Tag Archives: Books by Hippocampus

Why I Love Pencils

I’m taking an online writing workshop with Jenny Forrester through the Literary Kitchen and each week she gives us a seven-minute free-write warm-up exercise. This week we were to think about what/where comforts us. I wrote this and want to share it. For the love of pencils, but also to acknowledge that life makes you who you are while you’re busy dreaming about going elsewhere to become someone else, so you might as well love the result.

I go into my sketchbook for comfort, through my pencil, making lines. I draw when I’m tense or fretting. I draw outside, inside, in meetings, on the train, in other people’s talks about so many things. When I was a child, I mostly drew elephants, sometimes lions. I imagined Africa as the most wonderful place in the world to go while I doodled the big animals I’d seen on television. Born Free was my favorite movie then.

I’ve never been to Africa.

In high school, I drew in my binder, on the edges of my homework. I loved math the most, probably because I got to draw a lot of triangles and parabolas, curves arcing off of circles, cylinders and cones. I loved lines and would fill pages with them. Escher was my favorite artist then. And Georgia O’Keefe. And Maurice Sendak. Fantasia was my favorite movie and I thought I might grow up to be an animator, working for Disney like my great uncle Ernie who was the art director for the film’s “Dance of the Hours.”

I’ve never worked for Disney.

This could go on and on. All the ways I imagine my life going. Me and my pencil. Then I go another way. I used to feel bad about all the forks in my roads, but now I just feel too old to fuss about what I might become someday. Today I get to go on a walking workshop with an amazing sketcher who is so generous with her craft. Her sketchbook will fill up with awesome watercolors.

I’ll never be Virginia Hein.

But I don’t care. I’ll keep in mind my favorite Oscar Wilde quote: “Be yourself. Everyone else is taken.” I won’t even care that professorbuzzkill.com claims Wilde never said this wise thing.

Peace out 🙂

While I have many other pencils, the Dixon Ticonderoga #2 Black is my favorite and is also the pencil I used to do all 200+ drawings in By the Forces of Gravity (out in June! Woot Woot!)

Whirlwind in Florida at AWP18

My brain has just begun to settle from all the excitement at AWP18. Though as I sit down to write about it, my mind starts ping-ponging around. Tell them about reading your book ARC in public for the first time! No, the comics panel! Oh, all the people at the Hippocampus table! The pencils! All the beautiful print publications! Posing with Oscar Wilde!

Wilde: “It is the spectator, and not life, that art really mirrors.”
Me: Cool, want a pencil?
Wilde: “Writing bores me so.”
Me: You can draw with it
Wilde: “All art is quite useless.”
Me: People kiss your tombstone all the time, with bright red lips.
Wilde: “I have nothing to declare except my genius.”
Me: Sweet, bye 🙂

Signing Prints! Unboxing the ARC! The moon lamp! All the awesome writers and drawers! Bianca Stone! Tom Hart! Alexander Rothman of Ink Brick! Chelsey Clammer! I won her knit hat! Donna Talarico being her amazing kind self! Kevin Beerman in a dinosaur costume! Believing I won $1,000 from The Pinch and then getting a free issue instead and reading a lovely essay in it by Olivia Dunn about driving through prairie grass in Iowa! MotionPoems!

Then I have to think about seeing a manatee breathe. The slow patience in the wait for it to surface, just a nose up for air. Then down again. Then the wait. Ah, a breath.

I think about cedar tree knees. Lettuce Lakes. Great egrets snatching up fingerlings in a swamp. Orchids. And the trees.

peace out 🙂

p.s. you can still get my signed prints with pre-orders of my book, By the Forces of Gravity, through Books by Hippocampus!

 

Patched Pants

I thought readers might like a peek at the real patched pants that I based my outfit on in By the Forces of Gravity (pre-sales start March 7!). I didn’t have any money for clothes, but my step-great-grandmother had taught me to sew when I was about five-years-old (during her sermons on sin, I would stitch lavender satchels for her undergarment drawers), so I kept my one pair of pants alive by blanketing them with patches. I would trade patches for sewing favors, swipe patches off of jackets at stores and people gave them to me because they liked my pants.

I wore these pants for years (tweens and teens). They became my voice and my armor. And so when I was picking out clothes for cartoon-me, I only considered the patched pants. And then had to choose a shirt to go with them, the peace-sign shirt I found in the free-box of my imagination. My old button-up cowboy shirt was just too hard to draw over and over again and didn’t hit the spirit of the times as well as my imaginary peace-sign shirt. The cartoon patched pants change with every panel, which I thought was an okay way to indicate the evolving nature of these pants.

Anyhow, I hope you enjoy this picture of my patched pants.

my patched pants, front view