7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #140: Featuring Peter McCarty

h1 November 8th, 2009 by jules

This above is one of my favorite illustrations from 2009. (Later in this post, I’ve got the entire spread from which it comes, since you just have to see that, too.) On that bus is one of my favorite characters from 2009, too, the monster of Peter McCarty’s Jeremy Draws a Monster, released by Henry Holt in September. He’s pictured a bit closer up—BOO!—to the left here. Anyone else seen this title yet? I’ve been sitting on these illustrations for months now, hoping that McCarty would stop by for one of my illustrator-interviews, and holding the illustrations for that. But I’m thinking at this point that he’s maybe swamped — but can perhaps stop by one day later. I hope. I’m a fan, particularly of his Hondo and Fabian books, which are a big, big hit in the Danielson household.

Jeremy Draws a Monster is an odd, little book. And you know I like my offbeat picture books. What we’ve got here is a little boy, who lives on the top floor of a big, tall apartment building and who never goes outside. Then, in the spirit of Harold, he draws a monster one day…

Immediately, the monster—without saying so much as “hey, you”—demands that Jeremy draw him a sandwich. “Arrgh…I’m hungry!”


Well, he continues making demands: He likes toast, so he wants a toaster; it’s too quiet, so he needs a record player; he likes to play checkers, so “draw me a checkerboard!”; he wants to watch the game and needs a television; and, since “somebody might call,” he needs a telephone. Jeremy whips up all these things with his pencil, including a big pink hat: “Are you going to sit there all day? Draw me a hat. I’m going out!”

Jeremy’s relieved when he leaves — only to hear banging on the door later. “The monster had returned”:

So, you guessed it. Jeremy draws him a suitcase and a bus ticket:

And, here for you to click on and enjoy up close and in detail, is the full spread I mentioned at the top of the post. I love this spread. Click to enlarge:

In the end, Jeremy joins the other kids outside.

“With simplicity and quiet depth, a boy creates a challenge and meets it, ” writes Kirkus. What McCarty does with his pen, his watercolors, line, ample white space, composition, and what one reviewer once called his “whispery” style of illustration speaks volumes about the loneliness of Jeremy — a loneliness he manages to eradicate by taking charge of his own creative impulses. Best of all, as the School Library Journal review pointed out, “both story and illustration leave lots of room for speculation and discussion.” That reviewer also noted McCarty’s end papers and how children will pore over them. I found myself doing that. I love these. Here’s a portion of one. Which are Jeremy’s drawings? Which are Peter’s? I love how McCarty messes with us:

I gotta see him in that hat one more time, before we all start kickin’. How ’bout you?

JEREMY DRAWS A MONSTER. Copyright © 2009 by Peter McCarty. Published by Henry Holt and Company, New York, NY. All rights reserved.

* * * * * * *

As a reminder, 7-Imp’s 7 Kicks is a 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. New folks are always welcome. Please, come kickin’…

* * * Jules’ kicks * * *

1). My girls are taking an art class every other weekend. This weekend, the kids learned briefly about Jackson Pollock and then went outside on a beautiful, warm Fall morning to action-paint. Interestingly enough, my youngest found the idea of spontaneously dribbling or flicking paint onto a canvas to be altogether preposterous. This is the same child who colors ever-so carefully within the lines. The oldest child flicked and dribbled and splashed and smeared with abandon.

2). I went this week to this fabulous East-Nashville art gallery for the first time ever to see an exhibit of works (“Proto Pulp: Classic Books of the Future”) done by local, aspiring children’s-book illustrators. I should say I barely made it: I was there on the last day during the last hour the gallery was open, but I’m so glad I went. I saw some great stuff and talked to the gallery owner about perhaps featuring some of those illustrators’ work here at 7-Imp in the future.

3). I went with an old friend, and we went to get coffee afterwards. I could talk to her forever, even if we were distracted by kids we had to wrangle a lot. Oh, and my oldest daughter went with me, too. Just me and her on a date. Our own day out. Hadn’t done that in a while.

4). This drawing my five-year-old made. Can you tell what it says?

5). You should read the emails between me and Eisha. Nope, you shouldn’t. They might scare the uninitiated. We have fun with creative cursing. You know how you can talk trash with your really great friends and they know you’re not serious? And you know how they’re few and far between? Yeah. That. This week, she came up with my new. favorite. bad. word. ever. I nearly wounded myself laughing. Sorry, but I can’t even repeat it.

6). I edited the “About the Blog” page (and the ones under it) here at 7-Imp to reflect my new reality of solo-blogging. I didn’t want to do this so soon. But my fingers were about to fall off from explaining to folks who emailed “Dear Eisha…” or “Dear Eisha and Jules…” that Eisha had stopped blogging — folks, that is, asking about review copies, etc. I hope I edited well.

