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.

Dreamscape

Wish dreams were softly draped in strands like cultured pearls,

rather than fragments seen through a cracked mirror,

broken bits and pieces of memories,

sojourns to unfamiliar places,

images tossed about on scattered seas,

thoughts like tumbleweeds,

repeating over and over again.

This was a one-sentence exercise. It’s liberating to write a stream of thought… let if flow and see where it goes. Give it a try and add yours to the comment section.

For your listening enjoyment: String of Pearls by Glen Miller.

Gwen Frostic – Environmentalist, Nature Writer, Artist and Publisher

To Those Who See – A book of lovely poetry and thoughts…. both soothing and inspirational. GwenFrostic.com

Winds and cold days —
warm sunlight and running sap —-
chilly nights… then cold again…
between these fluctuations the vernal spirit is steadily
transforming the earth from its cold sleep into its era of
expectations and fulfillment……..

Snow is melting — making little rivers run into still pools —– the air is warm — as cedars begin
to show the fresh green of renewed life……

The sun is setting slightly father toward the north..

In the night a sharp wind brings new snow —
the day is dark with clouds — birds fluff their feathers
and face the wind……

…. but the sun is rising a little earlier and going
down a little later — each day…..

Pussy willows are silvery greys — oiser – intense
reds —– the long golden twigs of the willows are
swaying — omens of things to come….

As the sun makes each day a little longer —-
each night a little shorter……..

Excerpted from To Those Who See [wilderness print: cedar in snow]

I introduced my friend Laura to Frostic’s work the other day. So this post is for you Laura and all those that are environmentalists, naturalists -passionate about the natural world and preserving it in all its wonder and beauty. My mother introduced me to Gwen Frostic’s work back in the ’60s when I was a teenager. Nearly 40 years later I was able to find her the entire collection of Frostic’s smaller books of wilderness block prints and poetry on handmade papers. I have two of Frostic’s small books  – To Those Who See and Contemplation, and treasure them. The other small book titles are A Place on Earth, These Things are Ours, Beyond Time, published by her own printing company, Presscraft Paper in Benzonia, Michigan. On October 26, 2009, Gwen Frostic Prints/Presscraft Papers was closed to the public by Honor State Bank. Listen to the radio report on IPR.

Here is some background information about Gwen Frostic from Wikipedia:

Life – Gwen Frostic (April 26, 1906 – April 25, 2001) born as Sara Gwendolyn Frostic, was an artist, author, and Michigan Women’s Hall of Fame inductee. Frostic was born in Sandusky, Michigan to Sara and Fred Frostic. When she was 8 months old she suffered from an unknown illness which left her with lifelong symptoms similar to cerebral palsy. Despite physical difficulties Frostic showed an early interest and aptitude for art. In June 1924 she graduated from Theodore Roosevelt High School in Wyandotte, where she was known for using a band saw to create event posters for her school. She continued her studies at Eastern Michigan University earning her teacher’s certificate and gaining membership in Alpha Sigma Tau sorority. In 1926 she transferred to Western Michigan University and left in 1927 without completing her degree. She continued her artistic endeavors in metal and plastic, while occasionally teaching, but with the war came a lack of metal to work with and she turned to linoleum block carving. Frostic then turned her linoleum block carving into stationery goods and prints which led to her starting her own printing company, Presscraft Papers. In the early 1950s Frostic opened up a shop selling her prints, books, and other items in Frankfort and in 1960 she bought 40 acres of land in Benzonia with the intention of moving her and her shop. On April 26, 1964 her new shop was open for business and she lived there until her death in 2001.

Awards – Frostic was granted several honorary doctorates from Alma College, Eastern Michigan University, Western Michigan University, Michigan State University, and Ferris State University. In 1978 the governor of Michigan declared May 23rd as Gwen Frostic Day in Michigan. In 1986 she was inducted into the Michigan Women’s Hall of Fame. Western Michigan University named its school of art after her in 2007: the Gwen Frostic School of Art.

As I searched the Internet for “Gwen Frostic”, I was delighted to find that there are teenagers and young adults discovering and appreciating Frostic’s artistry and writing. One young girl posted a YouTube of her excitement of visiting the Gwen Frostic retail store, a college student videotaped her first attempt at hand-signing an interpretation of literature -Frostic’s poem Individuality. It appears that Frostic’s legacy will continue to inspire generations to come.