Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, or Welcome Snow?

Two things seem to baffle people during the holidays. One is what we're allowed to call them, the other is what to get for the people we love.

I agree with Kristen Lamb that some of the best giving is anonymous--Angel Trees and the like.

When it comes to buying for my family, it's never that easy. I worry I'm spoiling my kids, then worry they'll get nothing they really want. And in my house, even though I buy early, I don't plan it all out. So the present opening process is never even. Usually the youngest gets the most presents, with us giving her sibs the small-toys-are-cheaper-than electronics explanation. This year, the middle child got the most. Her siblings finished opening their gifts, then we all sat there watching her open her remaining four or five, tempted to hum the Jeopardy thinking song. Do I have to add present-counting to  my already busy holiday schedule?

Next year, I think I'll buy them just three presents each, then give my kids what they really want: a gift card.
Or we'll skip the whole present thing and go on vacation. We give presents out of love. But there's something to be said for peace as well.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Turn Your Limits into Your Strengths

We've talked about looking at your work from a new angle. How about doing the same for obstacles? Here, my son the artist took the problem of a lamp post obstructing the subject's face and turned it into a pivotal piece of work.
For illustrators, what does deliberately chosen white space add to your focal point? For writers, does your character have a blind spot that might give her a unique dimension?
For all of us, what is one of your writing obstacles or blind spots? How do you work around it, or better, make it work for, rather than against, you?
I could swear I see a grand piano and an anvil in the background of this piece, also by my son. How does your focus allow the reader/viewer to use his or her imagination to fill in the open spaces beyond it?