7). Regretsy, which Eisha’s Poet-Upstairs friend emailed to me and Eisha this week. (Must give credit where credit is due for the good finds.) I mean, really. I’m still laughing about this.

What are YOUR kicks this week?

39 comments to “7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #140: Featuring Peter McCarty”

  1. Love your artsy fartsy kicks this week, Jules. And the art featured here too, as per usual.

    1. U2! A total spectacle, as expected. For real fangeeks, my review might be interesting…not for anyone else, as I spent way too much time mulling details nobody else would care about.
    2. Vancouver! Aside from the concert, we spent four days in The Big City (for us, it’s big). They’re hosting the Winter Olympics in a couple of months and there’s some real buzz. Beautiful city, although I was very happy to get out of it in the end. Photos here
    3. Healing! My poor thumb lost the cast and the pin a few weeks ago — in a couple of days the last stitches and button go away and then I’ve got to get it mobile again.
    4. Exclamation marks!
    5. Kale and chard — ours keeps growing despite frequent frosts. So nice to still be picking handfuls for cooking.
    6. Local apples and apple juice. ’tis the season and we filled the last remaining spaces in our freezer with juice from our neighbor.
    7. New viola, which should arrive in a few days.

    Have a great week, all.

  2. Happy Sunday!

    Jeremy Draws a Monster is adorable, especially the sandwich spread :)! And Regretsy? Who knew?!

    So jealous you got to see U2, Jeremy. Thanks for the review!

    A few kicks:

    Going to Sara’s booksigning today! Can’t wait!

    Saw “This is It” yesterday. Wow. MJ draws from such a deep well of emotion when he sings and dances — it’s such a spiritual experience for both audience and performer. I was saddened anew that we have lost such a gentle genius.

    All the World is a NYT Best Illustrated Book — and it’s going to be in Cheerios boxes! The accolades keep coming, and I’m so thrilled for Marla and Liz.

    Have a good week!

  3. Happy Kicks This Moment:
    The first frost!
    The first kale!
    The sun is shining despite it being 36°!
    The nearness — just within tasting reach — of the end of my novel, huzzah!

    Jules, your kids continue to crack me right up. I Pollack’d some kitchen chairs once, and it was fabulous. And your oldest’s Halloween message: I LOVE IT: Be terrified. Very terrified. That girl has the spookies DOWN.

    I love that McCarty bus – it’s very Magical Mystery Tour, with all the little colored stars. I like that Jeremy went outside, too, in the end. Sometimes our imaginations crowd us right out the door.

    Back to the pile of Cybs books. Happy Sunday!

  4. Regretsy? I love you. You validate my fear of crafts.

    And woo-hoo for ALL THE WORLD, in Cheerios and on the NYT Best Illustrated Book list!

    Book signing today! Can’t wait to see Jama and my other friends who will keep me from sitting alone at the lunch table. 🙂

    More kicks: my son’s boat got a silver medal in their regatta yesterday in Chattanooga. (Name of the regatta: Head of the Hooch—not sure that’s the best name, but there you go…)

    And since it’s arts day at 7-Imps: Operation Yes made Booklist’s Top 10 Arts Books for Youth 2009. Go, ARTS and YOUTH!

  5. Jules,

    I love the art from Peter’s new book!

    I was “vary” terrified on Halloween myself!

    I see your two little girls have different personalities–at least artistically speaking. My sister and are complete opposites–both in looks and personality.


    1. My daughter went to Mexico for a vacation last week–so I got to babysit for her cat Rudy. He is the cutest, gentlest, most affectionate cat. And he is definitely agile! I was sad Sara came to pick him up yesterday.

    2. We had the fall dinner meeting of our reading council last Wednesday. Melissa Sweet was our featured speaker. She did a fabulous presentation! She’s very engaging. I could have listened to her speak all evening.

    Jama, I hope I have an opportunity to meet Sara some day.

    Tanita, Happy Reading!

  6. Kicks? Oh, thank you for asking, because this morning the sun rose such a brilliant red-orange. I ran out in bathrobe to take pictures, but all I got were flashy glazy blurs. Of course. Some things must be left to words and imagination.

    Jules,I liked hearing about your Pollock-method-scorning daughter, as mine also was a please let me color within the lines kind of girl. She’s an art history major now, doing PR internships; loves hanging out with creative sorts, but she herself wants proper haircut and no baggy, paint-stained clothes.

    I’m finishing putting some of what I do in a semester of teaching children’s literature into an hour and half powerpoint talk for seniors; just in time, so I can go to the R. Michelson gallery for their twentieth annual children’s illustration show. Art, hugs, gossip, food. And beforehand I’m walking up the street to the Smith College museum gift shop where I remember seeing colorful scarves for my friend who’s about to get minor surgery done. And whose clothes are of the dark sort: she needs to kick it up this November!

