was a mix of her brother Donnie’s beautiful guitar playing. I’m still in awe of that one. Thank you so much, Jules!
    3) I applied for my business license on Friday, so progress is slowly but surely being made.
    4) I went to the Sacramento Antiquarian Book Fair yesterday with my boyfriend. Other than Sam Phillips concerts, book fairs are my favorite events, and this one was wonderful. Note to Jules: they had a first edition Sendak of “Where The Wild Things Are” for $20,000. Yes, that was twenty thousand dollars. Needless to say, I didn’t buy it, but I did covet it.
    5) Just received “The Best Is Yet To Come” Cy Coleman tribute CD, containing songs performed by Sam, Patty Griffin, Fiona Apple, etc. Really good! Here’s a link: http://www.newwestrecords.com/cy-coleman-tribute
    6) This video from an independent book store in San Francisco. Sorry if any of you are Kindle fans, but I loved this: http://www.greenapplebooks.com/cgi-bin/mergatroid/index.html

    Have a great week, all!

  16. Tricia, we must have been typing at the same time out in cyberspace. I also have no idea how people can part with books – my books rule my house, and I only live here with them.

    Jules, one more thing – would love to hear Mary’s answer to the questions about God. Do share.

  17. Emmaco, congrats! Aunt-hood is the best. Your job as an aunt = to corrupt the child. And that is just fun. May I come over for bread? So happy to hear you had a good week. Ireland: I’m jealous.

    Tricia, can’t wait to hear your super-special secret! Also: I missed Poetry Friday while being busy this week, and I feel like there’s this big hole in my week.

    Jill, how is the new Cy CD? You had one really kickin’ week, I must say. Good, in particular, to read #3.

    Here’s what Mary Oliver said about God: First, we were in a Baptist church, and it was WILD to hear her talk about her partner, Mary Malone (to whom she’s dedicated many books), and how hard her death was on her and NOT see people get uncomfortable, even though we were in a Baptist church. Not picking on Baptists here, but it’s just a fact that they usually don’t condone homosexuality. The church seemed to be filled with Oliver fans who had no problem with this.

    Anyway, someone got up and asked her to talk about her relationship with God, since it seems to have changed over the years in her poetry. I noticed some people in front of me rolled their eyes, as if they thought this was some Bible-pusher or something, but I thought to myself: Hmmm, I’d LOVE to hear her talk about that, though it’s certainly a tough question.

    So her totally short and grace-filled answer was that when Molly died, she certainly turned to….hmmm…don’t remember her exact word here (and it makes a difference)…was either “the church” or “religion” or “spirituality” for guidance and healing. But then she added that the less organized it is for her, the better — that this has been her growing feeling over the years. It almost seemed as if she stopped herself from saying “organized religion,” but it’s certaintly what she meant. And she said that what she does worship is The Ineffable, which is what God is, isn’t it? Beauty, nature, the ineffable. And she closed by saying something like she does feel for those who have no spirituality in their lives, as it makes hers better. That she feels perhaps they are missing something.

    Oh and yes, Jill, Adrienne is fabulous at her job. She’s probably tired of me saying that all children’s librarians should be as devoted as she is.

    Jill, HA! That video. I’ll put it here, too, so that maybe more people will be drawn to it and watch it. I mean, HA again! I love that kid’s fake crying.

  18. Kimberly, I would like to decree that from here on out every week SOMEBODY needs to include a kick that mentions an Ultimate Tribute Band.

    adrienne, I felt a little weird about kicking Honest Abe’s ass, too, but for real, he had it coming. Congrats on all those excellent programs, you library dynamo.

    jone, so sorry for your losses, but that does sound like a beautiful experience, getting to immerse yourself in that part of your father’s life. and i, also, am intrigued by the green tomato relish.

    JES, no, the comic isn’t part of the exhibit, but that cover is now my computer desktop image at work. Also, you pretty much sold me on D9. Congrats on the successful research/writing combo.

