Goats, Boats, and Other Notes


Spent several hours this week sketching rough drafts for another illustration commission, Do You Have a Pebble in Your Pocket?, a book to teach small children counting through representation. The premise: A farm boy keeps a pebble for every goat he has in his pocket; then, when each goat returns to the barn, he places a pebble in a pouch. At the end of the day, he still has one pebble in his pocket and sets out to find the missing goat.

Here are clickable splendid scribbles of the present cover and title page designs:

GP-rd_cover  GP-rd_titlepg


Started work on the next tugboat commission. The Alice Moran is taking shape on the sketchpad. After working out a few more details and drafting a background of New York Harbor, I’ll do at least one more clean draft, then transfer to sturdier paper and bring out the paints.

If you haven’t seen the final, framed M. Moran painting (or images of the earlier stages), you are welcome skim through prior posts in the Captain’s Log (click and scroll down).

Other Notes:

At this point, Terry Treble Music Adventures I & II are still just for sale through me or MusicLearningCommunity.com staff directly. (No online order form just yet.)

I plunged into yet another revision (the fifth major one) of my opera libretto, an adaptation of The Antiquary by Sir Walter Scott. Good things are happening: crisping up some dialogue, incorporating more rhymes and wordplay, and reworking some arias. It’s nearly finished!

Among other projects started and standing, fleshing out and finalizing, I began reviewing two stories I’ll intertwine for a film script. But mum’s the word for now and awhile since it’s just getting underway–that gives you incentive to come back!

Dash it all, there’s an octopus on my paper!

Whatever could an octopus have to do with writing a paper? Read and “sea” for yourself.

As you may know, my official capacity–or rather, my capacious official title–at Principia College is “post-graduate teaching intern in writing, Teaching and Learning Excellence Center,” which in almost layman’s terms is “super-tutor for the erstwhile Writing Center.” Last term, we started a writing blog full of tips, WriteHereWriteNowWriteOn.wordpress.com. All entries are by Principia tutors and/or writing staff, past and present. Yes, you guessed it–this week was my turn.

For your edification and enjoyment, I present not one, but two entries!

An Awk-topodous Approach to Clunky Composition: Eliminating the “awkward sentence” and revising for clarity, with octopus jokes to spare. (Yes, it is okay to have fun writing. I mean that both ways–fun writing and fun while writing.) Perhaps you hear the connection between the octopus and writing: “oc” and “awk” sound the same.

Dash it all! The difference between dashes and hyphens (my debut entry).

Write on!

Nano. No. 2

One month later, I survive the Titanic (Principia’s musical production this term) and win NaNoWriMo for the second year in a row. I still have lots to do to finish the story (a continuation of my first NaNoNovel last year, the premise of which I had mused but never acted upon for years), but I am more motivated — and marginally excited 😉 — to finish it this year.



Pianississimo progress-o

What well-occupied weeks have passed! At risk of sounding diaristic, I recount that I have prepared and created several writing lessons and resources, which, troth; additionally, I have practiced and performed much music.  Both disciplines hath made opportunity for storybuilding ebb — but however quietly, progress has continued. Visual development for John Churchmouse tiptoes quietly forward through the pews, and my medieval fantasy novel advances idea-wise as research occurs. Also, this afternoon it occurred to me that perhaps John Churchmouse might visit a cousin who lives behind a carillon.

Time to practice.


But not octoberries. Unless you enjoy autumn-flavored cephalopods. Sounds like fodder for a seasonal sushi joint.

Maybe I should start a weekly wordplay page. (Wednesdays, to triple the alliteration.) Would you enjoy that (or read in the first place)?

The end of September and consequent beginning of the august month of October have brought news and continuing progress.

Results are in for Moonbeam Children’s Book Awards. Racing Pajamas did not place, but I am grateful that the books will be donated to libraries somewhere. Seeds will be planted & spread abroad to work in places I know not–and yield fruit.

Project Progress:

  • Revised Antiquary synopsis
  • Began compiling Antiquary set notes
  • Started T-shirt design projects (felt ready to do something shorter-term). First subject: Jack Frost of Guardian fame. And advancing my knowledge of Photoshop along the way.
  • Read a 500+ page book on the art of Disney animation & gleaned a lot: Artistic inspiration, food for thought, ideas for creative problem-solving, insight on the film-making process, tips for drawing/composing an animation shot/sequence
  • Received final details for Terry Treble Music Adventures 1 & 2 — the books will be finished (design-wise, not print-ready) this weekend!

This, of course, is on top of a full school/teaching schedule. (Which, I triumphantly add, included designing an annotated bibliography worksheet inspired by The Legend of Zelda.) Fall break begins tomorrow afternoon — a release from academia & the perfect opportunity to accomplish much.