    I, too, am cheering for all the good news of Jeremy Draws a Monster, Operation Yes, and All the World. Also apples and kale.

    And the stack of pages I’m revising from is smaller.

  7. That bus, reminds me of Little Miss Sunshine…what a darling book. I like the offbeat as well.
    Jules, just how terrified were you? Love it! We played hide and seek at my house last with oldest grand girl. Hilarious! And regretsy? LOL!
    Jeremy and Tanita,I made sausage kale soup yesterday.
    Sara, wish I could be at the signing, I tried to find your book at the local book warehouse on Friday for my fifth graders and they were out!
    Jama, so want to see “This is It”.
    My kicks:
    1. I am going to work with the high level fifth grader readers in literature study groups. Exciting and terrifying all at once.
    2. My oldest grandgirl (almost 5) has a new word: “sensational”. She is senstational. Had fun with her last night.
    3. My youngest grand girl was over last night as well and at 13 months, it is so fun to see her becoming a little person. So sweet and so different than her older sister (who is in Hawaii with dad, her other grandma and having the time of her life).
    4. Sausage, Kale, lentil soup and pumpkin pie.
    5. The weather…stormy more than an inch of rain dropped.
    6. The CYBILS and thearrival of books at my doorstep for the CYBILS…phemonenol selections in NFPB this year.
    Have a great week.

  8. Ooh, Peter McCarty! LOVE. “Whispery” is a perfect adjective for his illustrations. And I, too, love that bus. It totally IS Magical Mystery Tour, Tanita. Or possibly The Who’s Magic Bus.

    Jules, thank you also for the link to that art gallery – it introduced me to Duy Huynh. I mean, did you see THIS? Lordy. I am in love.

    My kicks:

    1* I also went to an art museum. I attended the late-fall reception at the Johnson Museum with a good friend and another friend of hers. Wine, cheese, jazz, art, and good company. It was fabulous.

    2* At said reception, I was introduced to the art of Peggy Preheim. Fascinating.

    3* I read Stitches by David Small. Mercy. It is every bit as intense and amazing as people have been saying. It makes me appreciate his alternately hilarious and poignant picture book illustrations all the more, now that I know how much darkness he carries.

    4* I’ve fallen completely in love with two new bands. The first is the Avett Brothers, whose album I and Love and You has seen me through some dark moments over the past couple of weeks. Check out the video for the title song:

    5* The second is Delta Spirit. Their album Ode to Sunshine has seen me through some serious need to get down with my bad self over the past couple of weeks. See their (senselessly hilariously violent) video for “People C’mon” here:

    6* Jules is too modest. She totally won our little email obscenity contest. She called me something I absolutely can’t repeat here, but I’ll tell you it had the word “wad” in it, and it made me pee-laugh.

    7* Still have so much Halloween candy left over, I’m leaving little wrapper trails everywhere I go.

  9. It’s SENSATIONAL (that’s for you, Jone) to wake up to your kicks this morning, you all. Yes, kick #8: I got to sleep in. With kids, this is always a major feat, when it happens.

    Jeremy, I look forward to reading your concert review. I’m very glad, but jealous, you went. So glad to hear your thumb is healing (especially since I’ve been swamped with something lately and haven’t been able to visit your blog to find out if you’re thumb’s okay). New viola!! That warrants many exclamation marks. I’m thinking we need to start saving our money up for the oldest to perhaps play violin/fiddle.

    Jama, give Sara a hug for me. I’m also very excited about All the World’s great news and success out in the world. Well-deserved.

    Yes, Tanita. Seven points for deciphering Piper’s message: Be terrified. Very terrified. I cracked. up. when I read that. …Action-painting kitchen chairs sounds fun. I reeeeally wanted to flick some paint myself, but the whole event was for kids. …Glad you have sun, Tanita. My, it sounds cold, though.

    Head of the Hooch? That is also sensational! Sara, I wish I could be there today. And I forgot you had a fear of crafts, and you made me laugh outloud. As for the Booklist Top Ten list: CONGRATS! again. Dude, I should have made a list of links today. I was about to — seven links about things that happened to other great people or seven great posts. Next week, maybe I will: SEVEN SENSATIONAL LINKS.

    Elaine, Melissa sounds great. I will always remember Jama’s great interview with her, AND she will be stopping by 7-Imp, too, soon. Probably by year’s end (which, amazingly, isn’t that far away).

    Sorry you had to give Rudy back.