    Little Willow, congrats on the offer – whatever it was!

    jules, that’s quite the compliment for Blaine. Guy Garvey is THE HOTNESS. And I agree, I can’t seem to go more than a day without listening to that album.

    emmaco, HA! The thought of you shoveling bread around with a 52″ pizza peel cracks me up. Congrats to your sister, and to you – aunthood ROCKS.

    Tricia, you tease! That’s okay, we can wait. And you’re gonna love Silksinger.

    Jill, that video is the bomb. Thanks! And congrats on the business license, and at least getting to drool over the WTWTA 1st ed.

  19. Oh yeah, I didn’t even mention the uber-expensive Where the Wild Things Are. I would have loved to have seen it. Better yet: Afford it.

    eisha, let’s have an Elbow-listening party one day. Guy Garvey could write a love song to, I dunno, a green olive, and I bet it’d be beautiful. P.S. Blaine totally just ordered the CD that comes before “Seldom Seen Kid.” I’ll report later, but I expect it to…I dunno…KICK ASS.

  20. JES, I finally saw Coraline too! I had my doubts in the first 10 minutes, but was on-board by 20 minutes. I’m looking forward to seeing District 9.

    My kicks for the week:
    1. Voyage to the Planets and Beyond is THE solar system mockumentary I’ve been waiting for since the eighties. I remember watching Cosmos and seeing glimpses of Sagan’s vision of other planets without much in the way of detail. Voyage to the Planets is what the television show Defying Gravity is based upon, except that Voyage doesn’t waste all that time with the relationship bruhaha and gets to Venus in the first half hour. (There’s no annoying Beta to detract from the wonder of speculative science.)

    2. CDs from Jules.

    3. Go to Etsy.com and look up the seller Indres. I crave one of those felt willow trees.

    4. Sunshine-y days amidst the rainy ones.

    5. Anticipation of my cousin’s October wedding.

    6. Health.

    7. Love.

  21. I LOVE Paco and the Giant Chile Pepper and can’t wait to see Soap! Soap! Soap! in hardcopy. I’ve become a huge “E” fan.

    Eisha – Glad to hear you’re kicking back.
    Jules – I’d kill for an hour with two of my friends like that.

    Little Willow – “Offer.” Congrats …

    My kicks.
    1. I’ll second Jill on the gratitude. It was a week of solo parenting, and I made it through just fine.

    2. The Vols played hard ’til the end at the Swamp yesterday.

    3. Catherine’s babysitter of her pre-preschool days stopped by to spend a couple hours with her. Oh-so-fun to watch them reconnect.

    4. Celebrating 19 years of wedded bliss!

    5. Getting a temp gig on Booklights.

    6. Seeing MotherReader in Choice Literacy this week!

    7. An incredible, beautiful, crisp Autumn Saturday with nothin’ to do but enjoy it.

    Sign me … inconsistent but loyal!

  22. Farida, this mockumentary sounds terrifically interesting. Something else I haven’t heard of.

    Cheers to kicks #6 and 7.

    When I looked up “Indres,” I got zero results. What am I doing wrong?

    Terry, congrats on the temp gig and surviving solo-parenting. And happy, happy anniversary!

  23. jules, oh yes PLEASE tell me all about it.

    farida, let’s talk about how awesome the phrase “the solar system mockumentary I’ve been waiting for since the eighties” is. REALLY FREAKING HILARIOUSLY AWESOME.

    Terry, woo! 19 years is quite a feat – congrats! And yay for the beautiful Saturday – hope there’s plenty more where that came from.

  24. So glad to be getting back into a routine after a wild August and first couple of weeks of September…..my kicks:
    1. A RIF Board meeting that was actually stimulating thanks to the presence of
    2. RIF’s Literature Advisory Board (LAB) meeting with the policy Board. The LAB is a great group of academics with such passion, genuine experience and lots of knowledge to share.
    3. Met and blogged about a terrific school librarian in DC, Frances Evangelista…every child should be so lucky to have a Frances the Librarian.
    4. In catching up on some blog reading saw a book on that intrigues me “Four Pictures by Emily Carr” by Nicolas Debon. Must do more research.
    5. Reflected as I began to organize some pictures of my stay in Croatia; what a great time I had there!
    6. Participated in a school district literacy festival in South Carolina…lots of parents and children out a week ago Saturday.
    7. Football in full swing and WNBA finals approaching, wa-hoo!

