Moments – It’s a bit of a flash. NPR Interview with Cynthia Rylant

 

Cynthia Rylant is the prolific author of over 100 children’s books. When asked about her writing process, she simply  believes it is a gift, the gift of language, she’s been blessed with…

“I really can’t explain it. When I first started writing, you know, I tried picture books. And, you know, I soon discovered that when I write, it’s a bit of a flash. It’s all of a sudden and kind of inspiration. And that’s true for all of the picture books. The poetry books, I’ll write a book of poetry in a day, and I’ll be done with it.”

In a “moment” an idea for a poem or book comes to her, which she sets to writing. If a short piece, the storytelling process may take only a day to complete.

The following is an excerpt from her November 10, 2013 interview with NPR host Arun Rath, How Cynthia Rylant Discovered The Poetry Of Storytelling”:

NPR -Cynthia Rylant is a renowned author who has written for all age groups and been honored with both Caldecott and Newbery prizes for her work.

Her latest book, God Got a Dog, is a collection of poems that only took her one day to write.

“One poem … just came out of the blue, and I sat down and I wrote it. And then after I finished writing it, I got an idea for another God poem, and so I wrote that one. And so it started in the morning and then by the end of the day, I was finished writing the book,” she tells All Things Considered host Arun Rath.

Driven by these bursts of inspiration, Rylant says her talent was “bestowed” rather than learned, and shares how her modest and isolated childhood shaped her work.

Here is the audio recording in full (6 mins 38 secs): NPR’s Arun Rath Interviews Cynthia Rylant.

Moments – Denial

Denial  

On December 30, 2012, after a one-hour trail run in the forests overlooking the Puget Sound, followed by a 75-minute Power Step class, I returned home, thankful for my strength, entered the kitchen pantry and took a lulu of a step.

The emergency room doctor returned with x-rays, shaking his head.

“No, this can’t happen now.  You see, I am in the process of moving from my house of 23 years and I have a major exhibition of my work opening in five days.”

“Look at me!” he said.

I was trying to bargain with the doctor, “This just can’t happen, especially now.”

“Look at me,” he repeated like a doctor.

I did, then eyed my bare and swelling and bruised legs.

“You have a broken left ankle and a foot broken in three places.”

Denial had kept me in my place in the Middle East, and now I was trying to get it to work in the Pacific Northwest and on my legs.  This time it was different…I couldn’t bargain with the fact that something was broken.

From 2006-2010 I lived and worked as an art professor at a women’s college in Kuwait.  I survived those years because for the most part, I denied the inequity of being a woman there and how it was breaking me. Two years later I published a book on this experience, Suitcase Filled with Nails: Lessons Learned from Teaching Art in Kuwait. In April 2013, it was republished by Booktrope Publishing and includes images that were featured in my exhibit I attended in a wheelchair.

Moments Contributor – Yvonne Pepin-Wakefield, artist and author of Suitcase Filled with Nails – Lessons Learned from Teaching Art in Kuwait