7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #138, Halloween-Style: Featuring Howard McWilliam and Pascal Lemaitre

h1 October 25th, 2009 by jules


“‘Listen, Herbert, I’m sorry. I just don’t think this is going to work. It’s nothing personal, but I really need a monster with claws.’ ‘Picky, picky,’ Herbert complained. ‘As you wish. I’ll go.’ There was some more creaking. Then Herbert was gone.”
(Click to enlarge spread.)

Jules: How funny is that illustration? I love it.

Since it’s the Sunday before Halloween, I thought we’d kick today with some illustrations in the spirit of the holiday — with a spotlight on two different books. This above spread comes from Amanda Noll’s I Need My Monster (Flashlight Press, April 2009), illustrated by British illustrator Howard McWilliam, what Kirkus calls “an unusually well done double-debut.” Yup, it’s Amanda’s first picture book — and Howard’s as well, though he’s evidently done editorial illustrations for UK publications, such as The Daily Telegraph and The Week. The book, whose endpapers alone could delight me for hours, is very funny—with tons-of-fun dark and droll humor (two of my favorite kinds of humor, don’tchaknow)—and has been met with good reviews all around. It’s about a young boy named Ethan, who finds one evening a note from his monster under his bed: “Gone fishing. Back in a week. Gabe.” “How was I supposed to get to sleep if my monster was gone?…How would I ever get to sleep without Gabe’s familiar scary noises and his spooky green ooze?” Ethan wonders. Eventually, when Ethan hears some creaking under his bed, he knows the “substitute monster had arrived.” First, there’s Herbert, as pictured above, in his audition of sorts. Even more monsters appear…


“I peeked through my fingers at the slimy tail slithering over the foot of my bed. That’s when I noticed the bow. ‘Are you a girl monster?’ ‘Of course I am,’ she snapped. ‘I’m Cynthia. Do you have a problem with that?’ ‘Um, yeah, I do,’ I admitted. ‘I definitely need a boy monster. Boy monsters are for boys and girls monsters are for girls. Everybody knows that.’ ‘Well, aren’t you a picky one,’ she sniffed,
and then she was gone.”
(Click to enlarge spread.)

…but none of them will quite do and none can quite deliver what Gabe does, one monster named Mack even telling him that perhaps Gabe just left “because you’re SO-O-O picky. Fine. I’m out of here. But I wouldn’t expect another monster tonight if I were you.” Well, little does he know, Gabe does return (and I’m deeply in love with the eye-popping perspective in this spread)…


“Then the bed trembled as Gabe unfurled his spiked tail. He was daring me to guess where he might pop up. I shivered.”
(Click to enlarge spread.)

“I was inspired to write the story, because my three-year-old wouldn’t stay in bed,” Amanda told me. “I remember wishing she had a monster under her bed keep her in bed. Then wondering why the monster was doing such a lousy job (because she was out of bed again!). Then I thought, even monsters needed a holiday and wondered how that would work.” McWilliam’s illustrations were drawn with pencil on paper and then painted with digital acrylic paint. I thank him for sharing some spreads today. And, I have to say—since I like to mix things up at 7-Imp and feature books from as many publishers as possible, both big and small—that this is the first book from independent publisher Flashlight Press I’ve ever spotlighted.

Okay, one more. Remember when Firefighter Ted was here at the end of last month? He sprung from the mind of author Andrea Beaty and was brought to life further at Pascal Lemaitre’s paintbrush. Well, I had these illustrations then to show you, but I thought doing so right before Halloween would be even better. Andrea and Pascal also collaborate on Hush, Baby Ghostling, released by Margaret K. McElderry Books in August, a study in spectral role-reversal, told in rhyme: A wee ghostling can’t get to sleep, his mother putting him to sleep at break of day and telling him to dream of the wild monsters, promising to leave some darkness in the hall, and helping him find his night-time toy, Mr. Bones. I love how Pascal has gone old-skool-ghost on us, depicting the white-sheet-with-holes look, à la Charlie Brown. And I love how his palette lightens from dark blues to light pinks, as the sun rises and the ghostling struggles with his fears.


