Friday, March 12, 2010

The Kindness of a Stranger

I’d been feeling rather frustrated with my job hunt and a tad stuck with my WIP, PORTRAIT. So, a nice walk at Mori Point, a serene coastal trail, always cheers me up. I see people walking their dogs, and we say hi to one another all the time. There’s the woman on her cell phone, whose two dogs remind me of siblings playing with each other. She dresses them in little matching sweaters when it’s especially cold. There’s an older Asian man, most likely in his 70s, who walks his black dog. Sorry, I don’t know dogs, so I can’t specify what breed. Maybe I’ll learn.

They walk their dogs. I walk myself. We don’t know each other's names; we just know each other’s walking schedules. We do share a love and respect for this beautiful coastal trail.

The other day, the Asian man stops me. He asks about my car and if I parked on the corner near the trail head. He noticed recent break-ins, and that my car could be vulnerable. He suggested I park closer to the houses because it’d be nearer to people, and less likely a target. When I got back to my car, I noticed broken glass a few feet away from my car. The glass was not from my car, but from a previous break-in.

The next day, I parked my car closer to the houses. And when I saw the Asian man walking his dog, I thanked him for the good advice. He told me he had been worried.

He reminded me of my dad.

A total stranger had been worried about me. A little hope peaked its way into my mind and body.

Wednesday, March 03, 2010

Excellent! Vermont College of Fine Arts in San Francisco, CA. Can't wait!

Come Celebrate Our Wondrous Writing in the City by the Bay

Vermont College of Fine Arts Alumni Retreat in San Francisco, CA


Saturday, April 24, 2010
Fort Mason Center
Building C, 3rd Floor, Room 370
9am – 5pm

Led by VCFA Faculty:
Julie Larios
David Gifaldi

Guest appearance by:
VCFA Chair Margaret Bechard

Join us as we reunite with fellow VCFA alumni and faculty members to discuss, explore, and re-ignite our passion for writing. With a tight and unpredictable children’s book marketplace, we alums must keep focused, keep our skills in shape, and most of all, keep writing. Let’s celebrate our sales and plow through our rejections. Unlike Montpelier, no snow boots needed… just a sweater or two in case the fog rolls in! Here’s what we’ll cover:

Julie Larios:

Lately, my fascination with maps has bumped up against my desire to lollygag and wander aimlessly. For a writer, are the two pleasures contradictory or complementary, and can they be applied in a practical way to that phenomena known dreamily as The Writer's Life? Let's have a conversation about two things: first, how the mindset of a flaneur helps us store up a treasure trove of converging images; second, how the practicality of mapmaking brings us back down to earth and insists we think about the true north, south, east and west of our stories.

David Gilfadi:

Your "baby" has been born. You did everything you could to make it a healthy delivery. You send it out. It comes back. And you're thrown into the writer's postpartum blues. It hurts…and it can keep you from doing what needs to be done. Let's talk about how to move on, how to rekindle passion for that next project. We'll do some "stop the bleeding" exercises and rediscover why we write in the first place.

Panel & Group Discussion with Julie, David and Margaret
Topic: TBA

Cost: $150
9am – 5pm Includes box lunch
Limited to 35 participants.

Fort Mason Center is located along the northern waterfront between Aquatic Park and the Golden Gate Bridge in the Golden Gate National Recreation Area.

Parking $10; also accessible by public transportation

Optional Get-together:
Friday evening, April 23
No host cocktail social
Details & costs to be announced soon.

David Gifaldi is a Portland author and teacher. His books have been honored by American Booksellers' Pick of the Lists, ALA Books Recommended for Reluctant Young Adult Readers, the Mark Twain Award Master List, the Dorothy Canfield Fisher Children's Book Award Master List, and the Junior Library Guild. His latest middle grade novel, Listening for Crickets (2008), has been named a 2009 Notable Book for a Global Society and is on the Kansas State children's reading list for 2009.

Julie Larios is the author of four books for children: On the Stairs (1995), Have You Ever Done That? (named one of Smithsonian Magazine’s Outstanding Children’s Books 2001), Yellow Elephant (a Book Sense Pick and Boston Globe–Horn Book Honor Book, 2006) and Imaginary Menagerie: A Book of Curious Creatures (shortlisted for the Cybil Award in Poetry, 2008). Recently, she was granted a fellowship by the Washington State Arts Commission/Artist Trust and had a poem sequence put to music and performed by the Five Words in a Line group in New York City.