Saturday, September 25, 2010

Boxes, Part II

The pink gift box with woven top is one of my favorites. I've forgotten what the gift was inside (candles perhaps), but I know who it was from and think of her whenever I see this box (every day). Next to it is a wooden puzzle box from North Carolina that my husband gave me for Christmas one year.

A gathering of little red gift boxes, all of them empty now except for the back center cloth-covered Japanese one, which has a perfume bottle inside. That one is also the largest at 3 in. x 2 in.; the smallest is about 1-1/2 inches square.

The above box was a gift from a Korean student. It is wood with fabric on the front of the small drawers,  stands almost 6 inches high and is 4 inches wide. I use it to hold earrings--simple ones, no diamonds, alas. It really needs to be seen in person to be fully appreciated.

Above are two empty boxes. The top is cloth-covered and came with a necklace inside, and below that  is a Florentine box, from Italy--in this case, the box was the gift. I used to keep letters in it.

Above are two Swiss music boxes, gifts from my husband when we lived in Switzerland (the front one from 1982 and the back one from 2007.)  They are small, about 6 in. x 4 in. and hold a few novelty trinkets. The green one plays "Nach em Rage schint Sunne"; the black one plays Rapsodie Sur Un Theme De Paganini.

This last box is perhaps my favorite of all, another gift from my husband, from Windsor, England, around 1984.  He found it at one of our favorite shops: one devoted almost entirely to old boxes.  It is 8 in. x 12 in. and holds photographs.

There are more boxes scattered throughout our house; I'll round them up some day soon.

The Lure of Boxes

I seem to have accumulated an assortment of boxes. Most have been given to me; some I've chosen. I'm drawn to them. Like books, they suggest treasures within. You might find anything at all.  Mine don't hold treasures, though--or at least not ones valuable to anyone but me; often it is the box itself that is the treasure.

The above three boxes were all gifts. The cloth-covered one on the bottom, with the moons, was from my daughter when Walk Two Moons received the Newbery Medal.  The middle wooden box with decorative inlays was, I think, once my husband's and it once held chess pieces, but the pieces are now gone and the box now belongs in my office and holds pens.  The top box is velvet with a silver top and was a gift from the founder of the European schools in which we worked for twenty years. 

I love the above three manuscript boxes (wood with Liberty paper overlay); they've been in constant use since my husband bought them in London and gave them to me in 1990. The small pencil box on top is from Florence, Italy, and holds . . .pencils.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Fan Mail

Fan mail, ah fan mail, both a joy and a challenge: It's usually a joy to read and always a challenge to keep up with responding. I especially love coming across beautifully crafted letters, and I am partial to student drawings.  In the above basket, I save 'special' letters. These are ones that are particularly moving or funny or beautifully made.

In a recent batch, I enjoyed these colorful letters from a school in Texas, based on Love That Dog and Hate That Cat and inspired by their creative teacher:

And these from a school in Pennsylvania, using concrete poem-drawings and also inspired by another creative teacher:

And these, from a school in Ohio: woodcuts that blew me away with their beauty. The third grade students had read The Wanderer and then made woodcuts in the style of those by David Diaz that decorate chapter headings in the book. The woodcuts were presented on beautiful parchment paper, with the students' own handwritten words below.  Third grade! What a great teacher they have.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Lake day . . .

Made major progress on manuscript today! Reward is to play with new Flip video camera and get outside:

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Picking up where I left off . . .

I had to stop working on this manuscript a few months ago in order to turn to other pressing matters but had set a date of September 1 to continue at full tilt.  In the past month, I've overhauled my office and cleared the decks. Today is September 1 and I'm ready.  Ready!  

I don't normally like to talk about writing because that can get in the way of actually doing the writing. But what you see above are 260 pages of a novel-in-progress. In an earlier blog post, I explained about the different colored pages representing different stages of writing (the earliest, gold ones from May, 2009.)  Usually I can steam ahead for three months at a time, so that batch of gold/blue/green/white /green represents about 15 months for this book so far.

Today I read through all those pages to refresh my memory and re-enter the rhythm of the story.

I'll turn to the computer and open up a new page 261:

And now I will stop talking about writing and actually do it.

Ciao, bellas. . . .