“So nestle safe beside me in our happy haunted home, and dream a dream of darkness where the wild monsters roam.”
(Click to enlarge spread.)


“It’s late, my dear. The sun is near: Just one last lullaby. I’ll wake you when the moon—once more—is shining in the sky.”
(Click to enlarge spread.)


“Close your eyes and drift to sleep and dream of midnight skies. Of hisses, howls, and screeching owls. Of bats and banshee cries.”
(Click to enlarge spread.)


“What, Baby Ghostling? You’ve had another scare? You’ve seen a boy with ten pink toes, blue eyes, and golden hair?”
(Click to enlarge spread.)

Thanks to Andrea for the spreads. (I can’t wait to see this, her next title.)

Oh, and Happy Halloween to all…Hope everyone celebrates big.

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.

* * * * * * *

I NEED MY MONSTER. Text copyright © 2009 Amanda Noll. Illustrations copyright © 2009 Howard McWilliams. Published by Flashlight Press, Brooklyn, NY. Images used with permission of illustrator. All rights reserved.

HUSH, BABY GHOSTLING. Text copyright © 2009 Andrea Beaty. Illustrations copyright © 2009 Pascal Lemaitre. Published by Margaret K. McElderry Books, New York, NY. Images used with permission of author and illustrator. All rights reserved.

* * * * * * *

Hi, everyone. Jules here. I think I’ll forego the usual kicks this week, except to say that I’m grateful for my family and friends and health.

I graduated (from here) as an undergrad in 1994, and some of my best friends and favorite people were in the class above me — a small group of them, so smart, so funny, each so blazingly original, that I was truly humbled (as cheesy as that sounds) to be their friends. I always rather looked up to them, too, and hung around them whenever I could. One of them died this week. Alone in her home. They think it might have been a heart attack, but no one’s sure at the time I’m typing this. Don’t get me wrong: I hadn’t talked to her since college, other than finding her on Facebook and saying hi. We weren’t terrifically close. But the whole thing has left many of us feeling very sad and shaken. She was too young. She was so kind. Never had a bad word to say about anyone as long as I knew her. She will be missed. The entire thing is a sad reminder of how fleeting life is, and so I’m just, honestly, in a weird, funky mood about it. No matter how much loss a person might go through, something like this is still a stark, fresh reminder of how tenuous life is. And I hold Kathy’s family and friends in my thoughts and send love their way.

I don’t mean to bring the room down. Just being honest. Can’t fake your kicks, if you’re not feeling kicky. You know?

Let’s hear it for some happier kicks this week. Got some?

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27 comments to “7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #138, Halloween-Style: Featuring Howard McWilliam and Pascal Lemaitre”

  1. So very sorry to hear about Kathy, Jules. What a shock to lose someone so young. It’s human nature to take life for granted, and then every so often, something happens to make one realize how trivial some of our own problems are in the greater scheme of things. Life, as you said, is very tenuous — family, friends, and health are huge blessings.

    Thanks for featuring the Halloween books today. I’m especially enamoured with Hush, Baby Ghostling.

    My main kick this week is the good news we got about my mom’s health. She’s an amazing 85-year-old!

    Also thrilled and excited that Grace Lin’s Where the Mountain Meets the Moon was selected for Al Roker’s Book Club. Love that book!

    Have a good week, everyone! ♥


  2. Oh, Jules, I’m sorry. Mourn her as you want to—and everyone that passes far too quickly for our hearts to comprehend. We’ll kick for you, okay?

    My main kick is that my son’s home for the weekend. We made lasagna and watched 30 Rock, and he still gives awesome hugs.

    Also, since I didn’t leave this kick last week: Mother Reader and the amazing way she pulled off KidLitCon 09. Even the “extras” were above and beyond, like our tour of the Library of Congress’s rare book collection. I was inches from a gorgeous illuminated panel of William Blake’s Tyger!

    Plus, tea with Tricia, and seeing friends old and new, and feeling the awesomeness of the Kidlitosphere gathered in one place.


