PICTURE BOOKS AS POETRY
I've been taking lots of online workshops over the last year, mostly through the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators - an organization I joined in 2005. A fellow SCBWI member, Leslie Bernard Booth, is an Oregon Literary Fellow and published author. Among other genres, she is a nonfiction children's book author who writes about the natural world. Author Dana Johnson described Leslie's work in this way: "Her writing is as thought-provoking and haunting as it is beautiful."
During the course of this workshop I was wowed by the possibilities of poetic (almost musical) language and the ways in which it is being used by authors to add to a growing body of narrative non-fiction for the benefit and learning of kids everywhere.
Leslie's powerpoint was eloquent and succinct, interactive and thought-provoking. So - this is my shout-out to Leslie: thanks so much for your beautiful writing in service to the children of our world! Find her HERE. And look for her two books, A Stone is a Story and One Day This Tree Will Fall, coming out in Spring 2023, and Summer 2023, respectively.
I've just launched a new Podcast called VoiceMuze, where I'll be sharing moments of my journey with sound and improvisation, both past and present. I'm excited. The muses are calling me back in - to play, go deep, and learn. I'll be remembering (and forgetting and remembering) to let go of my ego, entangled with threads of vulnerability and self-worth, so that I can become an explorer again. . . and you're invited to join me. This may be useful to folks who are beginning a personal sounding practice, or who've been on this journey for a while. It's all about the heart and soul of who we are, and the expressive empowerment and joy that comes through deepening our relationship with ourselves, and, one another. Have a listen...now on Spreaker.
Here we go! I've been collaborating with colleagues and friends over the last 15 years, publishing a variety of graphic projects for (and with) them. Now, I'm offering these services to anyone who's interested in self-publishing. If you'd like more information, visit the Dreaming Earth Press Website. In the meantime, here's a short video about how we might collaborate on your project.
Hazel Hanson Chilstrom, third from the left, standing
My aunt Hazel was a member of Atelier 17 in New York in the early 1950's, part of the midcentury modernist printmaking movement. She was married to my father's brother, Ray, who was also an artist. Sorting through family papers today, I came across a little notebook in which she recorded her training as an artist - it was extensive. Her children, husband, and Hazel herself are all gone now, and I was struck by the knowledge that I'm one of the few people left who remember my aunt and uncle, so this is an honoring of them both. Hazel and Ray touched my life in inexplicable ways, some remembered, and others just vague, happy memories. As a young child stepping into their house during the holidays, I remember an amazing Christmas tree - it hung upside down in the front hallway and it wasn't green...it was made of lights and sparkly dangling things - this was in 1958! I later learned that Ray worked as a display artist at Lipman Wolfe (a high-end department store formerly located in downtown Portland). I was amazed when he made hand-painted cloth and then sewed it into a skirt for my aunt. They made toys from scraps of cardboard and felt for us: wonderful, imaginative, simple toys that inspired me to become a maker of unique things later in my life. Summer parties on their backyard patio were relaxed and full of laughter, with kids splashing in a blow-up pool and teasing everyone with squirt guns. I loved watching my father and his brother reminisce, kid each other, and just catch up on the comings and goings of their lives.
A is for Aardvark
Every Year, the Society of Children's Book Authors and Illustrators (SCBWI) Members are able to nominate and vote for PAL member books considered to be "Great New Books" from their region (by regional peers).
The SCBWI is celebrating its 50th year as an international organization that nurtures the creation of great children's literature. I've been a proud member for 16 years and recommend joining the organization if you're interested in learning more about the children's book publishing world.
Find out more at: Scbwi.org!
Sing with Family...
When I suspended the Voiceweaving Meetup site this month I decided to share posts here for my fellow Voiceweavers. The song below was created in 2016 with my friend, Izetta Smith, with whom I've been singing since 1971.
It has been a remarkable experience to maintain a musical relationship for almost 50 years with Izetta; we first sang together in Portland's legendary Storefront Theater. Through the years we've made time to come together and play - for that is what improvisation is at its heart - musical play through which we continue to learn and discover.
As we navigate this period of social isolation I encourage you to sing, play and explore at home - by yourself or with your partners, housemates and children. Here's a simple partner game to begin your improvisational journey. If you click the card below, you can listen to an audio sample of this game.