Sunday, July 20, 2014

The DaVinci Load


Get ready for some non-stop*, roaring*, off-the-hook* "Saturday" ACTION ACTION ACTION*!

*It will stop, eventually.
*Actually quiet.
*I'm not sure what "off the hook" actually means.
*If you think of updates about a children's book as "action", then, yes: this will be action.  But of the lower-case variety.

I'm still working on the cover.  And it is still all manner of fun.  What manner, specifically?  The drawing manner, mostly.  Which is my favorite of the manners.  I'm debating whether or not to show the cover to you once it's finished or keep it a secret so that it's a surprise.  I've tried to strike a balance between how much to share (because I'm excited to share it with you) and how much to keep secret.  There are no Darth Vader-esque paternity reveals or anything, but I've only shared a fraction of "Saturday" here, which means there's still a ton of fun stuff to discover once the book finally comes out.

And speaking of keeping things secret, this strange little image is from a page that I've never shown:

It's one of the many odd things in "Saturday" that, taken out of context, probably seems completely mental.  It's meant to look like a DaVinci invention sketch.  Fedoras existed in 15th century Italy, right?

When I was a little kid reading Chris Van Allsburg books (The Stranger, The Polar Express, The Wreck of the Zephyr) and Holling Clancy Holling books (Paddle to the Sea, The Tree in the Trail), it never occurred to me that books like that were written and drawn by human beings.  Sure, their names were on the covers, but the books were otherworldly.  My favorite books seemed so good that I never imagined a normal human being could have created them.  A team of artistic robots?  Possibly.  Super advanced alien artists?  Also maybe.  But humans?  Nah.  Or, if they had been human, they must have been geniuses.

Certainly not real people who brushed their teeth and forgot where they parked.  To me, these books were perfect, and how could something that good come from regular old people?  And even as I got older, there was always a separation in my mind between me and people who created great stuff.  They could do it but I couldn't because I wasn't talented enough.  I was a regular, flawed person.

But the truth is that they were all regular people (Ok, DaVinci was probably a genius.  And he probably never lost his car and may never have brushed his teeth.  But I'd bet he worried about normal human things and sometimes farted when he thought no one else was in his workshop).  Granted, you have to be a little different to do this kind of work.  But you don't have to be a genius. 

 It's true, I've been called a genius many times.  But since it was always by gym teachers, other drivers, and anyone who's seen me do math, I don't think it counts.  And I'm also not saying that "Saturday" is a masterpiece or even that it's comparable to my favorite books as a kid.  But I'm a regular Joe and I wanted to write and illustrate a book.  And I did.  And, what's more, I think the fact that neat things can come from regular human beings makes those creations all the more significant.

I imagine that things come easily to a genius.  They catch a fly ball without thinking, compose music with ease, send rockets and satellites into space on a lark.  Me, I sweat and worry and curse and struggle.  But sometimes I can get through it and even have something to show for it in the end.


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