  3. Jules!!! I feel the exact same way. My landlord/neighbor died unexpectedly Wednesday afternoon. (He had kept his cancer a secret from everyone.) Best dang landlord/neighbor I ever had, and I have had a ton. I cried and I thought, “Life is short. What do I do with the knowledge that life is short???” I don’t have an answer yet. :o (

    So some of my kicks are similar to yours:

    1. family
    2. family
    3. family
    4. friends
    5. friends
    6. I just spent the afternoon with an aspiring YA writer. Halfway through the afternoon she just stopped and said, “You inspire me to write. I should see your face every week so that I stop being lazy and write every day.”
    7. manicures

    Jules, I am giving you seven big hugs! * hug hug hug hug hug hug hug *


  4. I’ve been away for weeks and weeks.

    Jules, I’m sorry for your loss. Even if you weren’t close, it’s still your loss.

    I’ve been away for weeks and weeks partly because of this one kick:

    Last Saturday, my sister married a very nice man who loves her very much. So that kept us all kind of busy, over hear. The ceremony was on their front lawn, and it was lovely – everything went just right, in spite of rain that had turned most of the lawn to mud. And my sister didn’t have an anxiety attack, just some little bit of nervousness. Which was a surprise to us all. (I was assigned to keeping her calm. I guess I did okay.) Now she and her husband are away on their honeymoon, and after that they’ll visit my parents and brother, before coming home.


  5. Oh I do wish I had proofread that comment before submitting.


  6. Oh, Jules, I’m sorry for the funk. I think every time a death touches us, it brings back the grief of all our other losses, which just kind of sits there in a box waiting for these occasions. But that grief is important. I read recently in an interview that the subject said (I think it was Don Hertzfeldt, but I can’t find it again–figures) that you have to get to a place in life where you’re grateful for your sorrows. I’m not sure I understand that 100%, but I think he was getting at the idea that if you should be grateful for the capacity to feel sorrow because it means you have also been open and lived fully and felt love. Anyway, that’s something I’ve been thinking about lately.

    On another note entirely, I love the Halloween books. I love Halloween.

    My kicks:
    1. Might as well go with Halloween. I like the spooky decorations and the bowlful of candy on my dining room table, ready and waiting for the big day.
    2.


  7. Oh, no! It submitted before I was ready!

    Sigh.

    Anyway…

    2. I went to see Where the Wild Things Are last night with friends. It was interesting.
    3. On Thursday and Friday, we had a conference here in our library system (Technology and Leadership). It was energizing and inspiring–exactly what a conference should be.
    4. I was on the planning committee for the conference, although I didn’t do as much as other planners, because most of the other people are smarter than me. I am thankful for people who are smarter than me.
    5. I also spoke at the conference, and it didn’t go badly. Whew!
    6. On Tuesday night, I went to step aerobics for the first time in a year and a half. I couldn’t walk much the next day, but boy I left that class feeling completely fantastic. I’m making that a habit again.
    7. My little routines. I am not at all a routine person, but I make my coffee every morning, and I make sure I have playtime with the cats before I go to sleep at night. Those things are good.


  8. Oh, I hope I can find those two books this week. How wonderfully fun. A group of librarians are meeting up at the local B/N store (unfortunately no close indie book store in Vancovuer, WA where I work but the store manger does his best to give us that indie feel. Helps that he is a poet) so will look for the books.
    Jules and Tarie, Sorry for your loss. It is difficult to lose anyone and then to have it happen uexpectedly…not fun for those left behind. Hugs to you both.
    Sara, home cooked lasagna sounds wonderful and how great to have your son home.
    Jama, how lucky you are to still have your mama around and healthy.
    Kimberly, congrats on a ykeeping your sister calm. sounds like a wonderful day.
    My kicks:
    1. Family! Went to dinner on Thursday and then had family photos taken. Dodged the flu for that (kids sick earlier in the week).
    2. Pumpkin chocolate chip oatmeal cookies.
    3. Moved “Check It Out” to http://maclibrary.wordpress.com. Tired of lacking the ability to post pics at edublogs. I used up my space allotment.
    4. Wrote a double dactyl for Tricia’s poetry stretch.
    5. Doing reader’s theater with Sharon Creech on Tuesday.
    6. The fall weather.
    7. Family and friends.
    Have a great week.


