Sunday, March 4, 2012

Creative Shout Outs: Brian Selznick

Being deaf in one ear does have its advantages. For example, when my brother and sister and I were little, I always sat right behind the driver in the family car, with my "bad ear" to the window. Harry and Eva had to take turns -- one trip, window. Next trip, middle seat. Whoever was in the middle was smooshed on both sides, feet scrunched up by that big floorboard hump. So sad.

Another, ongoing advantage? I can block out sounds by blocking one ear. It's easy. I bury my good ear into a pillow at night. I lean my head against my hand during the day.

And now, another advantage: my very personal and heartfelt appreciation for Brian Selznick and his book Wonderstruck. It's the first book I've ever read that speaks directly to this part of my life.

Selznick's writing and illustrations are amazing. You certainly don't need a hearing loss to relate to the other losses in this story, and the ageless search for love and a place where you belong.

I read all of Wonderstruck -- 600+ pages -- in one setting. Now, it's a book designed for children and it's told in both words and pictures. So, it's not like I sat down and read War and Peace in one fell swoop. On the other hand, I have the attention span of a gnat. And my iPad was right there, waiting.

But an iPad is no match for a story that truly resounds.

P.S. I did not know the book had anything to do with Deaf culture until after I bought it and started reading. Don't you love the unexpected connections you sometimes find in books? We are all less alone than we think.

P.P.S. The Scholastic website for Wonderstruck also took me back to my younger days. During elementary school, there was concern I could lose all my hearing, so I learned lip reading and some sign language. I will now "sign off" with my name:

Friday, March 2, 2012

Creativity Tips: 10 Ideas for a Creative Weekend

It's a new day! New weekend! New month! And,as your favorite creative instigator, I've got MARCHing orders for you. This weekend, do at least three of the items on this list. The benefits will extend beyond Sunday -- you'll start next week with a fresh creative outlook!
  1. Go see Hugo. If you've already seen the movie, then read the book -- The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick. I generally read books first and often skip the movie versions, but this movie is phenomenal. Gorgeous. Visually stunning.
  2. Take a bubble bath. You don't need official bubble bath. Just pour some liquid soap into the tub. Then relax. You remember how to do that, don't you? No? That's why you need the bubbles.
  3. Pretend you're a kid and Doodle 4 Google.
  4. Grab your camera, your phone/camera, or a sketchpad. Drive at least 12 miles from your home, park the car and go for a walk. Take three photos or draw three pictures. All the images should have a common theme. You make up the theme.
  5. Experiment. Try a new recipe. I think this sounds good, but I'm addicted to coffee. Have I ever mentioned that my grandmother used to freeze coffee into ice cubes so she could cool her morning coffee down without diluting it? Brilliant.
  6. Avoid all computers, iPads, e-readers, etc., for one day. One day, people. You can do it. Your brain and your eyes will thank you.
  7. Write a thank you note to a friend. Thanks for what? You'll come up with something -- years of kindness, loyalty, sharing a story that made you feel connected and less alone. There's always a reason to be thankful.
  8. Breathe. For at least five minutes. Of all the poses in my yoga class, this is probably the most difficult one for me. Although I'm a few steps away from this, too.
  9. Celebrate the birthday of the wonderful Dr. Seuss. If you don't have one of his books, consider this a great reason to go to the library. Heck, you don't even have to check out a book. Just sit down and enjoy. And, while you're at the library, explore. (If you can leave without checking out something, well, we need to reconsider this friendship.)
  10. Buy a canvas. Paint it. While it dries, cut up images, words, whatever out of a magazine and glue them onto the painted canvas. Stand back and admire your work.
Now, choose your three! Invite someone special along for the creative ride. No need to stop at three -- go for the gusto. Do as many as time allows.

As I write this, it's snowing heavily in Kansas City. Yesterday, it was 70 degrees here. The world is weird and wonderful. Happy weekend!