Accordions and Bengals

Some time last year,  I learned about The Night Garden Project and was immediately taken with it because it’s all about collaboration and the crossroads of ideas. It seems to have begun with gnomes and a rooftop garden (You can read about the origin here).

Photo by Megan Granholm

This Spring, the folks over at the Night Garden have decided to host an Inspiration Series, an opportunity for creative folks to get inspired by a particular artist’s work and raise money for the Great Lakes Bengal Rescue (GLBR) in the process.

The first artist to be highlighted/inspirational in the series is Jason Webley. Off stage, Jason is soft-spoken, genuine, and thoughtful. On stage and armed with his accordion, he’s like a musical pirate shaman creating worlds and breaking down preconceptions with his incredible sound. Truly.

From The Night Garden Website:

Every couple of months we will feature a new guest artist under the Inspiration tab in the sidebar (that will appear March 1, when we post our first guest’s contribution). Each guest artist will contribute a piece of art, and you’ll be invited to respond with original art of your own: anything, in any medium, whatever the guest artist’s piece brings out in you. Give it form, then show it to us! Write stuff. Photograph stuff. Draw stuff. Cook stuff. Make a bracelet. Knit some socks. Put on a puppet show. Listen to what the piece says to you, then say something back.

Entries for the first round in the series will be accepted beginning March 1, 2011 through April 30, 2011. More information can be found on The Night Garden website. Check it out, get inspired, donate!

There will be a new artist announced every few months, including a few you may know well (and personally).


I leave you with this…

Even coffee cannot tame the savage Monday morning

Update (Work in Progress, Book #2)

I finished the first draft of S.C.* back in 2009, but 2010 was so hectic with Issue 2 of Conclave, the Chicago Literary Hall of Fame, and the release of The Silence of Trees, that I didn’t get to spend much time with it.

There were a few plot points that needed to be tightened up before I sent it out into the world, but when I returned to S.C. in earnest this winter, I felt like my characters were sleepwalking through molasses. I couldn’t quite get them to do what I wanted them to do.  More likely I was the one trudging through sticky words, making sloooow progress, editing here and there but missing…something. So I worked on some short stories and notes for an upcoming secret project with Madeline C. Matz. I cooked creative recipes and planned this year’s garden. The months were productive, but not as much with S.C.

Until March, when something shifted and woke up. Maybe it’s Spring, maybe it’s my imagination, maybe my Muse was teaching me a lesson or the story was aging like a nice Bordeaux? Whatever the reason, my characters are very much awake, and I’m trying to keep up! This means many more sleepless nights and late night coffees, but I’m happy-exhausted! They’ve surprised me twice this week with revelations about their characters that are helping to reshape the ending in a way that feels more authentic. Yay!

So I’m going to try and finish up the draft this week and send it off to my readers this weekend. Then next week I begin to work on the next project until my readers get back to me.

In the meantime, I have a question for you: What is the opposite of fear and why?

Consider this background research. Many thanks.


* I’m not quite ready to reveal the title of Book #2 but S.C. are the initials. It will remain a mystery for a little while longer.

Words Keep Blowing About In Drifts

It never fails. When I plan to go to bed early, I’m hit with inspiration. When I wish to edit the larger manuscript, I’m overwhelmed with short stories. These are not bad problems to have, and I find that it certainly helps me to have several projects in the mix at any given time. I do need to finish up S.C. though, and instead I keep getting these lovely little stories. I promise myself that I’ll just jot down notes, but it never stops there.

This winter it seems the stories are everywhere.

The Groundhog Day Blizzard