  9. Adrienne, that interview about grief sounds really interesting.


  10. Oh, Jules — I’m so sorry. The Missus and I had a wonderful friend who died suddenly and unexpectedly a few years ago. Like Kathy, Andrea died alone at home… I think a great part of my (sometimes vicarious) grief at hearing such stories is that word alone. I’m really, honestly sorry.

    The books this week are especially enthralling, and perfect Halloween choices. I see what you mean by the perspective on Gabe’s unfurling tail; I also like in that illo the faint very faint translucent suggestion of the, uh, the arc of its unfurling. Like it’s being captured in a photo the very last split-second before full, uh, unfurl-ment.

    (The upcoming alien fluffy-bunnies book: oh, YEAH.)

    The little ghostling book made me wonder about a world like that — an Earthlike world whose creatures depended on nightly moonrise to mark the passage of time… I wondered about it because of course the moon doesn’t rise on, like, a useful schedule. Or does it? Maybe they’d think it’s quite useful, and be sort of weirded out by the relative monotony of sunrise.

    Now I’m confused. Thanks. Thanks a lot.

    Kicks were kind of a mixed bag for me this week…

    * Various work-related things, including getting called in as a tech consultant by a couple other departments who have plenty of their own tech resources (so it doesn’t have quite the same feel of They were desperate, so they figured even I would do).

    * Oh! Also work-related… You may remember an anti-kick from me a few weeks back, about a couple of people at work who had me feeling particularly growly and snarly. This week I took an opportunity (which I hadn’t sought) to lay it out for one of them, and — isn’t this small of me, that it made me feel kick-y? — he was positively mortified, embarrassed, apologetic, all that. The next day the OTHER one came into my office, equally embarrassed etc. Both of them swore they’d not let it happen again (well, try not to, anyhow!). Like I said, sort of a cheap and sleazy sort of satisfaction. But the best that could be expected from the situation, so I’ll take it!

    * We finished (re-)watching The 10th Kingdom mini-series, which I exulted about here a few weeks ago. That last hour or so always gets me.

    * News this week of Neil Gaiman’s next project.

    * Online recordings of Wallace Stevens reading some of his own work.

    * But the BIG kick this week — I mean really like one of the coolest things ever….:

    The novel I’m working on takes place mostly in the 1980s. But because most of the characters are elderly, a flashback scene or two returns us to the 1940s. One such scene combines fiction with fact: a night in November, 1942, when a Boston nightclub burned, killing almost 500 people. One of the real-life survivors of that fire was the singer for the evening, a woman whose name I know (and use in the book). She’s not a major character, but I wanted to describe her accurately… but could find not a single blessed thing really useful about her. It drove me crazy, in a kinda unpleasantly OCD way. Especially, I didn’t know what she looked like, how her voice sounded, and so on. It seemed impossible that she should have so utterly disappeared, with no evidence (especially on the all-seeing all-knowing Interwebs, which as we know are always infallible).

    Thus, I had to make up stuff about her. And I recently blogged about the whole experience, saying that I’d had to throw in the towel after all.

    So I just about fell over yesterday when I got a brief blog comment and a long email from the singer’s daughter, who periodically Googles her mother’s name and suddenly had found something new: my post.

    So now I’ve got a start: I know what color her hair was and how she wore it when performing; I know when she was born and died; I know she had a tremendous laugh, and I know what sort of outfit she typically wore onstage. I know a photo exists of her in that nightclub, one week before the fire.

    But dang. Now I almost wish the book were about HER! :)

    P.S. The subject of the daughter’s email message was “Don’t throw in the towel” — ha!


  11. Amanda Noll and Howard McWilliam: Nice to meet you both! I Need My Monster looks very funny. I like the bright colours and the roundness of the boy’s and the creatures’ features.

    Hi, Ghostling!

