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Thursday
May222014

National Book Festival

I learned the other day that Genie Wishes will be part of the Library of Congress's National Book Festival this year--as the book representing Maryland on the festival's Discover Great Places Through Reading brochure/map. For me--a Library of Congress fangirl who used to walk the three or four miles from Georgetown University to the LOC once a month or so--this is all-the-flowers-blooming-at-once exciting. (These, by the way, are some of my back yard azaleas, posing last week after a crazy-long winter.)

I'll be at the August 30 festival, at the Maryland table in the Pavilion of States, when I'm not wandering around trying to spot my favorite authors (and illustrators) and work up the nerve to talk to them.

Thursday
May012014

Beached Whales, Then and Now

This week's news story of beached whales in Newfoundland took my college friend Jennie and me back to the days of our Prints of the Sixteenth and Seventeenth Centuries art history class with Walter Melion, in which we studied amazingly interesting prints, like this one by Hendrick Goltzius:

In fact, beached whales were a common subject in Dutch art of this era. (For more on this, click here.)

Thursday
May012014

Fan Art From Amelia

Recently, I met up with Baltimore writer Evan Balkan, and we made a swap: his most recent book, Walking Baltimore, for a copy of Genie Wishes for his daughter Amelia. A few days later, this excellent piece of fan art arrived in the mail. I love the level of detail--Amelia nailed it.

Tuesday
Apr152014

Letters About Literature

Being part of the Maryland Humanities Council's Letters About Literature recognition ceremony at the CityLit Festival this weekend was a highlight of my spring. I met so many curious, bright young writers. To learn more about the Letters About Literature program and how to get your students or children involved, go to the Library of Congress website. (Even the envelope designs are cool!)

There's a podcast of Saturday's festivities here, at the website of the Enoch Pratt Free Library, which hosted the program and the festival at its Central Branch.

Here's the window I always have to stop and admire when I'm fortunate enough to be in that building.

Thursday
Apr102014

Fueling the Writing Life

For a career day at West Towson Elementary this week, I created this Fueling the Writing Life chart. I drew old-fashioned gas pumps (which, on second glance, look kind of like thumbs). School, reading, life, arts, and traits were fairly obvious fuel categories to include. But the sixth category was maybe a bit unusual: income.

It's odd to be at a career day fair talking about a job that may not be very lucrative--or even provide a living wage. I wasn't like the engineer at the other end of the gym, or the physician beside him. I wanted the students to know that most people can't support themselves just by writing fiction, poetry, or creative nonfiction--that writers depend on other income streams, from teaching or working at a bookstore or editing or programming or doing technical writing or whatever.

This news won't discourage really committed young writers--I'm sure of that. But it will, I hope, help them plan more realistically.