    Jeannine, I always love reading your kicks. They’re like poems. …I wish, like your daughter, that I was studying or had a degree in Art History. I was surprised that the four-year-old responded this way, as she’s normally the wilder of the two. But she colors in the lines with SUCH CARE, while the older sister practically scribbles, that I guess I should’t be surprised. No amount of coaxing from me could get her to action-paint. She said WHY? WHY DO THAT? IT’S NOT PRETTY!

    Have fun at the children’s illustration show. How much do I wish I could be a fly on the wall there?

    Jone, SENSATIONAL kicks. Good luck with the literature study groups. They’re in good hands. …So glad you had one-on-one time with the youngest granddaughter.

    Oh Eisha, I have had on my mental to-do list to listen to the Avett Brothers, based on your recommendation. But have I yet? No. So, thanks for the videos; I’m about to go watch both. (I’ve been wearing out my Andrew Bird CDs a friend gave me; you and Jill L. were right about him). …I don’t even remember the “wad” word, ’cause we came up with SO MANY great ones in that email thread.

    Wow, Peggy’s stuff is very intimate. Thanks for the linkage.

    Listening to the Avett Brothers now….aaahhhh. (The ads that run on the bottom just said “Blaine Jobs.” Huh? They watching me?)

  10. Jeremy Draws a Monster seems AMAZING.

    Jules, I too love your artsy fartsy kicks!

    Jeremy, a new viola? That is awesome.

    Jama, you’ve made This Is It sound intriguing. I wasn’t interested, but after reading your kicks…

    Tanita, I’m sending good vibes and well wishes for the end of your novel.

    Sara, congratulations!!!!!!!

    Elaine, lovely fall dinner meeting.

    Jeannine, have fun at the children’s illustration show!

    Jone, have fun with the literature study groups and Cybils reading!

    Eisha, I am jealous of your art museum time and Halloween candy.

    My kicks:

    1. I am going to be an aunt!
    2. I am going to be an aunt!
    3. I am going to be an aunt!
    4. I am going to be an aunt!
    5. I am going to be an aunt!
    6. I am going to be an aunt!
    7. I am going to be an aunt!

    My older brother’s fiancee is pregnant. Can you tell that it’s the first baby in the family and I am excited? LOL. I’m already thinking of books to buy my little niece or nephew. :o)

    Bonus kick: Three-cheese pizza cooked in a brick oven and sangria. Both so good that they made the world stop spinning.

  11. Lovely to read everyone’s kicks today. Just returned from 5 days with my mom. It was a bittersweet visit, as we just marked the 6 month anniversary of my father’s death. So, not feeling very kicky, but happy to have spent time with her and happy to now be home.

    Have a great week all!

  12. Congrats, Tarie. Lucky little one to will land up with a cool aunt like you.

    Eisha, I’ve been loving the Avett Brothers too…especially that song in the video. Rich, warm goodness. Thanks for the tip on the Delta Spirit.

    Jone and Tanita, we could start a 7-Imp Kale Club! That’s a serious niche interest. Might be tough to recruit new members.

    Jules, the thumb is ok, but I still have almost no movement in the joint, which is a concern. It does seem to be improving, though. The new viola is a bit of an experiment — an odd 5-string I ordered from China — could be ok or a total dud, and definitely not the really nice instrument I should probably be saving up for instead. And although I strongly encourage anyone to try the violin, be prepared for some pretty ugly noise over the first few months — it’s difficult to get over that first hump when things start sounding somewhat musical. But I bet your eldest would enjoy trying. Rent first…

    Sara, I hadn’t encountered your books before — they look wonderful…just ordered Operation Yes.

  13. Oh I’ve loved Peter McCarthy since Hondo and Fabian.. looking forward to getting Jeremy Draws a Monster.. sure my preschoolers would love it too!

  14. Jules, like Tanita, I love your daughter’s Halloween message. I love the mere idea that even though she can’t quite spell it, a five-year-old is using the word terrified. Not scared, but terrified. Sounds like someone who’s been read to. And kudos to Sara for Operation Yes and to Liz for All the World. I love seeing my friends’ book babies well-received. And congratulations to Tarie. Being an aunt rocks! It’s one of my very favorite things. Here are a few kicks:

    1. We had a little party yesterday celebrating my company’s 10-year anniversary, and it was quite festive. Plus there was both chocolate cake and brownies. Can’t go wrong with that.
    2. I won a signed copy of Diary of a Wimpy Kid from RIF last week.
    3. People are filling out the KidLitCon survey, for which I am grateful. We’re getting some helpful feedback so far.
    4. Cybils reviews are popping up all over the place.

    And that’s all I can scrape up this week. Happy Sunday, all!

  15. Happy Sunday, everyone!

    Jeremy’s monster has to be the cutest one I’ve ever seen — I kept expecting him to say “boo?” in a shy, tentative sort of way. Not sure that was Peter’s intent, but it made me smile.

