Last week, author and illustrator Ashley Wolff provided me with a link to a fairly new site called “Show and Tell Me,” author Amy Timberlake’s brainchild.  She invites children’s book creators to “show and tell” where they work and/or a favorite place.   Amy also has added rousing quotations, encouraging others to contribute favorites, too.  Two more options are the “made it” and “found it” categories, with submissions that already include an original song, an adopted mutt, a beautifully crafted sweater, and, my favorite post — a life-sized Moss Man.

Ashley and I admittedly are gaga over this green guy.  Sara Pennypacker, whose quirky and irrepressible Clementine is one of my favorite book characters, somehow created the horticultural hunk (pictured below).

Sara Pennypacker's Moss Man

A first visit to this site had a big impact on me – a visual reminder that creative pursuits beyond writing and illustrating are part of the natural order, part of the creative person’s job description, if you will, in the same way that Stephen King insists in his memoir On Writing, that reading is not merely recreational if one is a writer, but a necessary and inviolable part of any work day.   Such reading and creative efforts, seemingly unrelated to the work-in-progress, can’t help but rejuvenate the reader/creator and enrich one’s subsequent work.  For me, the immersion in b-girl culture has been proof of this dynamic.  My delight in the dance form not only has enriched my life, but, ultimately, the content of my tween novel.

On the same day that Ashley shared news about the site, I heard a portion of an interview on NPR with Julia Schor, bestselling author of Born to Buy and, her latest book, Plentitude:  The New Economics of True Wealth.  This economist responds to the huge challenges of the current moment by preaching sustainability, but suggesting that it is not a paradigm of sacrifice.  I listened to her praising the people around the country and world who are creating lifestyles that offer a way out of the work-and-spend cycle (see: “The Story of Stuff”).  She gave examples of the richness inherent in creative endeavors.

Timberlake’s site and a kidlit community at the cutting edge of this change provide inspiration as well.  Those examples make me more determined than ever to sign up, with seven-year-old Ryder, for the intergenerational hip hop dance class this fall and to dust off my floor loom, standing unused for years.  I’ve been ignoring the periodic emailed schedule of Riddle’s Elephant Experience Weekend openings – not sure I’m up to cutting pachyderms’ toenails, though bathing and feeding them would thrill me.  I ought to decide if I’m going to finally do this… and when.

A plunge into something entirely foreign would be good for the soul and good for the work, too, I suspect.  The perennial garden that surrounds our abode is a source of deep pleasure now – definitely an example of Schor’s metric of “wealth” — but  I remember the drizzly day when I began the project with a dozen tiny tiarella plants, looking overwhelmed and pathetic in a plot that was a fraction of a grassless expanse — once our poor excuse for a yard.  “When pigs fly….” was a thought that crossed my mind during that first foray into gardening.

When pigs fly...

Watering elephants in addition to hosta might be just the thing.  Or something that inspires me at “Show and Tell Me.”  I’m adding it to my list of links because it’s definitely worth checking out.

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3 Comments on “SHOW AND TELL”

  1. Show and Tell Me – Another brilliant idea from Amy Timberlake! I agree, the Moss Man is the COOLEST.

  2. Just catching up on your blog and that moss man literally made my heart skip a beat! He is creepy and cool all at once.

    Love that you remember the very beginnings of that gorgeous garden of yours. How you kept at it, year after year, believing in its potential, celebrating each sprout, taking time to water and weed and water and wait, trusting that in due time it would grow into something beyond even your wildest imagination. And, of course, it did. Reminds me of Toad waiting all night long for his seedling to sprout and Frog gently assuring him that it would, indeed grow big and tall…”But WHEN!!!????” “Soon, Toad, soon.”

    • tuniemb Says:

      Thanks, love. I “get” the message and appreciate the reminder. Timely, as I’ve just posted an update on the process.

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