Thursday, January 29, 2015

Next Up in the Long-Running Poem Saga About the Spring of 2006 We Have This

May 24, 2006
I feel like I just go on and on and on

about the sky lately
but this morning’s
really can’t be skipped over
It was made up of
that extra vibrant yet hazy yellow sunlight
that falls in some places and not in others
like blond syrup
combined with ragged dark gray clouds like charcoal
all dark and light
and gray and yellow

And as I walked along
down the street
under all this glory
I saw one after another
in short succession
down on the sidewalk
one small gold star sticker
one perfect gray and white feather
and one burnt wooden kitchen match

image source is here

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

642 Skiddoo!

I had the honor of getting to write a guest post over on the Chronicle Books blog the other day, telling the wild and wonderful story of how the bestselling 642 brand first came to be (hint: we Chronicle-ites cooked it up ourselves). But even more of an honor than penning this particular post, about a subject near and dear to my heart, was the fact that the fine folks who run our blog decided to use some of my very own drawings from my very own copy of 642 Things to Draw to illustrate the post! I have filled in all 642 things in my book over a period of several years, mostly while sitting on phone calls. Most of these drawings are not very good at all (the seagull looks like a penguin, I've given David Bowie his Ziggy Stardust makeup mixed with his Labyrinth hair). And I've mentioned before how intimidating it can be to try and make drawings when you work with amazingly talented illustrators all day long. But in spite of all of that I do have a strange affection for these pictures I've made, and feel quite privileged that they are now out there in the world. And now here, too.

Photo credit goes to the divine Ms. Irene Kim. Those are not my hands.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

The Other Thing About Just Putting It Out There

I mentioned last week about how I'm trying to work more on a few of my own personal creative projects, evenings and weekends. Ok, so, great. Good for me. But whence the desire to share half-baked (or, let's be honest, more like about three-percent-baked) ideas and process stuff in a public forum, be that here on this site or over on my Instagram? Sure, yes, that's what I'm always telling my author/artists to do--engage with your audience! workshop ideas!--but, even though I have authored two books, I am nevertheless not a professional artist or writer. I do not have a bunch of excited fans champing at the bit to see the next thing I personally make. Like, at all.  But then a clever pal of mine made a very good point to me the other day: another reason to declare your intentions to the world is to keep yourself honest, to be held accountable. The world, or at least your pals in the world, will perhaps come back at some later date in time and say "Hey, whatever happened to that thing you were working on?" and if, by chance, your work on it has flagged, maybe that will be the nudge you need to get back to it.

Monday, January 26, 2015

SF Pals!

Some of our very best friends--on both the adult and child sides of the equation--recently moved from the east coast to San Francisco. We could not be more delighted with this turn of events.

Friday, January 23, 2015

Jean-Baptiste Siméon Chardin

I mostly refrain from re-posting content that my dear father has put up on his very fine blog Spencer Alley. I figure people who know us and care are already reading both of our sites so why duplicate. Indeed, I just checked, and apparently I've posted his lovely photography a handful of times, fashion imagery he's unearthed a couple of times, and his always-top-notch art finds a couple of times. I tell you this so you'll know that when I say I was so struck by a series of images he recently posted by the artist Jean-Baptiste Siméon Chardin (1699-1779) that I felt the need to reblog them, you will understand that I really was quite struck indeed. I would have been hard pressed to explain why, exactly, these images zinged into my soul via my eyeballs quite so strongly, but there, too, my esteemed parent has helped me out. He describes Chardin's pictures as "silent" and "lucid." Yes and yes. 

Thursday, January 22, 2015

The Continuing Poem Saga About the Spring of 2006 Continues Today on Poetry Thursday

May 23, 2006
Here’s something I’d almost forgotten

On Sunday
when it started pouring rain so hard
that it was a roar in the kitchen
I walked into the living room to see
I stood at the window
looking out into the street
and there was so much rain
that you could see the air full of it
and the street covered solid
in little rings where it was landing
and all of the outdoors lit
by that strangely bright dark gray glow of gloom
I doubt I would have realized
how luminous that dark gray air really is
if when I turned around
the room hadn’t seemed kind of dim by comparison
and if my eye hadn’t by chance happened to fall
on the pillow that sits on one of the green chairs
This pillow is mostly various shades of green
with a white grid of small uneven boxes
most of the boxes are green
some black and
this was the thing
a few are turquoise
Now I’m not even sure whether
prior to this I’d ever even noticed
that there was any blue in that print
but when I turned away from the bright gray window
those little boxes of blue jumped out at me
ping zing boom
right into my eyeballs
As if the blue boxes were lit up and glowing
and standing up off the surface an inch or two

image source is here

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

It's the Little Things

Sometimes it's the big things that make me love being an editor at Chronicle Books--the amazing artists I get to work with, the bestsellers, all that jazz--but other times, it's the little things: All the nice holiday and birthday cards the people I work with have sent me lately. A cup of coffee and a clean desk. The quiet of the office first thing in the morning before everyone else arrives.