Thursday, April 10, 2014

The Funny Thing about Mice

It's a little bit scary to tell you things I'm happy about. 
Things that feel like little green tips at the edges of my wintered-over branches.
Not that it's wrong to feel pleased with good things,
but when I remember the gravity of last year
I wonder -
is this okay?
this joy? these painted things?
Will I jinx it somehow?

Over the last year, I convinced myself I have permanent writer's block.
But then this week, a few words eeked out, and I wondered.

Maybe it's not writer's block.
Maybe it's just fear.

Fear is something we all have, isn't it?

Fear of failure. of something bad happening.
of shadows. heights. the dark.
Scratchy things. fish. being alone.

What are your crazy fears?

You know what's funny?
All that health craziness last year - that was like facing off against a lion.
I borrowed as much courage as possible.

Now I'm standing on a chair shrieking about a bug -
worried about putting stories on paper!
worried someone won't like them!

Oh, for a good gulp of perspective!

I just read "The Tale of Despereaux" by Kate DiCamillo.
It's about a mouse who battles darkness with courageous love.
It's beautiful.

Despereaux strapped on a belt of red thread,
a sewing needle sword,
and plunged into the dungeons to save a princess.

While I don't have dungeons, or a sword,
I want to have courageous love like that mouse,
not concerned about what people will think.
every day.
not just on heart surgery days. 
in the daily dirt.
in being a writer and artist, too.

So here's what I'm doing.
All fueled up from my Illustrating Picture Books class,
I'm going to the SCBWI conference this weekend.
And I'm entering my art in a portfolio show.

To go with it, I did a little spring cleaning on the blog,
redesigned The Portfolio.
I hope you like the new look around here.
I hope it's good dirt.
And if you're coming to the conference, let's hang out!
I'll be the small mouse in the corner.


The Tale of Despereaux
The Tale of Despereaux, by Kate DiCamillo


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