Tuesday, September 30, 2014


I misplaced my keyring---with keys to house and car---a day or two ago. I knew they had to be somewhere on my property. I would not have been able to get back into my house without them. I have duplicates to all my keys, and was not really inconvenienced, but I became obsessed: looking in the same places over and over, convinced that the fiftieth time around, the keys would be where, on the forty-ninth time around, they hadn't been. Soon there was a path marked out on the carpet of the route I was travelling...again...and again...and again. What is that definition of insanity?  Doing the same thing over and over, and expecting different results?  
Suddenly I caught myself.  I realized that this is exactly how I often begin when I can't find the keys to a knot in a manuscript or a sketch dummy on which I'm working.  But I've learned that the obsessive approach is not a productive approach. If I can calm down, open my heart, relax my mind, the key to the creative problem will usually appear of its own accord...on its own timetable, of course.
Can I apply this same principle to finding my house and car keys?  Free up my mind, meditate, in the hope that the location of that elusive key ring will float to the surface?  Well, I can try...though so far, I have to admit, it hasn't worked. 

Tuesday, September 16, 2014


Edgar d'Aulaire was born on September 30, 1898 in Germany. In the children's book world, though, we think not of Edgar on his own, but of Edgar and his wife Ingri d'Aulaire (who was born on December 27, 1904). 
Working together as children's book illustrators, they were one of the most compelling artistic teams I've ever seen in children's books. In fact one of the most compelling illustrators, period, whether a team or solo.

Their work is unique, distinctly their own, immediately recognizable. Their book of Greek myths was one of my earliest introductions to their work.

They were especially interested in folklore and myth.

Norwegian tales of trolls, gods, and goddesses filled many of their books.

Later, after they had emigrated to the United States, they turned their attention to American folklore and American heroic figures, like Pocahontas and Ben Franklin.

Their work is sturdy and full of vitality; it feels very physical. 
Yet at the same time it is delicate and poetic, full of dream-like images and imaginative wanderings.
Indulge yourself---look up some of the books created by this spectacular pair, and take flight!


Tuesday, September 9, 2014


July and August in Vermont.  What I didn't have: Easy access to the Internet. Enough forks and spoons. Or pots and pans. 
Furniture. A washer or dryer.
What I did have: A tiny toad in the back yard on dew-laden mornings.
N. C. Wyeth thunderstorm skies.
A birthday table, with dear friends.
A double rainbow of hope, the day before I left.
And when I returned to my Phoenix studio? A sudden deluge of creativity.