This past week I visited Delta State University and spoke at the inaugural Legacy of Literacy children's book festival honoring Dr. Janie Allen-Bradley. I drove up to the campus in Cleveland, Mississippi on Thursday morning to join Dr. Dianne Thompson, her staff and Sarah Campbell, the other speaker for the afternoon's event.
The session went well. Afterwards, I signed books for those who wanted to purchase signed copies.
Autumn-This morning's 63 degrees is the first indiation of the arrival of Autmn this week. I am enjoying sitting out on the back deck and writing this blog. Forrest and I have been working very hard the past few months with repair and refurbishing jobs around the house. The back deck was one of those projects that has is well on its way to being completed. Just a little more landscaping to do in the planting areas. This will take a bit of sketching the layout to see what plants will work best.
The interesting lesson about these projects was that with tenacity, these projects, over time, are completed. A project may take longer to complete than one may imagined, but by staying with it, the project is finished. Sometimes, by dividing each project into segments, it seems less of a chore. However, little by little, we keep chipping away at the projects and eventually they are completed. That in itself is a life lesson!
16.SeptemmberWith the weather getting a little cooler in the mornings, I'm able to feel a little energetic about things. I think we're past summer's "dog days" and now Autumn is almost upon us... in five days, in fact.
Over the past five months, my wife, Forrest, and I have been refurbishing hard outside structures around the house. Things such as decks, the purgala and the back deck/patio area. The weather has been very hot, as it is every summer, and we have paced ourselves each day that we are working outside. Cleaning up flower beds, burning fallen limbs and trimming grass around walks. It's been a productive time outside and I like being out there. There is sense of playing in the dirt that I had as a boy growing up. Getting dirty and sweaty. Very earthy.
Then, there are the flowers. I've worked hard to keep potted plants watered and the withered flowers cut away. I've even learned to propagate a few cuttings like geraiumsn and lantana... a gardener's pride.
The cooler weather will make things more bearable.
Jo S. Kittinger has written a new book to be published by American Bar Assocition Publishing titled The Beauty of Dreams. It about a young Latino boy's dreams of continueing his education in the U.S., even though he is an undocumented immigrant. I've begun production on this book with the storyboarding and character photo reference. I hope to be well into that part by this week's end.
17.SeptemberYes, the weather is getting a bit cooler. How can I tell? I've put on an old long sleeve denim shirt this morning because the cool air is getting to me a bit. I'm retaining my shorts, though. I still want to stay cool even when the sun is up and heats the air. When I have to put on my jeans, then it will be truly be Autumn.
Work continues on The Beauty of Dreams as I'm in my storyboarding sketch stage. This week, I need to begin reference photography for these characters as I get to know them a bit better. Also, this week, Forrest and I will be traveling to Birmingham and then on to Huntsville, Alabama. I have an opportunity to take pictures of one of the author's friends to be in one of the characters. I hope it works out.
In the book, Ms. Lee, the character I need to photograph, has a baby on her hip. I'm not going to find a baby for the model to hold, so I have to figure out something else of her to hold. Maybe a small blanket with some weights in it? That may work, then photograph another real life baby later.
Well, all of this usually comes together as i continue to work on the project and think through the pictures that I need.
I'm also writing a couple of other picture books. Here are the working titles; Vagabond Travel and Island Time. This is a break from working 5 Second Rule and a fresh perspective on character development and plot.
I'm sort of new to this blogging on a consistent basis, so forgive me if it's not entertaining. But, it could be an exercise in writing in itself. Themes, jokes, writing style all will emerge with practice, so please bare with me on this project.
20.SeptemberToday, I traveled to Birminham, Alabama to take photo reference pictures for The Beauty of Dreams. Jo Kittinger, the author asked me to let her friend be the model for Ms. Lee. Since I had family business in Birmingham, I thought it would be a great idea to find the Ms. Lee character and take a few pictures for reference.
After the photo shoot, I had a couple of hours to kill before I picked up my wife who was attending a seminar at the Birmingham Jefferson Convention Complex. So, I found myself in the tiny hamlet of Mt. Laurel just south of Birmingham. It's almost a Swiss village design of a small town with tiny shops and restaurants. I was hungry, so I stopped into The Townhouse Tea Shoppe. They were just cleaning up from a bride's luncheon. Chef Rebecca was able to rustle up a sandwich of egg salad with bacon on it called A Sunrise surprise.
I like traveling for photo shoots like this because it gets me out of the studio and in to real life with all its chances and happenings one experiences along the way. Plus, you get the best pictures that enrich the book and builds a kind of history for the project. I like that.
Plus, these are great road stories that are great for workshop talks and conferences.