I finally started a writer's log to record my daily progress on projects. Instead of a to-do list, it's more like a just did it-list. With a quick glance at the last two weeks, I probably averaged 30 minutes of writing each day. Which doesn't sound like a lot, but multiplied by 14 days, that's a whole 7 hours of writing. My smallest stretch was 10 minutes and my longest was one hour. I'm sharing here, because I have a feeling that this tactic could be applied to any sort of side-project that you can never seem to find the time for. Quite simply, it's a matter of "butt in chair" --
Spoke to little kids at local book fair yest[erday]. I said Butt in chair! Bird by Bird. Write bad 1st drafts but finish them! I looked VERY stern! -- Anne Lamott, via Twitter
On to the September edition of links & notes!
Reads for Growns
A historical context for the current discussion on athletes, protests, and patriotism from Teaching Tolerance. I'm re-reading Little Women. (My five year old is not down with this text, by the way.) So far, I am astounded at the sisters' preoccupation with money -- economic anxiety is a major plot arc that I surely didn't pick up on as a kid, but there it is. The classes 25 famous writers teach. I finally picked up a copy of Reading Picture Books with Children by Megan Lambert Dowd, professor of my alma mater, the Graduate School of Library Science at Simmons College, after spotting it at the Eric Carle Picture Book Museum over the summer. Lillian Ross passed away this month, RIP. I reread her Hemingway profile and laughed out loud, again: Who the hell is Adeline?
From Kazoo to Illustoria, Rookie to Anorak, Bright Light is another rad alt-magazine for kids in what appears to be a crowding (gasp -- print!) market. My daughter's first check-out from the elementary school library was I'm a Veterinarian by Brian Biggs from the Tinyville Town series. The Snowy Day is captured in a USPS stamp series. Re-visiting This Delicious Day, a book of poems selected by Paul B. Janeckzo from my own kid-lit library, inscribed in 1988: "Becky from Dad Xmas 1988" and labeled with a dot-matrix, rainbow-colored courier-new font of my name and childhood address. Love this round-up of picture books, inspired by the new John Lennon picture book and International Day of Peace (from the Bank Street Bookstore). When archives and kid-lit converge: explore 6000 historical children's books online. We're all Wonders, via my neighbor Lauren, eyed in her stash of back-to-school books. (This is a beautiful, important book that models empathy for young readers.) Whoosh, the story of the engineer, Lonnie Johnson, creator of the super soaker. And finally, the sing-songy, gorgeously illustrated delight, The Wonderful Habits of Rabbits.
Leonard Lopate talks kid-lit and the joys of revisiting children's books as an adult. Hillary Clinton on the Brian Lehrer show, on what to tell the mothers and children who are crushed by her loss and by our 45th President's win: "We need to stand up for the rights of people who are unlike ourselves. We need to recognize and call out sexism and misogyny. We need to tell young girls that their voices and lives are important." Jessa Crispin's new podcast, the Public Intellectual. Her discussion with the biographer of the forthcoming book on the life and work of photographer Vivian Maier addresses important questions about the custodians of archives. What should happen to the bodies of artistic work when a person passes, especially when the artist was herself was obsessed with the process of capturing photos and disinterested in the final product, the photograph itself?
Broad City is back, yaaaas. The fascinating Obit, a documentary about the writers behind the New York Times' obituaries. Looking forward to this documentary on the life and work of Joan Didion, created by her nephew, Griffin Dunne, who also is the actor in the television series I Love Dick, one of my fave shows on the tube in 2018. And, speaking of creator genius Jill Solloway, I'm full-on binging the new season of Transparent. Meanwhile, my daughter is full-on binging the Ivy & Bean series, pictured above.