Summer Mode

Ahhhh summer “vacation”. I am buried in my studio finishing up the next book. Though close to the end, there are still many miles to travel before I can put this thing to bed. July will be a welcome month of travel as I rinse my mind and eyes a bit after having been in the same coffee…work… mode for so long. In early July I am planning on heading up to Maine with Deb Taylor to visit Ashley Bryan and The Ashley Bryan Center. It should be a nice road trip and I am hoping to bring my mom along for the ride. She and I haven’t had an adventure together in a long while and though we live separate lives hundreds of miles away from one another, I try to give her a glimpse at the magic in the life she helped me create whenever I can.

10389673_903044693055012_7893752252069337250_nAfter that, I am planning to head to Seoul for a couple of weeks. I will be working on sketches and ideas for a new project by then and am thrilled to do so in the studio of my dear friend Taeeun. While in Seoul, I am also looking forward to meeting with Tantani Media, the publisher of my first Korean language book, The Dancing Shoeshine Boy, which has now been published in Chinese and Xhosa (pronounced Kosa) language. In August I will be planning for the new semester and organizing ideas and business plans for Jump-In Studio, Inc. I am officially recognized by the government as a business entity now, so I should probably do something with it along with book making and teaching. I have some ideas brewing. My family wants me to come home for a bit, but after spending so much on travel in July, that trip may have to wait.

On Saturday I had a small book signing at The Children’s Book Store here in Baltimore. The turnout was pretty small, but it was great to spend time with my family and my best friend. Other families that did show up spent time learning the wax resist technique I used to make many of the pictures in Please, Louise. Today, I received the nicest e-mail from one of the attendees that made my day.

It was so great to meet you on Saturday at the Children’s Bookstore.  I really enjoyed hearing about how you produced your beautiful drawings in Please, Louise.  And drawings aside, your lovely manner and enthusiasm are infectious.  You outshine them!

 I wanted to tell you that I took your book today to my local library, Little Falls Library.  I am friends with the manager there.  I showed him your book, which is not yet in the Montgomery County system.  He really liked it and is going to try to acquire it for the County.  In addition to being a beautiful book, it has a great message and he liked that you are a local Maryland illustrator.  As a patron of the library, I also will put in a request for the County to obtain your book, but I am confident that Mr. Lewis will be able to make the necessary arrangements for Montgomery County to purchase your book and distribute it to their libraries.

 When I went to purchase your book at the bookstore on Saturday, the bookstore owner said your sister had purchased it and had said to give it to the next buyer.  It was very kind of her.  As a sister myself and a mother of girls, I know how strong that bond between sisters is and how we want the very best for one another.  Would you kindly tell your sister that I said thank you.  I have tried to share the gift she gave me.  Who knows where it will lead, but I am hoping that many children will enjoy your book as a result.

 Thank you also for the poster, which is delightful.

The woman that she mistook for my sister was actually my best friend of twenty-three years. I had no idea that she did this, but it was one of those moments that made me realize how important that relationship is to me. I try to hold on, or “collect” as my friends sometimes accuse me of doing, people who I really like and see something reflected back at me or an opportunity for growth on both sides. As I get older though, I’ve learned that sometimes one should just appreciate brief meetings along the journey and leave it at that.