    Jules: I am so sorry. Whether or not you were still close, the loss of a friend is heartbreaking. My thoughts are with your friend’s loved ones.

    Go Jama’s mom, and congrats to Grace Lin!

    Sara: Enjoy the time with your son.

    Tarie: How incredibly sad, and to chose to keep it a secret – that is one of the most private and painful decisions one should ever have to make, no matter whether one chooses to make it public or private. I’m so sorry for your loss.
    Think of the inspiration you’ve provided for that other writer. That’s amazing.

    Kiba: Welcome back! Best wishes to your sister and her husband. I’m glad that the ceremony went well.

    Adrienne: Did you wear a crown to Where the Wild Things Are? I love routines. Glad that your conference went well on all levels – planning, execution, you speaking – and kudos for aerobics!

    Jone: Hope everyone is healthy and well. Pumpkin chocolate chip oatmeal cookies sound delicious.

    My kicks for the past week:
    1) Celebrating Teen Read Week with readergirlz
    2) Working as a stand-in for a commercial
    3) Being on stage
    4) Scheduling auditions
    5) Hot cocoa
    6) Unexpected compensation as well as free things
    7) Mind over matter


  12. You guys are my Best Thing Ever!

    Jama, seven cheers for your mother. I also heard that news about Grace Lin this week, and it’s wonderful news for her. And such a well-deserved book to be featured.

    Sara, seven cheers for MotherReader, too, for pulling that off. And have a great time with your son at home. I can see how that would be a major, major kick. And what a good mama you are. I have already asked for free tips on raising great children, right?

    Tarie, hugs right back atcha, and I’m so sorry abour your landlord and neighbor. As to what to do with that knowledge you have, I guess keep kickin’ (not as in, come here every Sunday, which I hope you do anyway, but keep looking for the little gratefuls in life and appreciate ‘em when you can, since it could all be over tomorrow. Man, I sound like Oprah now.)

    What a great kick about the YA writer!

    Kimberly, congrats to your sister. Lovely kick, indeed. Good job keepin’ her calm.

    Adrienne, I like what That Person said about sorrows. It’s true, though when you’re in the midst of deep grieving, it’s hard to remember that — but it’s still a great comment. And true. There is a Jane Siberry song with this line (and warning, this is gonna make me sound REALLY talk-show-hosty):

    and every day you gaze upon the sunset
    with such love and intensity
    why it’s…it’s almost as if
    if you could only crack the code
    then you’d finally understand what this all means

    but if you could…do you think you would
    trade it in
    all the pain and suffering?
    ah, but then you’d miss
    the beauty of the light upon this earth
    and the sweetness of the leaving

    Know what I appreciate, Adrienne? Your quicky-zip Facebook-status-line review of WWTA. And any time someone says a movie is “interesting,” you know you’re in for some complexities, huh?

    Jone, thanks for the new link. And Sharon Creech this week? Have fun. Very cool. Oh, and speaking of pumpkin cookies, my husband and I baked pumpkin bread for the first time ever this week. Not bad.

    John, never intended to confuse you, but I love how you think through these books. Congrats on kick #1. That is most excellent. And I don’t think kick #2 is cheap and sleazy in the slightest. What am I missing? You spoke your mind and called someone on a lack of courtesy. Sometimes people need that.

    And oh yes, someone here mentioned a while ago (a reader mentioned, that is) that Gaiman was adapting one of his poems. I also assume it will be a picture book, but who knows. Thanks for the link.

    That’s really fabulous about Nora leaving a comment. At first, I thought you were talking about Tulley Leeson again, and I was all, I’M ON TO YOU, JOHN, but you’re talking about Goody. Keep us updated!

    Little Willow, I always look forward to your kicks and this week I’m rewarded with “hot cocoa” (which I second) and “mind over matter.” All in the same list. Love it. I hope you mind-over-mannered something icky into something sunny.


  13. Oh, and yes, John: It’s very sad to hear someone died alone. Any time. But especially when they have in their life friends and family who love them. And don’t want to think of them going that way.


