Wednesday, September 19, 2007


Is there such a thing as presentation block? Today I put my manuscript aside to update my PowerPoint presentations. My travel schedule begins next week and I needed to prepare. My problem is not that I can't think of what to say, but that I have too much I want to say. I have two new books, Skinny Brown Dog and Piper Reed Navy Brat. That means I need to eliminate some slides to make room for those stories. And I have something else to add about the writing process.

By mid-afternoon my brain was fried. I sought an excuse for procrastination. When my mail carrier came to the door, I felt tempted to ask her in for milk and cookies. But she just wanted my signature for a package. Then she zipped away. She's like that. She never stays long.

My mood lifted though when I realized who the package was from. Donald Saaf, the illustrator of Skinny Brown Dog and I had recently decided to do a little bartering. And as you can see, I got the better end of the deal.

Several times today, when I passed by the painting, I caught myself smiling and winking at the characters. I selected that illustration because I love that Donald painted Miss Patterson winking at Brownie when Benny says, "That's not my dog," and she replies, "Yes, I can see that."

The first time I saw Donald's art for the story I was excited because I realized he viewed that moment like I did. Only he made it better.

Last night one of the students, in the creative writing class I spoke to, asked how I picked my illustrators. I told her that writers don't tend to select their illustrators. The editor plays the matchmaker.

Like most people, who ask that question, she seemed a bit taken back by my answer. However I maintained that I like the arrangement. My editor knows more illustrators than I do and has a vision of whose work best fits my story. I don't have to control everything. I have enough to worry about with words and sentences(and PowerPoint presentations.) Today I was reminded of the glorious results that can happen by letting go.

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