Thursday, June 15, 2006

Happy Swigging

I just wrote a catch-up email to Meg in which I got started listing the things I've been working on lately and couldn't seem to stop listing. I realized... there's been a LOT of work happening here lately. It made me feel good, especially since yesterday I got to check several things off my ever-present list: three new collections of images for my licensing agent, as well as mailing some prints of my Cricket cover off to an amazing school in India (more on that in a minute). In the midst of that I've been working on my revisions to Blackbringer and I THINK it's going well. I actually LIKE revising, for this reason: it's easier than writing!!

Then, some celebrating had to be squeezed in there somewhere, celebrating Jim getting to illustrate my book jacket, and just the book in general. The contract process was so long and halting and filled with waiting and anti-climax and more waiting there was never that one moment to throw a hat in the air and shriek, but now it's feeling more real all the time, talking "trim size" and other real, tangible things makes me realize: my book is going to have physical form and be in bookstores! So, that called for some happy swigging. Though tempted to go to our favorite restaurant Bombay Cricket Club, we branched out and tried a Cajun place called Acadia. We started with cocktails, then moved into wine with dinner, and then to some chocolate + liquor concoction for dessert, along with pecan pie and "gooey butter cake." Oh my. And I forgot to mention we opened a bottle of amazing zinfandel from our trip to San Luis Obispo before going out, so basically, we met our booze quota for the next several months, but we were still up before seven this morning, so all is well. (Though I did have a strange dream in which I had a peg leg, and not some fancy prosthesis either, but a plain pirate-style peg, and interestingly, it was extra long so I could wear it with my 5-inch-heeled cowboy boots!)

About the school in India: a few months ago I got one of my favorite emails of all-time, from a fellow whose company sends books and magazines to the Shanti Bhavan School in Bangalore, India. It's a school that takes destitute slum children right off the streets and gives them a world-class education. How about that? Why isn't there MUCH MORE of that in the world? Imagine if all rich people spent money setting up schools for poor children. That million dollars Lindsay Lohan spent on clothes last year? Anyway, the part that made it my favorite email of all-time was that the kids loved my Cricket magazine cover, because it's a scene set in India, and they said they thought I must have been Indian in a previous life! They renamed the painting "The Tigre Raj" which is so much better than my uninspired "Parade." It is so exciting knowing that kids around the world are seeing my art! There's just no feeling like it.

I've been feeling like I don't have much to write about in my blog lately. I've been just work-work-working, and when I read other people's blogs I'm often jealous of what a rich inner life they seem to have. For better or worse, I don't spend much time in self-contemplation. I just get up with Jim, eat breakfast, walk the dogs while daydreaming about work, then get home, brew coffee, and... work. Til about midnight. Hm. But we HAVE been showing signs of trying to live a little, and I don't mean just the swigging. The little one-night trips, little hikes, cafe-writing expeditions, those are a move in the right direction for us. But usually, we just want to be working!

23 comments:

paris parfait said...

Laini, that's fantastic about the children in India honouring your art! And the school thing is amazing and I'm going to investigate further - that needs more publicity. Am glad you and Jim had such a delicious celebration - you deserve it! All this publishing stuff is hard work! And like you, I think revisions are easier than writing! :)

Cate said...

I wanted to add this to the list of things/places your book is going to soon be--IN MY HANDS! Can't wait to see the book (congrats to your Jim) and read your words!

Also, what a beautiful story about the Shanti Bhavan School--I loved what the kids said about your "previous life," and their title for your glorious, gorgeous painting! Wonderful. That's the kind of news that will make me smile all day, knowing how you've touched children's lives!

Your celebration sounds like it was deservedly decadent and scrumptious, esp. the gooey butter cake! And your life sounds perfect, like it's just where it is supposed to be!

Congrats. a zillion times over! xo

Anonymous said...

You should watch an amazing documentary film 'Born into Brothels' (or some variation of that title.) I wonder if that school is featured in the film? If you watch it, let me know what your impressions are. It's about a female photographer that teaches children of Indian prostitutes how to use a camera. Susie (zannadruk@yahoo.com)

Sarah e.Smith said...

Your talent never ceases to amaze me! That cover for Cricket is just devine! Congrats!!! It does sound like you have a lot on your plate right now, but everything waxes and wanes :)I saw one of your beautiful ladies in my favorite catalong, Signals, I was just smitten to see it there :) Congrats!!!

aithbhreac said...

No worries, Laini, you always have plentitudes of fabulous things to write about in your blog. You are living the rich inner life, not just thinking it. And from my seat out here in corporateland, to wake up and write, paint, or generally create is a dream I only hope I can figure out how to make work in real life one day.

Mardougrrl said...

See, I love reading your blog not only because you are an incredible writer and have a world-class imagination, but also because you DOO things, unlike some of us (ahem, ME LOL) who are way more thinkers than doers.

You are one of my greatest inspirations!

The email and the school sound wonderful.

andrea said...

You have been busy. Actually, you are living what sounds like a perfect life to me. I'm having one of those today: get up, get everyone fed and launched to school, 40 minute run through the nature trails with the dog, home for a brief moment on the computer (now!), shower, then paint all day. Lately I've been catching up on all those chores that accumulate when you have kids and a husband who works long hours away from home and you are also trying to forge a career. All I really want to do is paint, run, and hang out with my kids.

The magazine cover is delightful -- I can see how kids would respond immediately to it: the colour, detail and romance.

harmonyinline said...

