Pretty Paintings, Trash Talk, and Bye-Bye Block

Tim O'Brien, the artist who created the jacket art for The Legend of the Wandering King among other many other lovely covers (and the husband of our wonderful art director Elizabeth Parisi), does a really cool painting demonstration on his blog here: (scroll down to the YouTube link).

Watching the painting take shape is like watching a Bob Ross episode -- soothing and mesmerizing, albeit at higher speed and with fewer trees. And also, sadly, less hair.


If you missed Go Fug Yourself's coverage of the Oscar fashions: It's never too late. I especially appreciated their takedown of Anne Hathaway, who is my nemesis because (1) she knows nothing about Jane Austen and yet is playing her in a movie; (2) in another movie, she implied that she could get her pale little hands on a HP manuscript before publication; (3) the film of The Princess Diaries made me want to throw my shoe at the screen (though to be fair, that was the script, editor, and director's fault as much as hers; feh to incompetent romantic comedies); and (4) nemeses are fun. So to paraphrase Lews Street 101: "Someone call the doctor cuz that dress was sick!"


Finally, I am pleased to say I have conquered my little "block-block-block" chicken when it came to writing my talk. What made the difference? Talking through what I wanted to say with my friend Ted; a long walk that gave me a beginning (probably not my final beginning, but a way into the writing); and a blessed hour with a good pen and trusty notebook, as I can never brainstorm properly on a computer. And click: structure (five ways picture-book manuscripts can go wrong), narrative (the development of one manuscript over time), perspective (which points I really need to make and which I can save for another talk). Also silliness and cookies, which always delight me. Indeed, the cookies will make an excellent final course after my upcoming chicken dinner. . . .