Thursday, October 2, 2014

And now . . .

You must be tired of me blathering on about my progress on the next book.

I know I am.

So I am just going to post some interesting things i've found trolling the web.


gifs of how things are made.
just cause it’s so cool

what authors did before writing
In 1977, author-illustrator Simms Taback designed and illustrated the first Happy Meal box for McDonald’s.
  • One of the first professional ventures of author Florence Parry Heide was to attempt a hot fudge sauce company with a friend, but a dislike of cooking put that project on the back burner (so to speak).
  • Illustrator Ted Lewin’s 1993 book, titled I Was a Teenage Professional Wrestler, is all about how he was … well, a teenage professional wrestler, all to raise money for art school at Pratt Institute. He lived what he called his “double life: Renoir, Rubens, and Picasso by day; headlocks, hammerlocks, and flying tackles by night.”
  • The great Sid Fleischman was once a magician, having taught himself sleight-of-hand from books. As a teenager, he toured the country with such vaudeville acts as Mr. Arthur Bull’s Francisco Spook Show.
  • Author-illustrator Virginia Lee Burton intended to make dance her career but married a well-known artist, fell in love with the artistic life, and brought us Mike Mulligan and his steam shovel Mary Anne instead.
  • YA author Terra Elan McVoy was once an editorial assistant at Blue Sky Press, an imprint of Scholastic, and assisted with answering fan mail for the Captain Underpants books. “Though there were a lot of things I enjoyed about my job, I have to say that getting to write to an enthusiastic Captain Underpants fan, and choosing what exact thing to send to him or her, was definitely one of my favorite tasks. Sometimes, I even got a thank you letter back!”
  • Author Scott O’Dell once worked on a citrus ranch.
  • Author-illustrator Sergio Ruzzier was once an un-folder and re-folder of Persian rugs.
  • Author and poet Eve Merriam was a fashion editor atGlamour.
  • Author Ayun Halliday once had a gig as Bert of Bert and Ernie at a suburban shopping mall when she was “an extremely underemployed actress. It gives me a lot of sympathy for the poor saps currently peering out the eyeholes of Angelina Ballerina, Captain Underpants, and Clifford the Big Red Dog.”
  • YA author Lisa Yee wrote the slogan, “Pass the Old El Paso”; wrote jingles and Red Lobster menus; had a Hollywood gossip column; invented cereals and ice cream flavors; and was once a hand model.
  • During World War Two, author-illustrator Robert McCloskey invented the machine that allowed lieutenants to flip over large training charts in a high breeze.
  • Author-illustrator Don Brown was once a professional clam digger.
  • Before she brought us The Indian in the Cupboard, author Lynne Reid Banks was the first woman reporter on British television.
  • One of YA author Cecil Castellucci’s first jobs was to insert time codes into the transcriptions from documentary footage so that editors could get to the footage easily. For The Matrix DVD, they interviewed a girl, age 15, who dressed up as Trinity. Cecil was also a film extra and was once called in to interview as a child ape in Tim Burton’s Planet of the Apes. She didn’t land the role but got to try on ape masks at Rick Baker’s special effects make-up studio. The 15-year-old girl later became the character Egg in her novel Boy Proof, and the make-up studio inspired her to make Egg’s dad a special effects designer.
  • Author Bruce Coville was once a gravedigger. “Consider it hands-on research for a scene I once wrote in The Ghost Wore Gray,” he told us. “It was nepotism – my grandfather ran the cemetery. It was a small country cemetery, and we still dug graves by hand. So I know what it’s like to lie down at the bottom of a grave and look up. (I mean, when else would I have the chance?) There was something peaceful about digging graves, and I found it a good time to think.” He joins the ranks of author Meindert DeJong, no less, who also once dug graves, as well as Allan Ahlberg: “I became a gravedigger by a process of elimination. I vaguely wanted to be a writer and I didn’t want a career. I had been a plumber’s mate, a soldier and a postman. I was looking for a job in the open air where they left you alone.”
  • To support himself in college, author-illustrator Marc Brown “took a job at a television station. My first assignment was to make more people want to watch the weather report…I decided to dress the weather reporter, Shirley, up as a weather fairy; she’d swing onto the set on a big swing with her gossamer wings flapping behind her. My boss didn’t see the humor: he gave me a free Christmas ham—and fired me.”
  • Young Adult author Gabrielle Zevin once sold bras, which was “excellent practice,” she told us, “for getting into the heads of adolescent girls. Essentially one long Judy Blume novel.”
  • One of author-illustrator Roxie Munro’s first jobs was as courtroom artist for television/newspapers, her first trial being Watergate.
  • Illustrator Karla Gudeon once worked for The Erotic Bakery in New York City.
  • Young adult and middle-grade novelist Todd Strasser once owned an X-rated fortune cookie company.
  • Before he became a children’s poet, J. Patrick Lewis was a Professor of Economics for thirty years. “So, changing fields was tantamount to transgender surgery,” he told us. “I had to undergo a very delicate operation.”
  • Author David Elliott once worked as a cucumber-washer in Greece and a popsicle-stick-maker in Israel.
  • Newbery winner Maia Wojciechowska, who was a fan of bullfighting, once was a matador in Mexico.
Author-illustrator Barbara McClintock sums it up well when, asked if she’s ever had an unusual or eccentric job of her own, she responds: “I think that’s a pretty accurate job description of what I’m doing now.”