    Jules, your girls are certainly lucky to be taking those art classes. Pollock!

    Eisha, thank you for the amazing musical links! I must find out more about both the Avett Bros. and Delta Spirit. “I and love and you” made me tear up (for some reason, that’s been happening a lot this week).

    Quick kicks on a busy Sunday:

    1) Having a lot of work: both a blessing and sometimes a curse. Too much work knocks me so far off balance, it takes awhile to find my way back. Still leaning to one side…
    2) Helping the Blue Star Moms with their donation drive for care packages to our troops deployed overseas. We raised over $2500 yesterday and got TONS of great stuff. Lots of generous people out there, particularly considering the bad economy.
    3) Speaking of generosity, a friend gave me access to his entire CD collection online (which I can download at my leisure), and there are so many CD’s that I just sat at my desk with my mouth hanging open in astonishment. Incredibly nice of him.
    4) This is kind of a kick, I guess: the adult literacy group I belong to is having a fundraiser at all Barnes & Noble stores across the U.S. on Tuesday. If any of you would be so kind as to buy books or other items at your local B&N and give the following code to the cashier, a portion of the proceeds will go to Project Second Chance: 10040467. This doesn’t work online, unfortunately. Here’s a link about it (sorry, it’s a long one): http://www.nextreads.com/display2.aspx?SID=1e8d447e-5379-4465-8a6a-8aacdc26f734&N=231596 Thanks!

    Have a happy week, everyone!

  16. Tarie, congrats again! Aunt-hood is the best, ’cause you get to corrupt the child (if needed) and then give him or her back.

    Sangria. Mmm.

    Tricia, so sorry about a hard, hard anniversary. Glad you got to be with your mom for that.

    Jeremy, five-string. Excellent. Keep us updated. Hope you get that joint movement soon. Thanks for the violin tips, too. What *I* want is a piano, but we have no room for one. Nor could we justify spending money on one now, what with student loans.

    Meg, I know! Isn’t Peter great? I hope he surprises me and sends interview responses soon anyway. I’d love to show way more of his art.

    Jen, cake and brownies sound like just the right way to celebrate something at work.

    Jill, thanks for giving us that link! That’s an impressive total, too, for the Blue Star Moms drive. Congrats!

  17. Jules, that note is so cute! I mean, terrifying. And I think it’s so great how you encourage your children to be creative with art classes, gallery visits etc.

    Jeremy I never thought of freezing fresh apple juice. Yum.

    Congratulations, Tarie! I am expecting to become an aunt for the next time in April and am very excited too! And not just because of the extra book shopping

    Hurrah for the 7 imp kale club! Even though I only tasted kale for the first time last year (none of my Aussie friends have even heard of it) I am now a fan. Well, I’m saying that at the start of winter, I remember by my zillionth veggie box bag of it earlier this year I was ready to move on.

    Eisha I love that Avett Brothers song. Thank-you for the rec.

    1. My friend had her baby boy! They are both healthy and happy.
    2. I sent a letter to an editor of a magazine whose editorial annoyed me. I often think about sending letters but it’s rare that I actually do. It made me feel less cranky!
    3. I was obviously having a feisty week, as I argued with train company about my train fare (for a holiday next year) doubling overnight due to a problem with their computer system, and ended up having them agree, which saved us money.
    4. We went to a party in London last night, so went down early and spent the day traipsing around. We finally visited Hyde Park (think I have been to everywhere on the outskirts of it but never into it!) and acknowledged that Connie Willis was right to make fun of the Albert Memorial. It is indeed scary.
    5. Joining in the whole art theme of the kicks today, we also visited the small but lovely Cortould Gallery
    6. The party itself was great fun. Interesting conversation, nice food and I didn’t look too dowdy considering I ended up putting warmth ahead of style!
    7. We have stew in the slow cooker to go with homebaked bread for dinner.

  18. Happy Kicksday, everybody! (For Jeremy (the 7-Imp kicker), that would be everybody!!!)

    Love Peter McCarty’s monstrous illustrations (and story). From the sample here, I can’t tell for sure; but based on the earlier illos it looks like Jeremy has a small white rabbit* who eventually disappears — only to reappear on the side of the outbound bus. (I’m guessing that was a one-way ticket, hmm?)

    It’s seriously cool how the monster (like Jeremy) has the number 3 on his chest — and spiky (albeit purple) projections from his head. However, I’m still trying to figure out that little whispery (!) line extending from either nostril, and ending in a little spiral. I thought it was steamy breath at first, but now I’m not so sure.

    (Y’know, after the last few weeks here I think you could have a completely separate series of posts called something like “Monstrous Books.”)

    Speaking of monstrous illustrations, Jules, for me the variest tarafying thing about the youngster’s drawing was the imminent devourment of the young girl in the foreground.

