Monday, February 25, 2008

Writing Monday - Circling



People assume The Writer never gets writer's block because she writes so many books. The Writer doesn't like to call it "writer's block"--she prefers the term "stuck." She gets stuck a lot, more than anyone would think.

When she gets stuck or starts to lose heart, which also happens more than anyone would think, she turns to children's book people in the past, particularly Virginia Lee Burton. Burton created Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel and The Writer's favorite, The Little House, the 1943 Caldecott winner. The Writer read The Little House as a child and loved it dearly. As an adult, and as a writer, she appreciates Burton's artistry.

Burton's style is all curves and rounded edges, representing containment and safety to a child. Burton's compositions are often circular, with little stories inside the overall illustration, such as birds circling, cows and horses grazing, children playing. The Little House is threatened by development, but is ultimately saved in the end, so the story itself circles from happy times to bad times to happy times again. A lot like life.

One of The Writer's favorite books is Virginia Lee Burton: A Life in Art by Barbara Elleman. This book gives a fascinating look into the life of this elegant author illustrator who was devoted to her craft. This book--and the works of Virginia Lee Burton--remind The Writer that life doesn't stay stuck. Sooner or later the paragraph or chapter or book will circle from the dark into the light. Sooner or later bad times will circle back to good times.

Do you think that I could get something to eat around here, sooner instead of later?

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