Congratulations on your book and I agree the magazine cover is fantastic.

M said...

You sound like you're having so much fun! I'd love to be busy working instead of always obsessing over my internal life, so maybe I need to find some balance as well.
The cover for the school in India sounds brilliant! I'd love to see a pic of it. What a great idea. I think starting schools for poor children is an amazing idea- where can we start!?!?
have a great weekend! And don't work too hard.

Amber said...

I love love LOVE to hear about your work! I would be happy to read even things you think are lame or not too exciting about your work. I think it is very interesting, and it inspires me! And I like that your blog is a happy place. I like that you see the lighter side of life, and the magic all around! Don't change. The world needs souls like you!

How wonderful about that cover, and th ekids in India! I can just imagine them. That is cool. And I SO agree with you about the good rich people could do... My brother and I were just talking about that yesterday! He served in Iraq, and he got to talking about how irritated he gets that people spend so much money on cars and dresses for things like award shows, when they could do so much with that same money in places like Iraq, or Africa, or India... It seems like a sin. I don't think I could imagine living a life where I would spend five thousand dollars on an air-conditioned dog house, when I could build a whole house for a family in one of these places! How do you do that?

okay! enough about that. LOL!

:)

anahata katkin said...

Viva la Work! Goodness I know what you mean. Me and you are two peas from the same pod eh? It's wierd when you love what you do all you want to do is that. Then you look down and realize you still have a body to nurture, a house to clean, a social life to attend. I'm starting to feel like I i live two lives.

I can just see those sweet Indian kids loving your illustrations. Sugar magic yes!
Well if your reading this then you aren't working...Off to work you go...hehehe..

AnnieElf said...

Congratulations to both you and Jim. So glad, after all the waiting, that things turned out as you hoped. And that school link. Amazing. I am going to find out how I can get books to them and more importantly, what books they need. Wish there was more of this in the world.

Colorsonmymind said...

If I could illustrate like you I think I would be all work too.

Your night out sounds so fun, and I am so happy that the kids enjoyed your cover. That must feel so good.

Kim G. said...

Congrats again on all the good things coming your way regarding your work. It is truly a special priviledge to do what you love and I'm so glad you share the adventure with us!

I loved the Indian illustration when you shared it awhile ago on your blog. We have friends living in India that also have set up schools like the Shanti Bhavan School that help the lower caste children receive an education. We also have a friend that is working with officials in the Indian government to stop the discirminatory practices against the people of lower caste systems. The discrimination has been outlawed since the early 90's but it is so deeply entrenched in their religion and cultural practices, and it is extremely difficult for people to take advantage of the rights that are theirs by law. I know that this school will be blessed by your generosity! Thanks for sharing your great news!

liz elayne said...

you inspire me to get to work though...there is a balance some where i am sure...and you will find it...but i think you are doing well my dear.

chest of drawers said...

Fantastic! You want to be working! How many people can really say that they are happy about what they do? A lot of bloggers are still trying to find out what kind of work makes them happy - I´m happy that the 2 of you don´t need to dig deep to find it.

tinker said...

I wouldn't say it's a lack of a rich inner life - but that you're living your life out loud! A preferable choice, in my opinion. Much more interesting than navel-gazing (and not as much lint, either).
Thank you for the link to the school-I hope someday I'll be in a position to support such worthwhile projects - meanwhile it's just good to know that good things continue to happen in the world.
I wonder if you had a peg-leg in your former life in India...

Brandi said...

You are just amazing, can I just tell you. You always have something so interesting going on. Thank you for your comment on my blog. I am not sure what an illustrator really is but I think that is more what I want to be. Fine arts is too much pressure and I dont like things perfect but I love art. School will really help me learn some great stuff to take out there and abstract the crap out of ;-) Thanks again for your support and responses. They always make me feel better! So add me to the list of people you always seem to be helping out! Brandi

Susannah said...

Laini i envy your fantastic work ethic! one day i hope we will meet and talk about book revisions over coffee :-) i love knowing more about your process, and how busy your days are - i find it so inspiriing. my usual MO is to sit around thinking - and while this may be part of a 'rich inner life' it's also not terribly productive, so coming here reminds me to get on with the work in hand! Can't wait to read the book, and see Jim's illustrations
Sx

DuhhhBlond said...

"when I read other people's blogs I'm often jealous of what a rich inner life they seem to have"

puh-leeze...
you would make anyone envy all your wonderful accomplishments and wonderful ability to inspire!

HoBess said...

You are so lucky that you can live doing what you love. So many people get stuck in Cubicle-ville and their creative self gets stuffed in a file drawer. Remember that so many of us who stop by here see the grass greener in your yard than in our own and that, working together, we've pulled many more weeds than we could have alone! I'm so excited to hear about all your projects coming to fruition!

VespaRosso said...

Laini -- that Cricket cover is GORGEOUS! I loved Cricket as a child, and I'm glad to see it's still making its mark on other children.

Thanks for stopping by my site and saying hello. Always nice to know where the hits on sitemeter are coming from!

I'm with you on Jack...anytime someone tries to stop him I wonder what the hell they're thinking :). I'm on Season 4 right now and it just keeps getting better and better.

Congrats on all the good happenings with your book!

Marilyn said...

That's so fabulous about the kids in India. I'll bet you WERE an Indian in a previous life. ;) And you know, as much as we all love blogging, LIFE is so much better, eh? :)