    Thank you for alerting us to the updates in the various admin pages here. (Although it feels a little bit like, in Alice terms, Eisha is the Cheshire Cat: gradually, torturously fading to transparency except for the grin hanging in mid-air.) I don’t think I’d previously read your policy on review copies, so I don’t know if you’ve updated it — perhaps to placate The Authorities — but the end of the last bullet just cracked, me, UP.

    Please post the recent e-mail exchange in a secured area on blaine.org. (Dibs on the password.)

    Jeremy: The Missus and I were married in Vancouver, and LOVE it (based on maybe 4-5 days’ visit, total). And I gotta say, you are a great photographer of — or so it seems — pretty much anything you happen to point a lens at. (The beach logs pic, though, totally made me jones for these guys.)

    Jama, I’ve seen the commercials for This Is It and have been trying to make up my mind if it’s a last-ditch effort to wring some $$$ from recent news, or a worthy last contribution to pop culture. Your mini-review makes me think the latter. Thanks!

    Sara, there was no way for you to know that stray remark about the Head of the Hooch’s name would send me off on a whirlwind research tour, thinking, Yeah – that’s a VERY weird name! I assumed it was some sort of, er, regatta-ing jargon. But no: Wikipedia says that the event originated in Roswell, GA, at the head of the ChattaHOOCHie River, then moved to Atlanta, and finally ended up in Chattanooga — on the Tennessee River.

    By which time you’d think they’d have wised up and re-dubbed it Head of the Tenn or at least (if they insisted on charming idiosyncrasy) Head of the Noog, but there you are.

    Tanita: huzzah! on approaching THE END. Treat yourself when you get there!

    What a nice cat-sitting experience, Elaine. You made it sound as though you don’t have a cat, yourself… hmm, maybe this is a hint from the universe?

    Jeannine, it probably tells you too much about me if I admit: in a quick scan of your opening paragraph, I caught the word “bathrobe” and the word “flash(y)” and was rendered momentarily mute by your frankness. Keep going on the revision… You probably know of NaNoWriMo, but have you heard of NaNoRevisMo

    Jone, you had me at sausage and kale soup!

    Eisha: Preheim’s pencil work blew my mind. PENCIL! (I kept thinking no way….)

    Also, those were a couple of pretty great videos you embedded there. They made me wonder if you know of a radio show… We get it on NPR here on Saturday nights, although I think they may also have an XM channel. It’s called “Midnight Special” (slogan: “Folk Music with a Sense of Humor” — it’s been around for a loooong time in one form or another, apparently founded by Mike Nichols in the ’50s). To get a sense of the breadth of their musical taste, “folk” notwithstanding, check their national playlist page.

    I’m going the Little Willow brief-enigmatic-kicks route this week:

    – The harmonica
    – The scent of woodsmoke
    – The forgotten sense of proprioception
    – Loving/Hating computers (even the hating is satisfying)
    – The Stand (book, old mini-series)
    – Knees and elbows
    – Clean sheets

    Have a great week, everybody!


    * WHITE RABBIT. I knew it. And then there’s the bus, as others have already pointed out, although it also sorta kinda reminded me of the Merry Pranksters’ vehicle — not that that refutes the central point, which is: this book is totally about drugs, isn’t it? The monster is a horse with no name, isn’t it?

  19. I just got an unexpected donation at the library, so I can order books again–HUZZAH! Jeremy’s on my list (as is Ninja Cowboy Bear–another author, but also a 7-Imp find).

    Jules, Coffee, art, and swearing–you did, like, all my favorite stuff this week.

    Jeremy, Kale = Yum.

    Tanita, Yay to the novel! I am flying cross-country in March, and I don’t even know what I’m going to read on the flight without a new book from you.

    Sara, Wish I could be at that signing!

    Tarie, Being an aunt is The Best.

    eisha, Everyone at work brought in their leftover Halloween candy this past week, and it caused a bit of a thing with everyone all hopped up on sugar all the time.

    Tricia, Hope your mom’s doing okay.

    My kicks are that it was sixty degrees and sunny here in WNY yesterday, and today IT IS SEVENTY. No, really. I am sure this is because the earth is getting ready to implode, but I don’t even care, it is so glorious. I have the windows open, I’m making chili and applesauce, and life is good.

  20. Thanks, John. Cool that you’ve had some experience with Vancouver too!

    That ZZ Top video is vaguely disturbing and fully hilarious in a John Hughes sort of way. The wax single for Legs was among the very first records I bought, along with Night Ranger’s Sister Christian. Apparently ZZ Top is coming to our town in the next month — they must be in their 80s by now!

    Jules, maybe just a cheap electric keyboard to get started with? Way easier than violin at first.

