Tuesday, July 27, 2021

The Special Demands of Picture Book Writing


The other day, I watched an old panel discussion of famous novelists whose books have been turned into successful films. YouTube is full of old treasures like these. Between writing, revising, and laundry— hanging out with these writers (all of them now gone) is my favorite sort of break.


Not one of the writers on this panel wrote their novels’ film adaptations. One, Kurt Vonnegut, said he simply couldn’t because writing a novel is what he does best and writing a screenplay is too different.


It occurred to me that while many think they could write picture books, few who try actually write true picture books. Vignettes, shorter short stories, a scene--- all pass for  picture book texts in the eyes of beginning writers. True picture books are something different.


True picture book texts are poetry, rhyming or not. In addition, they are screenplays, where the main action is told in images. They also require the skill of flash-fiction writing, as the word count tops up at 600-800 words. Unlike this blog post, it shouldn’t use passive construction. The story must be layered and complete.


I’m almost certain Kurt Vonnegut would have said he couldn’t write a picture book.

Tuesday, July 20, 2021

National Pickle Month


    I recall early July of 1974, when I arrived in the United States.

I grew up in Israel, a dual citizen of both countries. I had no memory of my ten-month visit to the USA when I was two years old, and so for me this was a get-acquainted-with-America summer.


One of the first things that struck me was a billboard that stated—ready for this?

July is National Pickle Month

I asked the American with whom my friend and I stayed what made it “national.” Was this a joke?

“Congress decreed it so,” she said.

Really? Like, they have nothing better to do?

I remember realizing something about my other county: it was playful, whimsical, and a wee bit silly. Having grown up in a country where the government’s work is serious existential business, the United States seemed downright Disneyland-goofy.


Yes, there were ongoing hearings that culminated for the first time in U.S. history in a president resigning only a month later. There were protests and divisions over the pain of a war the nation had just lost, (despite calling the end of our involvement in Vietnam a “peace agreement”) and so on.


But congress still had the energy to declare a National Pickle Month.


Something about this still sums America for me.


So, in addition to celebrating this pickle before it ends, I thought I’d list a few more such garnishes below. Let’s celebrate while we still have the energy to jitterbug in those parties:

January 4: National Spaghetti Day🍝

February 5: Shower with a Friend Day😳

March 1: National Pig Day 🐖(hey, it’s also my birthday)


A comprehensive list can be glimpsed here.

But to me, National Pickle Month reigns supreme.

Tuesday, July 13, 2021


I’m allowing myself to indulge in some just fun (for whom? for me) photos I  post here. I hope you, too, will enjoy looking at today’s peek into another's life.

Hey, it’s summer. 🌞

Summer used to mean a break. 👙

I haven’t earned a break, but I’m sort of taking it. 🍨

So here are some of my favorite things:

{Technically, only the first and last are “things”}

One crust apple pie with streusel topping^
Miss Nougat^
Ms. Clara^
Mr. Sokolov^
One enchanted evening from my window^

How about yours?

Tuesday, July 6, 2021



Say what?

Alternative title:

Writing without Fear

There’s a lot of fear in the air for those who blog, vlog, post, text, email, or write in any way that is considered “published.”


Fear that our words would be flagged as not woke (a.k.a PC) enough.

Fear that years from now our texts will be quoted when we apply for a job.

Fear that if we write about people from our lives, (IRL=in real life) they will be hurt.

Fear that if we write about fictional characters, someone in real life would think it’s them.

Fear that later we’ll cringe at the quality of our old writing.


The common thread is FEAR. 😨


What to do?

My personal resolution is to write anyway, and tip my virtual hat to the fears. Yup, I know you’re there, but I’m doing it anyway, so there.


My greatest fear is that I won’t have anything worth saying. So as long as I think I do, I’m glad of that.


I don’t think there’s such a thing as living without fear. Fearlessness is the appearance some convey to others. I bet that inside, the fearless are quaking and then do it anyway.