Wednesday, May 4, 2022

IWSG and a review of What Do You See? by Barney Saltzberg

IWSG meets the first Wednesday of every month (although it's a HUGE writers/authors group with tons more to offer than just these posts). Head over here to learn more!

Special thanks goes to the founder of this amazing group, Alex J Cavanaugh, and all of those who work with it to keep things running. Also, thanks to this month's cohosts: Kim Elliott, Melissa Maygrove, Chemist Ken, Lee Lowery, and Nancy Gideon!

Since I share a tiny experience from my 'life as an author' below, I'm keeping this short. And sweet? Well, sweet is better than bitter!

Good news: Tons of writing ideas are screaming at me to finally sit down and do all of them (they still haven't given me any hints on how to find the time, though.) 
I have written the first pages of a new manuscript—yay! 
I've jotted down the beginning outline for another and done a very small character study—yippee!

Bad news: Still, not enough time, time, time, time.
Co-authored manuscript has come to a huge pause.
Missing time, time, time, time.

Hey, but summer is on its way, and school break is coming! I've made my first sun tea and am loving it. Who knows, maybe that will lead in more thoughts of writing time? (One can dream!)

How's your writing world looking? Or not looking? Or what's going on with you?


Today's read is photographed by the famous actress Jamie Lee Curtis, and that's why I got my little, grubby hands on it. Now, there's a bit of backstory to this one, so you might want to take a sip of tea/coffee/water whatever as I ramble for a moment.

It was way back in BC (before COVID, as I call it), the year my own debut middle grade novel, Music Boxes, hit the shelves. I was invited to attend (and horribly honored!) the Laura Ingalls Wilder Children's Book Festival as the highlighted middle grade author. While speaking with one of the organizers, I learned they were in the talks with Jamie Lee's agent to have her as the main, up-and-center author of the event. It looked promising...and exciting...and Wow. I had no clue she wrote picture books. But then, those famous peeps and their writing...*le sigh*. Anyway, COVID hit, the event was cancelled for 2 years, and I never got to sit alongside her. Which is fine because my husband was a bit too anxious to meet her. Burst his dream? Yes, that was sad, too.

 Now, I get a chance to see if this actress-I-almost-met-but-probably-never-will-and-I'm-okay-with-that creates amazing picture books or if (hold your breath) she's stretching and using her well-known name (loud gasps???). Just kidding. I'm actually expecting this one to be quite a bit of fun. So, let's dive in. Finally.

A Conversation in Pictures
by Barney Saltzberg
Photographs by Jamie Lee Curtis
Creston Books
Picture Book
32 pages
ages 4 to 8

How creatively do you see things?

She took photographs of things she loved and sent them to him. He drew pictures on her photographs of things he saw and sent them back to her.

Real-life friends Barney Saltzberg and Jamie Lee Curtis share their fun, funny, and imaginative creations, encouraging readers to find their own unique perspectives lurking in puddles and noodles, fruit and flowers. This project was born out of a school visit where Jamie complimented Barney's creativity, lamenting her own inability to draw . . . and Barney countered that everyone is creative in their own way. They joined forces to create a book that is sure to inspire kids of all ages.



I was excited to pick up this one because the idea behind it is quite clever. Jamie Lee Curtis leads in the book with a bit of explanation about how the first thoughts hit...and yes, this is short and simple enough to be read to young readers as well. After that, the imagination flows.

Each page holds the original photo of some random object. Right next to it is the photo again, but this time with Mr. Saltzberg's additions. There's a short sentence under each one, too. The first, original photo holds a thought from Ms. Curtis...what she thought it might become. Under the second is a sentence stating what Mr. Saltzberg saw. It's a cute back-and-forth, which does demonstrate how even mundane or unimportant things can pack tons of surprises. 

The photos are clear and bright, and the illustrations created from them are well-done and interesting. The text itself is age group appropriate, but honestly, not as interesting as it could have been. I do see young listeners/readers curious and surprised by the various possibilities in the photos. The images inspire and will sprout ideas. 

This is a perfect book to introduce an art theme or an activity, since young listeners are packed with imagination, and it will change how some of them view things for a bit. 


Nancy Gideon said...

There is never enough time. Use what you can beg, borrow or steal and USE IT! The path of least resistance worked best for me - early mornings before sunrise. Use non-creative times to jot down ideas or dialog to incorporate later. PLAN to time and stick to it - like it was your job, because someday it could be!

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

It's always about time, isn't it?
Jamie Lee Curtis? Now that's cool.

Natalie Aguirre said...

Glad you have a lot of writing ideas and are writing. I've found even working 30 minutes to an hour can help me to make progress on a manuscript.

Melissa said...

What a cute idea for a book!

Use your time to outline stories so you can write super-fast this summer.

Nick Wilford said...

That does look like a cool idea. Hope you get some more time soon. I have to write early in the morning or I won't get anything done. I don't know what a sun tea is, but it sounds nice!

Sherry Ellis said...

I hear you on the time thing. But I'm so glad you have some great writing ideas percolating in your head.

This book sounds cute. Definitely one to inspire creativity.

Kim Elliott said...

Time is what I struggle with as well. Your comments reminded me of a Star Trek quote: "Time is the fire in which we burn." Sometimes it feels that way!

Anonymous said...

Ah, time. As William Carlos Williams said, “Time is a storm in which we are all lost.” That certainly describes my world.

What a clever idea for a book! And a great memory for you.

Damyanti Biswas said...

What a cool idea for a book. Glad you have so many ideas :)

Heather N. Quinn said...

Sorry, the event was canceled. Sounds like it would've been a lot of fun. Fingers crossed for new and exciting opportunities.

Chemist Ken said...

Seems like there's never enough time when you're a writer. It's even worse when the ideas keep piling up anyway.