Thursday, July 30, 2009

where the wild things are

Yippee, it's almost here! The movie for one of my favorite books, Maurice Sendak's, Where the Wild Things Are - check out the beautifully crafted trailer:

This was one of those books for me, like for so many others, that really touched on something strongly familiar in my rampant imagination as a child, and the wonder has stayed with me throughout adulthood. The Metreon, in San Francisco, used to have a floor dedicated to this book where you could walk through a forest and see life size monsters, and really feel like you were a part of the story, but I went to that almost ten years ago, so I'm not sure if it's still there. Nonetheless, the movie should be a nice way to re experience it, and the soundtrack sounds awesome as well (Arcade Fire)!

Thursday, July 23, 2009

a city grows

I'm back in California and happy to be home. Apparently Sadie was only sad for one day after I left and she didn't eat for that entire day. What!? Sadie, not eat! That's unheard of for my dog, but happily, by day two her appetite resumed and she could be found with her nose buried deep in her food bowl - sounds about right.

Surprisingly and not surprisingly, New York City has managed to evolve further since my last visit in January. Buildings continue to rise - albeit some are quite empty - and new restaurants have popped up all over. My most exciting discovery though, was the rejuvenation of the old High Line tracks into an elevated public park along the west side of Manhattan. History goes, that a project called the West Side Improvement, was ordered in the 1930's to avoid the escalating death tolls and horrific accidents plaguing unfortunate New Yorkers traveling along 10th & 11th Avenues. A platform, 30 feet high, called the High Line, was built for freight traffic traveling up and down the west side of Manhattan wherein lied the city's largest industrial district. By 1980 the last train ran, and over the years, the fate of the neglected tracks at times uncertain, met some auspicious hands which worked to give the city an amazing oasis of gardens and public space. A luscious garden winding its way 30 feet high through a brick and steel city -New York City never ceases to delight. And staying on the subject, a wonderful children's picture book called, The Curious Garden by Peter Brown, tells a similar story with beautiful illustrations that I recommend for any child, or even just if your own curiosity's piqued.

Unfortunately, I never did make it to Books of Wonder during my stay, but with so many things to do while I was there I'm not surprised, time does eventually run out in the city that never sleeps. So, now, with my horizon back to the surrounding hills and vineyards, it's back to work on my new book - but I'm not complaining.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

bound for fun

Off to New York City to celebrate a friend’s big life event and while I’m there I hope to hit up some fun places, including Books of Wonder, where you can find the coolest kids books and eat cupcakes at the same time! Can you think of anything better!

appears to be...wotw

Ostensible: (adj) shown outwardly: Professed: Apparent.
Used in a sentence: Carter Pigza’s ostensible goal was to gain forgiveness from Joey, but his real goal was purely selfish.


When an idea or thought strikes your mind that won’t leave you alone, I believe that’s your soul’s way of sending a message which you'd probably be wise to listen to. Hopefully the message is telling you to do something fun and exciting, and slightly outside-of-the-box, like my friend who is spending her summer in Italy working on an organic farm. I was hoping to catch up with her there at some point, but since I can't, I'm going to live vicariously through her experiences. What a fantastic way to explore the world at a low cost, try new food, learn a new language and discover a different country. Here's the link to the farm in Tuscany -
Buona Fortuna Amanda!!

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

a novel is born...sort of

As I patiently await word back from the publishers I sent my latest book, Avondale, to, I figure there are wiser ways to spend my free time, other than petting Sadie's belly and sleeping in late, like starting the process of writing my third novel. Starting a new book is like working out after you haven't hit the gym in months. I try and exercise my writing muscles daily, but when it comes to a novel, it's like running a marathon, endurance and eye on the prize are key. Before I actually begin writing a book, I take notes for months; it's kind of like being pregnant for 9 months before you know if you're having a boy or a girl, that's how my novels usually develop. Ideas are jotted down in my journal and expanded upon until the day comes when I feel that it's time to begin. I know that some writers use elaborate outlines with every twist and turn, cliffhanger and climax documented, but I'm just not one of those writers. It sounds cliche, but usually my ideas come to me in my dreams. I can't help it! I write mainly sci-fi/fantasy and my dreams are well suited for it. How it goes is, I wake up in the morning ready to revel in my nocturnal brilliance and revolutionize the world of children's literature, only to read my chicken scratch and realize that I must be semi-delusional. But! on occasion, there comes a time when my scribbles actually do make sense and I think that I may be on to something! After that the story grows in my conscious and my notebook until it is time to give birth, and even afterwards, when I am knee deep in the story, my characters keep growing.

So, two tentative titles for this book currently stick in my brain- Red Balloon (which to my chagrin and possibly naivete, I discovered is close to a French Film and book named, The Red Balloon, already in existence - drats! Is this a slip of the unconscious, a locked away memory from childhood?......maybe, but my red balloon story is different), or Andorra's Balloon - of course either is likely to change once I'm done.....
9-07-09 UPDATE: I've decided that naming this novel, Red Balloon, would be totally lame for a number of reasons, and with that said, am now going to call it, Trevelyn's Shimmer, when referring to it from here on out.

not so nice...wotw

Derogatory: (adj) intended to lower the reputation of a person or thing: Disparaging.
Used in a sentence: Harriet wrote derogatory remarks about her classmates in her spy journal until she lost it.

Monday, July 6, 2009


This has nothing to do with anything other than I thought it was funny and it made me laugh. My sister's dog, Happy, trying to squeeze into Sadie's little bed! It's like the mean step-sisters trying on Cinderella's glass slipper.... she's gonna make her body fit if it's the last thing she does!

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

quirky art and Caldecott coolness

Recently I was researching the art work of some Caldecott Medal Winners, (that's an annual award given to the artist of the most distinguished American picture book for children published that year) and I came across 2008 winner, Brian Selznick, who won for, The Invention of Hugo Cabret. This book looks awesome, I can't wait to go pick it up, it has nearly 300 pages of pictures, and over 500 total to tell the story with both words and art - wow! can you imagine all the work that must've gone into this! Go to Mr. Selznick's site where you can watch a short clip of his drawings from the book:
I was also happy to discover that this artist has an appreciation for things unique. Browse his site and visit my favorite page, "weird websites I like." Of course my eye was instantly drawn to the link with the catch words, "...very, very strange". I couldn't resist clicking it to see what he meant by graffiti coming to life, and I wasn't disappointed. Awesome, unique, bizarre - all the things we appreciate here on flipside finds. See for yourself:

(Selznick, Brian. The Invention of Hugo Cabret. New York: Scholastic Press, 2007).