  21. JES: Thank you for that research. I was thinking it was a Tennessee moonshine thing. 🙂

    Update on the book signing: So. many. people. bought. books. 31!!! Plus the bookstore, Hooray for Books, gave me a matching donation check for Musicorps. I’m so thrilled. Jama took pictures, too! 🙂 More later…

  22. Emmaco, way to be feisty. You spoke your mind AND saved money in the process. The party and sight-seeing sound like so much fun.

    John, “proprioception” is the new thing I learned this week. And, speaking of your kick #6, did I tell you that the wonderful band Elbow evidently got their name from …well, I’ll just quote from here: “The band is named after a line in the BBC TV mini-series The Singing Detective; a character (Philip Marlow) says that the word ‘elbow’ is the most sensuous word in the English language, not for its definition, but for how it feels to say it.”

    Adrienne, a donation! Excellent. I know you were lamenting your lack of funds. Let me know what you think of the Ninja Cowboy Bear game. Did I tell you my husband had people at work playing it?

    Jeremy, I know this sounds ….whatever, snobby or silly…but I can’t STAND to play keyboards. I really, really love the feel and sound of a piano. The “piano” button on a keyboard doesn’t cut it for me, either. (I’ve tried before.) If I can’t have a real one, I don’t want to settle for a keyboard. I love the sound that much. Even if I have to wait till age 99 or whatever to a) get one and b) take lessons.

    Sara, looking forward to finding out if you did the push-ups!

  23. Peter McCarty: Thanks for dropping by and bringing your characters and creatures with you! I very much enjoyed both the illustrations and text in the two Hondo & Fabian books.

    Jules: I think it’s neat that you have one of each: one who carefully colors inside of the lines, and one who does not. I was always the former, rather than the latter. My translation of the words on her drawing: “Be terrified. Very terrified.” Have you ever seen PhotoShop Disasters?

    Jeremy and Tanita: Hurrah for healing, music, food, and exclamation marks!

    Jama and Sara: I hope the book signing was wonderful.

    Sara: Congrats on making the Top 10! Congratulations on the turn-out and sales at the signing. Wow to the matching donation check. How fabulous.

    Elaine: Glad that you could cat-sit for your grandcat.

    Jeannine: Good thoughts for your friend. I hope the surgery goes smoothly. Sounds like you had a very full day! How was the talk, and how was the show? Good luck with revisions.

    Jone: Now that she’s saying “sensational,” it’s time to teach her jazz hands so she may accent that word with proper movement! Good luck with the fifth graders.

    eisha: One of your kicks gave me a book idea (as in one for the files, for a someday picture book, nothing urgent). If it ever comes to pass, I’ll thank you and tell you and acknowledge you.

    Tarie: Congratulations! Good luck to your brother’s family.

    Tricia: Sending your family strength.

    Jen: Good tidings to you and your fun festivities.

    Jill: I hope you find a happy balance. Congrats on the success of the donation drive! Good luck with the fundraiser. Enjoy the music.

    emmaco: GO TEAM FEISTY! I’m glad that you spoke up and wrote in. Congratulations to your friend’s family! Mmm, bread.

    JES: Grinning at your list style. Gracias. I am now thinking of the harmonica bit in Meet John Doe. Good times.

    Adrienne: There ought to be a Ninjas Read! poster for the library. Really. Glad that the weather is to your liking. Sounds like a lovely day over there.

    Here are my kicks for the past week:
    1) Being one of a thousand (or more) and not minding it
    2) Casting director seminar
    3) Auditioning for a short film and being offered the part on the spot! Please hope that this goes through and that it goes well.
    4) Auditioning for another film/TV project and being asked for my availability for filming
    5) Auditioning for a film with an original monologue (which was taped for the trailer, apparently)
    6) Breaking in another pair of patterned knee-highs
    7) Tomorrow, I have an audition for another short film.

  24. Ohhh, what a wonderful monster!

    I am a little sleep-deprived today, so these will be brief:

    1. A wonderful week in L.A. with very good friends. Just a joyful trip.
    2. Trick or treating with my friend’s 2 and 4 year olds in Venice – one street in particular, I think Rialto Ct, the houses went all out – there was a fire breathing dragon coming out of the roof, a mini-haunted house in a front yard, and many other amazing fun things for the kids.
    3. A morning workout at the Santa Monica Steps. 189 steps of butt-busting exercise full of sunshine, an ocean breeze, and an ocean view.
    4. Sunshine and blue skies and a hike in the hills.
    5. Reading Meet Wild Boars and a few of the other books I’d sent to the 2 and 4 year old. Fun!
    6. Getting home again.
    7. Dog health issues again, but today was once again good news. Arthritis, not cancer, and it can be reaonably dealt with. I do so love that dog.