  14. Actually saw Sharon last Tuesday. Blogged about it.


  15. Thanks, Jone! As I typed over there, it’s rare to find good reader’s theater-type texts, and I must see if the library has this new title.


  16. So sorry about your friend, Jules. How sad! It’s such a wake-up call when something like this happens to someone so young. I received some similar news just last night – someone way too young who doesn’t have much time left. I guess all you can do is try to be grateful for every day that you do have. In that spirit:

    1. KidLitCon was wonderful. (I know, I’m late, but I was still traveling last Sunday). Jama, it was great meeting you, and Sara, good to chat with you again. Jules and Eisha, hope that you can make it next year…
    2. I enjoyed these animals dressed up as literary characters in a New Yorker contest (link from Book Dads).
    3. I bought Halloween candy this week.

    OK, that’s all I can muster up today. But I do wish you all a family and friend-filled week.


  17. Jen, I never thought I’d see a cat dressed up as Arthur Dent. That’s a first for me.

    I hope you have a good week, too. Sorry about your sad news.


  18. Jules, I am so sorry your college friend died. It’s always stark and fresh.

    1. I was glad to meet the YA author Justine Larbalestier last Tuesday.

    2. Yesterday, I was in a storytelling workshop with Nancy Mellon and Ashley Ramsden from 9-5. The workshop was based upon their book Body Eloquence: The Power of Myth and Story to Awaken the Body’s Energies

    3. Today, I’m in a storytelling workshop with Nancy Mellon from 9-5. The workshop is called Storytelling With Children, based upon her book by the same name.

    4. The family is going to Santa Fe, New Mexico, for Christmas. (The airline has already changed the flight schedule, prompting me to dream up a blog post called, “If I ran my storytelling business like an airline company.”)

    5. I’ve gotten some special orders for my wool felt mini-Nativity sets.

    6. I finished my School Library Journal book review on time.

    7. My 6 year old daughter got her first library card last week. At New York Public Library, every child would take the library pledge after signing his/her name in the library pledge book: “When I write my name in this book I promise to take good care of the books I use at home and in the library, and to obey the rules of the library.” While this library system doesn’t have that pledge, I still had my daughter say a version of the pledge. I’m hard-core.


  19. jules: Thanks! The ick is/was the sick. Getting better every day.

    Jen: I am easily and highly amused by cats in clothing. Thank you.

    Farida: Oh, yay! Obtaining your first library card is a momentual occasion for a young reader.

    I had an audition this morning which went well. I’ll know by tomorrow whether or not I was cast by whether or not they call me.

    I was offered a spot in something (don’t flip out yet – it would be a one-of-many type of thing, but still, very cool), responded with a yes as soon as I got the message, then was told they might have filled the role already and that they’d let me know when they knew. As this something would film tomorrow, I hope they let me know soon. It’s been an hour since that last response, so I don’t know yet and I’m going bonkers. Aah.


  20. And now I know. Even though I’d confirmed my interest in the project, the spot was given to someone else. Sigh.


  21. Farida, I love that you made her say that pledge. It’s a wonderful idea. Hope the workshop went well.

    Little Willow, a). Sorry you’re still sick. Blech. b). Sorry they didn’t cast you. Their big loss.


  22. Jules,

    I’m so sorry to hear about the death of your college friend. I found out last week that another one of my good friends–someone I’ve known since high school–was diagnosed with cancer. That makes three of my dearest friends with the dread disease–all of them wonderful people. I’ve been most fortunate in my life to have exceptional individuals as close friends.

    MY KICKS

    1. On Thursday, Grace Lin and I went to the Wellesley Booksmith in Massachusetts to hear Mary Ann Hoberman and Linda Winston talk about their exceptional new poetry book THE TREE THAT TIME BUILT: A CELEBRATION OF NATURE, SCIENCE, AND IMAGINATION. After the book signing Mary Ann invited Grace and me to have dinner with her and Linda. Great food and fine company–what could be better?

    2. Saturday night, my husband and I went to a wine tasting dinner with two of our best friends. It was an all German food menu. Again great food and fine company.

