In Process

Shrunken manuscript

Hello folks. I didn’t mean to stay away so long. There hasn’t been a lot to blog about lately. I’m still working hard on my writing but don’t have anything new to report.

The picture above is of a shrunken version of my novel manuscript. You can read more about this editing technique, created by Darcy Pattison, here.

In my free time, I’ve been doing a lot of gardening, but again, there’s not much to show but some nice-looking beds of dirt which will hopefully sprout some lovely things soon.

I’ve also been painting and making a dog costume for the church play. I’ll post some pics when it’s done.

Finally reading Wild by Cheryl Strayed, the memoir about her trek on the Pacific Crest Trail. I’m always wary of things with a lot of hype, but I have to say, I’m really enjoying it.

What about you? Read, watched, or listened to anything great lately? Hope to be back here again soon with more to share.

Artist and Author Talks: Podcasts and Videos

One of my favorite things is Terry Gross’s show, Fresh Air, on NPR. I especially love the interviews with actors and writers. Lately I’ve been listening to the podcasts while I’m doing something boring, like folding laundry.

Sometimes there just aren’t enough of Fresh Air interviews, though, so I’ve been looking for more conversations with authors and artists. Here are a few good ones I’ve found:

This Creative Life, created by YA author Sara Zarr (who btw also blogs here). There are interviews with a lot of writers and other creatives about how they work and live. I especially enjoyed the one with author Andrew Auseon (who is also a video game designer).

Mini studio-tours with artists at Little Scraps of Paper make me smile so much. The one above is of three collaborators who make these wacky wonderful costumey-snuggie-kind-of-things. Trust me, you just have to watch it. The videos are so beautifully filmed and just the right size for a quick pick-me-up. Thank you to Blair Stocker of Wisecraft for this hot tip.

Here’s a video of young fashion blogger/ Rookie magazine editor Tavi speaking at TEDxTeen about the strong female characters she’s looking for, and not always finding. YA writers, if you don’t know Tavi, you SHOULD!

What about you? Do you have any favorite creativity-related podcasts?

And by the way, are you on Twitter? I’ve been on it for years but am really just now learning the language and getting into it. I’m discovering all kinds of things there, including some of the above links. Meet me on Twitter @emilysmithpearc

A few other random things:

-Speaking of talks about art and writing, if you’re in the Charlotte area, check out the April meeting for the Women’s National Book Association (yes, men, you can join us, too): Monday, April 22, 6:30 – 8:30 PM at Consolidated Planning. The talk is titled “Latin American and Latino Women Writers and Literature in Translation.” More details here.

-Did you hear about the break in the Isabella Stewart Gardner art heist case? Soooo exciting. I used to work down the street from this lovely, one-of-a-kind museum.

-Saw Natalie Merchant the other night with the Charlotte Symphony Orchestra. Great show. Her new material is as complex and thought-provoking as ever, though I have to admit my favorite part was the 90’s set she did for an encore. The nostalgia factor is hard to beat. Seriously, what pipes she’s got—and what a talented songwriter.

-Lastly, I love this DIY magic potion kit over at Elsie Marley.

What’s got you inspired these days?

That Berlin Buzz

What a hip, creative vibe Berlin has. Like a really smooth espresso—cranks you up but doesn’t make you jumpy.

I was there in July and wished I could bottle the buzz and take it with me. It made me want to write, paint, photograph, disco!

Twenty years after the reunion of East and West Germany, Berlin is still re-inventing itself. It’s bustling with construction: here’s a photo taken from the Hauptbahnhof (main train station), with a view of all the cranes going outside it:

One of my favorite spots this visit was the dome of the Reichstag, the home of the German parliament (the first shot above is looking up through the open dome).

The original dome, which was destroyed during World War II, was also glass and steel (see below), but the current one (below the original) looks like something from The Phantom Menace.

File:Reichstagsgebaeude.jpg

File:Berlin reichstag west panorama 2.jpg

Look inside the dome in the next photo. It’s actually open to the elements, so snow and rain enter the center column (the part that looks like a mirrored tornado) and get recycled.

The glass dome is meant to be symbolic of transparency in the present-day German government. But it also struck me as such a symbol of the city and of modern Germany itself. The über-eco space-age cupola joined with the damaged historic building feels like what Berlin is all about.

The New York Times had a debate recently about where young Hemingway would go to live in 2011. Paris again? London? Two debaters (of five or so) voted for Berlin, and I’d cast my vote for Berlin, too. It’s a magnet for creatives these days in part because it’s much more affordable than other big cities.

Holly Becker of decor8 recently wrote a post about creatives living in Berlin. She highlights a German website, Freunde von Freunden that gives sneak peeks into artists’ homes.

For some fascinating photography of historic Berlin (and other European) sites, check out this post by annekata post here. She highlights the work of two photographers who specialize in merging war-time and modern photographs. The effect is mind-blowing.

(Sadly, annekata is no longer blogging, but she’s left up her posts, which are chock-full of inspiration).

Below is a shot from an East Berlin neighborhood where we visited an old family friend. The whole place was hopping with energy and a sense of humor.

For everyone who’s been wondering where I’ve been, I’m back. We’ve done lots of traveling this summer, and I hope to share some more about that soon. The kids are both back in school as of today.

If you enjoyed this post and want to read more about my travels within Germany, check out these posts:

Chillin’ at the North Sea

Castle Storming in the Mosel Valley

Christmas Magic at Bueckeburg Castle

Day Trip from Hannover: Celle

For other travels in Europe, click on the “Travel” category.

*The two photos of the exterior of the Reichstag are from wikipedia.

Beyond Coloring Books

My kids are way into drawing right now, and I hope it continues forever. At this point, they don’t really wanting me sharing their drawings on the blog, but maybe in the future, I hope. I bought them this book (one of our go-to birthday gifts for friends) but made them promise they would share it with me, too:

It’s a coloring book with pages that are primarily blank, with prompts for what you might want to draw on them. For example:
The caption reads, translated from the German: Who sits in the other four cages? Draw keys to free them all.
 
There’s a whole series of these books. They remind me of my Anti-Coloring Book from back in the day, a similar concept published in America. The idea is to give kids something to imagine, something they can draw themselves, rather than an outline they just color in.
This is the old school cover:
You can still buy these books, for example here, albeit with updated covers.
Here’s one of my favorite drawings from my old Anti-Coloring Book:
Note the I Dream of Jeannie influence on one of the homes. You gotta love SuperStation TBS. The red-haired lady is saying “Good morning, Mr. Doowaddle.”
Here’s another drawing that cracks me up, this time for the 80s references:
Notice any other tv influence? I must’ve watched a lot of tv.
The creator of the Anti-Coloring Books, Susan Striker, has a pretty extensive website, and you can even get free downloadable sample pages from the books there. Enjoy!