*Afterthought #45 – Her Head in the Clouds

*Afterthought #45 is a reblog of a post, “My Head in the Clouds,” by children’s author, Bonny Becker. On December 4th and 5th, Bonny will be at Lopez Bookshop for two events. On Friday evening, she’ll share with adults about her experience collaborating with a Disney/Pixar artist on her latest book, Cloud Country. The next morning, she’ll lead a storytime with kids.

Bonny is on the faculty of Whidbey Writers Workshop, my MFA program alma mater, and I remember her excitement when she learned that Pixar artist Noah Klocek wanted her to write the text for his picture book. Bonny’s post describes her experience, and I was especially struck by the similarities in her writing process for a children’s book and my own process writing personal essays:

“I needed something for Gale [the main character in Cloud Country] to want or need to seed the story… stories that work have something deep driving them. Something that the creator often doesn’t even know themselves. There’s something there that keeps us coming back again and again to an idea or image or story seed or scene. So more looking at clouds. More pondering. More drafts trying to find my own story in this world.”

I’m looking forward to learning more about this author’s process in addition to hearing her read. Whenever Bonny read from her books at faculty readings at the MFA program residencies, the adult writers were on the edge of their seats. I expect the same will happen for Bonny’s audiences at Lopez Bookshop this weekend.

*“Afterthoughts” are my blog version of a practice followed in some Quaker meetings. After meeting for worship ends, people continue in silence for a few more minutes during which they’re invited to share thoughts or reflect on the morning’s worship. I’ve adopted the form here for last-day-of-the-month brief reflections on headlines, quotes, books, maybe even bumper stickers.

Books Around The Table

cover cloud pixar release

The call was unexpected and exciting. Disney Hyperion wanted to know if I’d be interested in helping a Pixar artist develop a picture book. Art director Noah Klocek had been selected for the Pixar Artist Showcase, a Pixar program in partnership with Disney Hyperion press that gives some of Pixar’s very talented artists a chance to express themselves more personally on a project of their own.

The names Pixar and Disney certainly got my attention. But I was cautious. I had lots of questions—first and foremost was this a project I could relate to? I knew that Noah had already created several story lines for the book and had a specific character and world in mind. So what was that world like? Would it be appealing to me and a place where I could see creating a story?

Disney sent me some sample art. It was totally charming. I loved…

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