    3. Today Mike and I went to spend the day with my daughter and her fiance–and their dog and cat. Mike baked three different types of lasagna–including eggplant…my favorite. I made the Caesar–and Sara baked an apple pie. I also whipped up a couple of batches of mojitos. Great food and fine company once more.

    I’m sorry that I missed the Kidlit Conference this year. I had hoped to go. I’ll be traveling down to Philadelphia instead for the NCTE Convention in November. I’m planning to attend the Poetry Party for Lee Bennett Hopkins. Some of my favorite children’s poets will be there–including Janet Wong and J. Patrick Lewis.


  23. Hello all,

    Sorry for the late kicks, but I just got back from an all-day book fair. Jules, again, I’m very sorry about your friend, and for Tarie’s friend. All the more reason to be grateful for our loved ones and to tell them how we feel as often as possible, and to connect and communicate.

    My quick kicks:
    1) In the spirit of friendship, I wanted to share this video, which many of you may have already seen, but it’s worth a repeat viewing (and JES, even though it’s focused on friendships between women, it’s also about friendship in general, so I hope it comes across that way to you): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u_4qwVLqt9Q
    2) Helping the Blue Star Moms with their holiday care package drive for our deployed troops overseas.
    3) The Golden Gate Book Fair (first annual, and hopefully there will be many more): such fun talking with book dealers who have become my friends over many years of book hunting and bibliomania.
    4) The Lloyd Cole concert on Sat. night: he was kind of a “new wave” icon in the 80′s, so it was great fun to see him all these years later, singing his hits sans The Commotions, with just a guitar as accompaniment.

    I may not know all of you personally, but I wish you a week full of friendship, kindness and love.


  24. Jules & Tarie – so sorry for your losses. Having been through both sudden losses and the ones that happen over time – they both suck, but the sudden ones somehow knock the wind out of you a bit more. Sending you thoughts of healing.

    Jone – any chance you’d share that pumkin chocolate chip oatmeal cookie recipe? Yum!

    JES – that is amazing that the woman’s daughter contacted you and got you more info – yay internets and universe for getting that to you!

    Little Willow – sorry you didn’t get the gig, but here’s to the next one coming your way!

    My kicks:

    1. Hiking in the Oregon outdoors in fall sunshine.
    2. Pumpkin carving party with friends tonight.
    3. Geting talked into playing indoor soccer this week with friends/co-workers. I haven’t played soccer since high school, and never played indoor before – holy cow what a workout! Played my second game in a week today and now I’m hooked. I also am walking very slowly cause I’m so sore, but it’ll pass.
    4. Started reading The Garden of Last Days by Andre Dubus III and its compelling so far.
    5. Synchronistic and similar dreams.
    6. Long phone conversations with faraway friends.
    7. Heading to L.A. this week for a vacation trip to hang out with 4 great girlfriends. I am excited for the fun, the friendship, and the perspective.
    8. Words of encouragement from all over – including right here at 7 Imp! You never know how much good a well-timed “hang in there” really does. Trust me – it does a lot. : )

    Have a great week everyone! Since I’ll be gone next week, here’s an early Happy Halloween!


  25. Elaine, “I’ve been most fortunate in my life to have exceptional individuals as close friends.” I love that. Me, too! Speaking of, holy crap, that video Jill shared made me cry.

    Elaine, what a good week. Your kicks are always so rich, full of good friends and food. I’m so sorry about your friend.

    Jill, thanks for that video. Did you hear me blubbering? What a good weekend you had, too. Glad you weren’t stuck inside working instead.

    RM, I like kick #6 (and had one of those with Jill this week!)…Thanks for the book-related kick. I’m always looking for recommendations for adult fiction and might pick that one up.

    Have a great trip this week! That sounds like it’ll be a lot of fun.


  26. I’m coming by extra late this week to catch up on everyone’s kicks. And for lovely illustrations of course.

    I’m sorry about your college friend, Jules. Along with so many people here I understand the sadness even a distant death can bring. I hope the week is treating you well.


  27. Hi, Emma. Thanks! Hope you are having a good week.


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