Quote of the Day: Growth


“For a seed to achieve its greatest expression, it must come completely undone. The shell cracks, its insides come out and everything changes. To someone who doesn’t understand growth, it would look like complete destruction.” Cynthia Occelli


Notebooks of the Mind

I came across an interesting concept while reading an article in the SCBWI Bulletin called “Jotting Things Down” by Anne Sibley O’Brien.  She referenced a term called “Notebooks of the Mind,” which I just thought sounded so cool!  And mysterious.  But what does it mean?  Did you ever keep a journal or diary growing up?  Or what about when you had that great thought or idea while standing in line at the grocery store or sitting at a restaurant and you had to scribble it down on a napkin so you didn’t forget it.  All of these scribbles and sketches cumulate into “Notebooks of the Mind” or windows into our soul.  A lot of it seems meaningless at the time, and truthfully, much of it may never amount to anything tangible.  But it’s fodder.  Fuel for that project you’re envisioning or maybe something else yet to be discovered.  And when you go back to it, it’s like walking through a museum of memories, which is also fun.

If you’re not convinced of the importance of jotting things down, remember this:  “Creativity did not descend like a bolt of lightning that lit up the world in a single brilliant flash.  It came in tiny steps, bits of insight, and incremental changes.  Zigs and zags.  When people followed those zigs and zags, ideas and revelations started flowing.”  -Keith Sawyer, author of Zig Zag

Benjamin Franklin didn’t just get hit by lightning.  He kept notebooks, too.

I have my own journals at home.  20 or so of them, actually, collected over the years–consisting of poem fragments, stray thoughts, jumbled up text, old ticket stubs, magazine collages, scratches, and sketches.  Some of it will never see the light of day, but it’s useful nonetheless.  My small treasures.  The Notebooks of MY Mind.

What’s going on in my brain?  Here’s a sneak peek, circa 2003.

notebook of my mind

Now, I want to know, what’s going on in yours?


Little Infinity

Over the summer I had a chance to read the popular YA romance novel The Fault in Our Stars by John Green.  I’m not usually a fan of YA or romance or death stories, because it is so easy to fall into sappy cliché.  But this story is also literary and very philosophical, which I like, and not in the hum drum ways you might expect.

At the end of chapter 20, the book states that there are infinite numbers between 0 and 1.

The main character goes on to say, “I cannot tell you how thankful I am for our little infinity.  I wouldn’t trade it for the world.  You gave me a forever within the numbered days, and I’m grateful.”

So my question to you is this:  What will you do with your little infinity?

Quote of the Day: Courage

I read a really great quote in the recent SCBWI Bulletin.  Richard Peck gave this advice to author Ruta Sepetys.

“The only way you can write is by the light of the bridges burning behind you.”

Feel free to insert whatever activity you want here.  The point is, we can’t always move forward towards our goal without leaving something behind first.  It’s okay to take small steps, just don’t let anyone tell you that what you’re reaching for isn’t worth the risk.  If it lights you up, that’s enough.

Partner Sketching at Detcon

my sketch

Over the summer, I attended the North American Science Fiction Convention in Detroit.  What a blast!  During a drawing workshop, we were asked to pair up with another artist and practice sketching each other.  Part of the challenge of such an exercise is that the person you are drawing is not facing you the entire time, so you really have to concentrate on getting details down while you can see them.  You almost have to take a mental snapshot.

I thought it would be fun to include both the sketch I did of my partner and a photo of the sketch she did of me.  Afterwards, as we were talking, we realized that we had both quickly identified one feature about the other that we wanted to focus on.  The identifying feature that we felt we just had to get right.  For her, I wanted to capture her interesting nose.  For me, she said she was drawn to my big eyes.  You can see how people create characterizations this way.

Enjoy!  (especially on this particularly gloomy Friday)

sketch by Lisa J. Schmidt