Feeding Your Soul

While I’m feeding my soul and enjoying the sunshine and endless Vitamin D here on beautiful Saint Simons Island, Georgia, I’ve been thinking a bit about the pile of manuscripts I’ve accumulated over the past 15 or so years. Of course, it’s not really a pile, but rather folders full of dozens and dozens of manuscripts and ideas. When you write every day, that pile is bound to grow, and grow… At this point, I’ve come to accept that there are a few, okay maybe more than a few, in that pile, even novels, that will never be published, but yet I keep writing. I can’t not write. It seems like I have new ideas every day; part of the challenge is definitely sticking with an idea, as Rick Riordan has said:

For some reason this year, I’ve also started drawing. I can’t remember when I’ve had this much fun with a pencil and piece of paper, but it was probably back in elementary school. I’ve created so many picture book characters from words, and trying to bring them to life with my pencil is a very cool (and often frustrating) experience. I got to spend some time in Blick’s, a huge art store in Savannah a few days ago – so much to see, and none of it is cheap! Savannah has a big art college; can’t imagine how students afford to acquire materials. It’s doubtful I’ll ever see my “art” in a book, but enjoying the process is what it’s all about, right?

Whenever I travel, I always try to visit the local library. Here on Saint Simons, you can get a six-month library card for $12 – what a bargain! Sadly, I’m only here for one month, but I’m spending hours going through picture books, trying to figure out the appeal of certain illustrators’ work. It seems to me it’s really about having an original style – many of the most popular illustrators aren’t producing “fine art,” but it’s art that appeals to both kids and adults, art that enhances the story being told through creating people who seem real and organic to the story.

Hope spring has arrived in your corner, and that it brought a new burst of creative energy your way, too; hopefully something beautiful and satisfying to feed your soul. A quick middle-grade novel recommendation – NIGHTINGALE’S NEST (Nikki Loftin) – magical, perfectly imagined and written from its cover to its last words. And here’s some food for thought from Steve Jobs:

steve jobs quotes

 

 

 

Libraries, Old and New; WOTS

One of the (increasingly) few memories I have from my pre-school life is of waiting for my fifth birthday so I could get my own library card. You had to be five, but you also had to be able to print your own name! img003The library in my hometown of Truro, Nova Scotia in 1965 was an old wooden structure, and the children’s department was at the very top of a very steep set of stairs – I remember the excitement of climbing those stairs, wondering what treasure I’d take home that day. Sadly, I couldn’t find an image of that library online, but this is my hometown (Wolfville, NS) library now, formerly the train station, back when we had trains! I’m a frequent visitor.

Wolfville Library

Last week, I finally got to see the new Halifax Central Library while I was there reading The King of Keji at The Word on the Street. It’s stunning, as you can see. halifax librarySo spacious and open inside with sweeping staircases, downloadcomfortable seating, very kid-friendly, there’s a coffee shop and you can even check out your books yourself by scanning your card and the book barcodes. Librarians are some of my favourite people (especially the fabulous women at the Wolfville Library!), and I feel like that social interaction is a huge part of the library experience for so many people; hopefully the scanning option won’t eliminate that for those who aren’t in a hurry.

And a shout-out to the MANY volunteers who organized and delivered an excellent Word on the Street experience for one and all at the Halifax Central Library last weekend. download (1)This was the first year WOTS was run entirely by volunteers, and it seemed very well thought-out and lots of people came out to show some love for local books, writers, booksellers (yay, Woozles!) and literacy. Thank you!

How’s your local library these days?