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A Jumble of Astonishing Things

Full disclosure: I know both artists I’m highlighting today.

I’m enamored with what they’re both doing.  If you’re worried that I might be the teensiest bit subjective on topics such as these, I’d protest and say that I hold you, my reader, in high regard, and I would only recommend things I care about…and wish to share with you.  Shared joy is multiplied joy, I say.

First, if you have young children in your house (girls and boys!), you have to pick up Alison McGhee’s delightful Julia Gillian trilogy.  [Start with Julia Gillian and the Art of Knowing.]  Julia is a smart, clever girl (which makes her sound boring, but trust me, she isn’t!) who experiences the normal fears and pains of growing up.  Her best friend is a boy named Bonwit Keller, and her loyal companion and confidant is a dog named Bigfoot.

In the second book, Julia Gillian (and the Quest for Joy), Julia (who is now in fifth grade) finds herself increasingly estranged from her friend Bonwit, and she attributes it to all manner of reasons other than reality.  [Hmmm, how similar to us all!]  There’s a new lunch monitor who’s exceedingly strict, ruining every lunch period.  There’s the fact that Julia cannot make one squeak on the trumpet.  Even worse, she’s covering it all up with lies that simply slide right out of her mouth, unplanned.  What is going on?  Why is this happening?

Endearing and sweet, Julia is all of us–that innocent part of us that fails, over and over, to see how life works, and because of this trait that we all share, we’re in for some hard knocks, until we figure it all out.

These books are a must-have for your library.  Wonderful stories, great role models.  Who could ask for more?

Side note: For those of you who live in Minnesota and dream of being a writer, may I kindly suggest you take all of Alison’s classes at The Loft Literary Center?  They are, by far, the best classes I’ve taken at The Loft.  And by that I mean that there’s no nebulous, ooh-I-wave-my-magic-wand-and-somehow-I-know-how-to-write that creeps into her rhetoric.  She’s my kind of gal–hands-on, practical, I’ll-give-you-real-tips-you-can-take-home-and-immediately-apply. This is the first piece of advice I give writers in this area.

You can find Alison’s blog here.

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My friend Therese Krupp is a printmaker.  [I would send you to her website, but she doesn’t have one up and running yet.  If you want her contact information, email me at comment4elissa at gmail dot com, and I’ll connect you!]  Her latest prints are currently showing at Highpoint Center for Printmaking in Minneapolis.  Liliana and I met up with her this past Saturday morning.  She showed Liliana the printing presses and the large rooms in which all the artists work.  She showed us numerous other things–all with funky names I won’t remember.

Therese has a sly sense of humor.  When she says something, the only way you know she’s joking is by the twinkle in her eye, or how the corner of her mouth turns up.  Anyway, this little quirk (of the best kind!) shows up in her work.

Here’s the print I bought from her.  Can you guess the second reason I bought it (besides the fact that it’s very good)?

Can’t guess?  I’ll show you a close-up.

Still having difficulty?  Here’s the title of the piece.  Does that help?

So, you see, how could I resist?

*    *    *

And last but not least, I thought you might enjoy one of my recent interviews (done by Tim King of The David Group International), where I actually quote the earlier creation myth that existed before Adam and Eve were set in stone.  Something to ponder, anyway.

[Post image: Detail of Julia Gillian (and the Quest for Joy) by Alison McGhee cover]

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The quote I live by

Have patience with everything that remains unsolved in your heart. Try to love the questions themselves, like locked rooms and like books written in a foreign language. Do not now look for the answers. They cannot now be given to you because you could not live them. It is a question of experiencing everything. At present you need to live the question. Perhaps you will gradually, without even noticing it, find yourself experiencing the answer, some distant day.
--Rainer Maria Rilke in Letters to a Young Poet

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