Wednesday, July 14, 2004

Summer School

So for those of you who don't know, I'm currently taking a Children's Book Illustration course at Miami U with this published kids' writer named Catherine Siracusa. She won the Children's Choice Award a few years back for her big hit "The Giant Zucchini." It's really great experience so far, but it's exhausting as hell since Miami is about a 45-50 minute drive from my house (I drove it in 35 today.) and I draw/write from about 8:30 am until 5 pm. For kicks, and with the creative brainstorm talk I had with Bryan, I decided to write and illustrate a story about Wink, the accidentally magical cat (woot), and who is based on my cat, Scout.

Not surprisingly, this experience has provided for some interesting times with the people in my class and at Miami ("back-up" school numero uno).

My class is comprised of thirteen people, including myself, the majority of whom are at least over thirty, if not forty.

To put it shortly, I have been introduced to the scary, creepy world of disgruntled adults who have been rejected by publishing companies and seek revenge. Granted, not every adult in the class is like this stereotype. Let's do a run-down of the standouts in the class.

Two kind women from Cleveland: currently sleeping in the dorms, met in college 20 years ago and love being roommates again, been published in kids' magazines. The two are very nice women, despite a certain grudge they hold against Random House, Inc. They are very chummy with our instructor and I think they have mutual friends due to the publishing industry.

Frank: at least 75 years old, fourth year taking this course. Frank is writing a story about his cat, Declawdia, and is not very good at drawing cats or people.

Now, I don't rock at either, but we sit next to one another, and although Frank could kick my ass at drawing steam engine trains and watercolor landscapes any day, my cat is mos def out-doing his cat.

Today I noticed that he stands angrily over me while I draw sometimes, and this creeps me out. He is very defensive about his cat and will bring Declawdia up into conversation with little or no prompting.

The other day, he snapped at the one of the two other girls my age when she referred to his scissors as hers. ("WHOSE scissors did you say those were?! MYYYY scissors!")

Silent angry guy: about mid or late twenties. see name for description.

Ericka: most likely mid-twenties, taking the class so she can finally graduate with her art degree from Miami, a year late.

She doesn't show up for class until afternoon.

Debbie: My PERSONAL favorite. Early to mid 50s. First day, she gave a two minute introduction to herself, when we were asked to give just our names. She also asked our teacher if there was a crucial difference between the terms "educational books" and "teaching books."

She demands the instructor's attention for half of the day and criticizes other people's work, even though hers is terrible.

(Note: She is writing her story, with her, "Grandmother Deidre," as the MAIN character.(good thing she changed her name, "grandmother deidre" will be much less of a mouthful for the kiddies as compared to "grandma debbie" or just "gramma").

Kids just love reading stories from the perspective of their grandparents. Especially when the kids themselves are secondary figures in the story and all the large spreads are just of the grandmother.

It's also good of Debbie to take up two tables of workspace. I mean, she REALLY deserves it with that killer story of hers.

Debbie brought in goat cheese on Tuesday to share with the class. When someone asked where she bought it from, she snapped that "Iiiiiiiii have a goat. Myyyyyyy goat MADE it." When the girl, embarassed, asked where she could buy some cheese like Debbie's, Debbie responded: "HOW should Iiiiii know?? I MAKE me cheese, REMEMBER?"
I don't often see goats pasteurizing their own dairy products, but whatever.
And damn it, I did eat her cheese. But it doesn't mean I have to like her.

Tuesday, she also brought in examples of her own artwork with woodcuts rather than bringing in her favorite kids' book, as our instructor had asked. But hey, what's the difference, right??

Today, she brought in a crystal vase and daylilies. This single vase took up a third table that was previously someone else's workspace. I thought perhaps she was using it to observe while drawing it, but no.

She just brought it.

To bring.

And to show off.

And to tell the teacher when she just politely commented, "Oh those are nice," that she not only has those, but she also has twenty other varieties of daylily. Good thing Debbie is God and created daylilies for all of us to appreciate.

Today we had to have a group photograph taken of our class. I believe that we organized ourselves the best that any group of humans ever have for a photograph. Seriously perfect. Two exact lines with perfect height and our teacher sitting in front (holding the vase of Debbie's daylilies).

Well. It was perfect. Until Debbie decided she was meant for stardom, and literally positioned herself exactly in the middle, not in any line but between the two lines, and directly in front of one of the nice women from Cleveland. Incredible.

Debbie and Frank don't like each other. They argued about Frank's cat today. That was terribly amusing. I'm afraid I'm behind drawing because I'm too busy listening in on everyone's conversations.

Also. If you've read this far, here are some interesting differences between Miami U and Northwestern, as well as FYI about Miami...

1. Miami's student center has a nicer dining area indoors.
2. Miami's outdoor dining cannot compare by default of not having a lake.
3. Girls: If you are in need of some sort of female necessity, don't rely on a.) any bathrooms in all of the student center being open because they'll all be under repair. and b.) the one bathroom that IS open having any of said necessities. Good plan: go across campus to find open bathroom that carries the goods (this will take a while.)
4. Miami is beautiful. No denying it. Beautiful.
5. Miami has multiple fine arts buildings. Northwestern has one.
6. Guys at Miami: J-Crew models.
7. Girls at Miami: anorexic.
8. Volleyball campers will die under the blood-stained wheels of my vehicle if the persist to meander in the roads. (This really is nothing about Miami, but it's important.)
9. Miami has fountains. The Rock used to be a fountain.
10. There's nothing to do in Oxford, but there's lots of parking!

So this has been an incredibly long entry and I bet half of it was about Debbie. So... I'm going to go work on my drawings. Thanks for bein a pal and readin'. :)


Sunday, July 4, 2004

Eight Points of Importance

1. Work today was actually kind of fun and flew by, despite little cashiering. Shocking, I know.

2. I am reading Word Freak, the book of Scrabble drama. I'm really excited to play Scrabble again...maybe even Speed Scrabble.

3. I went out with Abby from Old Navy after work to Fridays for a really late dinner. It was nice. I also made plans to hang out with Cat and Matt Zito to discuss F9/11 next week or so. The prospect and reality of hanging out with fun people from work after hours is wonderful.

4. Tonight I drove by Kings Island as the fireworks crowds were dispersing. It was surreal because I:
a. always go.
b. didn't go this year.
c. saw the traffic and remembered EVERY other year I've gone with Brandon, Michael, and company, leaned out the windows of the bug in dead-stop traffic and sang overly patriotic songs to people in other cars, getting them to sing along with me and my friends. There's nothing quite as wonderfully abnoxious as three lanes of traffic singing "Fifty Nifty United States."

5. I work on the Fourth. I am:
a. half sad (because I'll be working during part of my FAVORITE holiday, and I'll not get to drive around and shout overly patriotic things at people who are out in their frontyards or on their porches.)
b. half happy (because I get time and a half and can be overly patriotic to customers instead. i plan to wear some horrendous red, white, and blue outfit.)

6. Possible breakfast party with Brandon and Michael tomorrow to watch Roddick and Federer. Who's siked? I am!

7. Speaking of "siked," I watched the "Las Vegas Wedding" conclusion to Saved By the Bell: The College Years, yesterday. I never saw it before, and only now is life worth living.

8. I miss school. (Bunches.)