pattycakes: musings on life, love, writing...

On Writing Artist Statements--MINE!

September 7, 2011

Tags: Artist Statement, writing, writer

Recently, I was asked to supply an artist statement with a teaching artist application. Being familiar with them, but not having one myself, I was flummoxed on how to begin writing one and what to include.

Since I have a bevy of wonderful artist pals, I emailed a handful of my visual artist friends who I thought would know more about writing these than me. Sure enough, I was directed by the talented Wendy Martin to look at Alyson B. Stanfield's web site:

While I navigated through this amazingly thoughtful web site, I found a post or two about artists creating their own artist statements and tried writing my own.

Through this brief (and albeit, somewhat rushed) exploration, I learned that an artist statement is a living and breathing thing, that it changes as we change, and that I am to visit and revisit it every so often to refine it. Here's what I have so far... (more…)

Holiday Gift Giving Made Easy: BUY BOOKS!

November 7, 2010

Tags: books, family, love, Mark Twain, writing

I’ve made a decision today re: my holiday gift giving this year. With 47 shopping days until Christmas, I have decided that I will be buying nothing but BOOKS, BOOKS, and more BOOKS for my loved ones and dear friends. (I do this often, but this year I will be making a conscious effort to support the book publishing industry that has been very good to me!) (more…)

Magical Moments with Walter Dean Myers and Anne Lamott

June 27, 2010

Tags: miracles, mother, writers, writing

I have a habit of putting myself into situations where magical things occur. Perhaps, they are the places I go to or the powerfulness of my intentions, nevertheless, magical moments seem to happen--and often. It's hard to explain. But, I will try.

While many people may define "magical" differently, my definition would include something unexplainable or miraclous happening. As one of my favorite thinkers, Mr. Albert Einstein once said, "There are two ways to live: you can live as if nothing is a miracle; you can live as if everything is a miracle." I choose the the latter. I do. It works for me.

At the recent Chicago Tribune Printers Row Lit Festival a few weeks ago, I experienced several magical or miraculous moments. Here are two involving two of my favorite authors... (more…)

Ways to Spread More SCBWI L-O-V-E

May 7, 2010

Tags: love, writers, writing, ilustrators, SCBWI

We’re writers. We’re illustrators. We’re used to working alone--being alone. Sometimes, we actually enjoy the solitude to create. Other times, like the song says, we’re “People who need people.”

Lucky for us, we have the SCBWI to offer encouraging voices, career-building conferences, and boundless opportunities to learn from and push each other to levels only imagined.

But with all of this encouraging, building, learning, and pushing, I believe comes some responsibility. That is—a responsibility to give back, pay forward, and lend support to our fellow SCBWI authors/illustrators. Sure, many of you reading this story already support your fellow SCBWI members, but we can all do better—and benefit us all.

What follows is a smattering of suggestions on how we can all extend our reach and take our support to a higher level. In the true spirit of this story, I asked for some input (and support) from a few of my SCBWI friends. (more…)

A Fan Letter from a Fifth Grader

February 19, 2010

Tags: fan letter, writing, author visits

In today's mail, I received the sweetest fan letter from a 5th grade girl all the way from Scottsdale, AZ., and it made my week!

As part of a class project, she had to write to a company, an organization, or a person who she admired--and she chose ME! (more…)

Smiley Face Moments + School Visits

February 11, 2010

Tags: inspiring young writers, writing, school visits

I love school visits. Yes, even the-swarm-of-butterflies-in-my-stomach-before-I-start-presenting-in-the-cafeteria-gymnasium-atorium-after-wiping-ketchup-off-tables-dealing-with-multiple-personalities—and-last-minute-changes-just-seconds-before-I-am-to-begin-giving-kids-(who-need-them)-gentle-reminders-to-be-good-listeners-wishing-I-could-remind-some-teachers-of-the-same--making-mental-notes-to-underline-and-star-the-clause-that-reads: “teachers-need-to-intervene-when-kids-misbehave-because-I-don’t-discipline-kids”-in-my-contract-for-next-time-moments.

I really do. Because all I have to do is look into those sparkly eyes in front of me and know that I am in the right space (or should I say the "write" space?) and the right time to (hopefully) inspire little writers to write and to love writing.

An "Artist Date" with Caravaggio

January 26, 2010

Tags: artist date, Julia Cameron, Caravaggio, writing

For Julie Powell, it was Julia Child. For me, it’s Julia Cameron, the author of THE ARTIST’S WAY, who has helped me sharpen a few pencils in my writer’s tool box.

Sure, I've attempted, albeit unsuccessfully, to do her prescribed MORNING PAGES every day. But, I have found one of her other creative "prescriptions" even more delicious than Julia Child’s Bruschetta (page 223) in Mastering the Art of French Cooking--it is her "artist date."

As you may or may not know, Cameron insists on weekly dates to "fill the artist" by committing to “a two-hour block of time set aside to nurture your creative consciousness or your inner artist." I call it two hours of pure bliss. Well, if/when I have gotten around to going on them religiously as she suggests. But, I haven’t always had (or made) the time to schedule dates (literally and figuratively) with anyone in my life lately. This year, however, is going to be different, on oh so many levels. (more…)

On Writing NEVER EAT SOGGY WAFFLES (from the Enslow Blog)

June 30, 2009

Tags: ALA, books, book signings, Enslow, Never Eat Soggy Waffles, writing

Writing Never Eat Soggy Waffles was a most memorable experience. While my memory is like an elephant's and I don't normally use mnemonics, researching and writing this title gave me new ways to remember all sorts of unrelated things without taxing my already busy brain. (more…)

A Recent Interview

March 11, 2007

Tags: author interview, writing

Recently, a young reader interviewed me for a class project. Here are my answers to some of her questions.

I started writing when I was around five years old and I haven't stopped.

Everywhere. I am inspired by nature, people, love, everything that is around me. There are stories and ideas everywhere I look. (more…)