    Have a great week, all!

  25. That bath, those bubbles, and that cute yellow rubber duckie are simply amazing – can’t wait to see all of Soap!Soap!Soap!

    Jules – hooray for time spent talking with good friends.

    Eisha – kick Abe’s butt!

    LW- Offer? Congrats!

    Terry – congrats on 19 years – that is wonderful!

    Jone – so sorry for your losses. Re: Patrick Swayze, Kim Hunter over at sunsetgun wrote a very nice memorial tribute.

    Since its late and I’m flying by for quick kicks today, I’m going to try to take a cue from Little Willow.

    1. Dogs grinning.
    2. Sun shining.
    3. Napping.
    4. Walking.
    5. Talking.
    6. Cuddling.
    7. Hoping.

    Have a great week!

  26. Just to emphasize, for those of you thinking of seeing District 9: there IS some of “the ick factor” to get past — surgery, wounds, and so on — as well as a certain amount of explosions, violence, the threat of violence, and individual and societal cruelty. Some moviegoers are “better” — i.e. more practiced — than others at turning off their compassion filters. So if you go, you may need to prepare yourself to do the plug-your-ears/turn-aside thing. I’d hate for anyone to see it based on my rec, thinking it’s all philosophy and dramatic tension.

    But if you can get past the nasty bits…

  27. Carol, the LAB sounds great, and I’d like to be a fly on the wall when they meet and talk.

    RM, it can be assumed that “napping,” if I ever get to pull it off, is a kick for me. Weekly. Sounds like you had a good week.

    Thanks for the heads-up, John.

  28. Congratulations to Elizabeth!

    It seems I’m always a day or two late with my kicks. I do have a good excuse this time–and it’s the reason for one of my kicks.


    1. Yesterday, my husband and I drove down to the New Britain Museum of American Art in Connecticut. Wendell Minor and his wife Florence had invited us to the opening reception for the new museum exhibition “Wendell Minor: Reaching for the Moon.” It was a gorgeous exhibit of Wendell’s picture book art. I really loved the wall with all the wooden signs he painted for for his book YANK DOODLE AMERICA.

    2. I bumped into picture book author/illustrator and friend Barbara McClintock and her handsome son at the museum. That was a happy surprise. I also had an opportunity to chat with author Rich Michelson.

    3. On the way home to Massachusetts, Mike took me to Rein’s–his favorite deli/restaurant. We got the overstuffed Reuben sandwiches. They were SOOOO good!

    4. Last week, after months of experiencing writer’s block, I got a new idea for a poetry collection using some poems from one of my unpublished collections. I’ve already written a dozen new poems. What a relief! I love it when I’m in an inspired writing mode. It’s so much fun to create new poems.

    4. Our favorite restaurant–the place where Sara’s going to have her wedding reception–was closed for more than two months for renovations. It reopened last Wednesday. Mike and I had dinner there with Sara, her fiance, and two of our best friends. The restaurant looks beautiful–and there are some delicious new dishes on the menu. sara and I got the gnocchi with wild mushroom sauce. YUMMY!

  29. Elaine, rockin’. What a good bunch of kicks. Congrats all around, and we love reading your kicks, even if they’re late.

  30. Go, e! That image of Hugo in the bathtub is so wonderful! The joy on his face…Great job!

    And I’m just so jealous over the whole Mary Oliver reading. Thanks for sharing parts of it.

  31. Eisha, it’s definitely a laugh-worthy situation. I nearly hit my partner in the head with the end of it in a slapstick comedy manner recently. I am planning on cutting it down once I find someone who owns a saw (I seem to have a lot of unhandy friends) but in the meantime it’s come in handy in strange ways – I carried a spider to safety on it the other night!

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