    Jeremy – so glad you had fun at the concert!

    jone – hasn’t this rain been amazing?

    jules – your art kicks are awesome!

    LW – good luck!

    Have a great week!

  25. Agreed, Jules. The only exception might be a REEEEALLY nice keyboard, but then you might as well just get a real piano. I was ticked when my mom sold hers a few years ago.

    Little Willow, the number of auditions you get blows my mind — it looks like you’re working HARD. So awesome. That would scare the crap out of me.

  26. Thanks, RM. All of that sunshine, ocean breeze, ocean view and hiking sound dreamy. We’re hunkering down for winter up here!

  27. Little Willow, I’m with Jeremy. And I hope you hear news this week about your auditions. Break a leg at today’s audition!

    RM, I want a fire-breathing dragon to come out of my roof! Rock. Did you get a picture, by chance? Glad you had a good week and that your dog is okay.

    Jeremy, glad you understand. I think the piano is my favorite sound in the world (right before the sound of coffee brewing!)…

  28. When I come in late like this,I really should keep a notebook nearby so I can jot down responses to comments. By the time I’ve gotten waaay down here, I am cheering on the healing of Jeremy’s thumb and the news of Tarie’s projected aunthood, but I’ve lost track elsewhere. Jules, my husband saw a 99 dollar weighted keyboard and was tempted, but hesitated because of funds. That keyboard is gone now, and others are more expensive. We have a little roll-up keyboard for preliminary piano lessons, but will have to get something more substantial eventually. And then, we’ll have to put it in front of the fireplace.

    My kicks:
    1. Receiving the book Night Lights in the mail from a good friend.
    2. Yesterday, I held a class auction project meeting at my house, and we decided to make a four-season nature-scape for our class project. The plan is to make four smaller playmats plus figures and animals to complement the seasons, and everything can be stored away in baskets or containers.
    3. I finished revisions on a story I’d worked on for awhile.
    4. During my daughter’s 90 minute Catechesis of the Good Shepherd session today, I will sit in the coffee shop and right.
    5. Have I yet mentioned that the family is going to Santa Fe for Christmas?
    6. After I performed at my bookstore gig on Saturday, I used book credit to buy Pretty Monsters, by Kelly Link.
    7. That first cup of coffee was mighty good.

  29. rm, Jeremy, and jules: Thank you!

    I love the piano. Playing it, listening to it, all of it. Music makes me so happy. There ought to be more musically-inclined characters represented on television, even if it’s just a hobby rather than the focus of the show or the character’s main career. I grin whenever Hugh Laurie plays piano on the TV show House.

    rm: I am sorry that your pup is achy, but I’m VERY happy to hear what it ISN’T, if that makes sense. Glad that you had a fun trip and a fun trick-or-treating experience as well! I still hold that Fiddlestick (from the novel Strangewood by Christopher Golden) is one of the best fictional dragons ever – He’s small enough to fit on your shoulder, he does no harm, and his wings play music indictative of his mood. How cool is that?

    Jeremy: I never get scared or nervous before auditions or performances, just excited and hopeful.

    Farida: Congratulations on completing your revision! That’s fantastic! Glad that your performances, auctions, and crafting have all been going well.

  30. Farida, it is hard to keep up with the kicks when you come in late(ish) — I sometimes read the whole list, then run out of gas for my own kicks. BTW, this part in your blog profile gave me goosebumps: “…have spent my life surrounded by stories and music.” So simple, so awesome. And it sounds like you’ve shared plenty of those joys with others too.

  31. Farida, hope writing’s going well. I am behind on a few of your stories.

    Little Willow, why am I not surprised that you play the piano, too?

  32. Jeremy: Thanks so much! I know, I either come in right at the beginning or a day late.

  33. Jules: One of my earliest compositions was inspired by – are you ready for this? – Ferris Bueller’s Day off.

  34. One of the Best Movies Ever, LW!

  35. Jules: It’s my favorite John Hughes film.

    Jill: Good luck with the fundraiser today! I posted about it at Bildungsroman and readergirlz – Please tell me if anything needs to be added or corrected! 🙂

  36. Little Willow: YOU ARE THE BEST! Thank you so much for this! This means a lot to Project Second Chance and to me. I will let you know how things go as soon as I find out.

    Thank you again! Have a week full of goodness.

  37. Jill: You are welcome! Keep me posted, okay?

  38. […] I visited an East-Nashville art gallery, the wonderful Art & Invention Gallery, which showed up in my kicks last Fall, and I took in an exhibit of works, called “Proto Pulp: Classic Books of the […]

  39. […] soft-focus art of Hondo and Fabian? Or the spikier-lined art of Jeremy Draws a Monster, featured here at 7-Imp in ‘09?) And he can go from quiet to funny in one second flat. The books he’s […]

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