Thursday, November 27, 2014

My Interview with Kirkus about STAR STUFF

I had the privelege of being interviewed by the wonderful Jules Danielson from Kirkus and Seven Impossible Things Before Breakfast (I am a huge fan of hers btw). Here is the interview

Monday, November 24, 2014

Watching Clouds Pass By

Such a long absence (again). I have been loving island life for the first time since getting here since we moved away from the sugar cane fields. 

Many mornings I go to the beach, since we live so close now, and I hop onto a stand up paddle board and head out into the inlets around this little island in the middle of the Indian ocean. Last week there was a particularly calm day and as I was navigating the bay out here, a stingray jumped out of the water just in front of me. It was nothing short of thrilling being out in these gorgeous turquoise waters under the billowy tropical clouds. 

My afternoons I work. I have a book I am writing and two that I am illustrating and I head up into my studio and close the door for a few hours and focus. 

We have found a way to do hot yoga here now too (if you remember I was missing that quite a lot before). There is a building that was used as an office during the construction of the houses in our developement and Fred and I cleaned it up and brought in some heaters and a fan. We call it Hot Dodo Studio. 

Right now we are having a ball over here- working hard, but for the first time, playing and relaxing. It's a good balance- I'm sure it won't last, but it is delicious right now and I am enjoying every minute of it. 

Sunday, November 09, 2014

Happy Carl Sagan Day!


This is the first time in 3 or 4 years that I haven't been seeped in the world of Carl Sagan and recently I have been revisited my notes and photos from that time and remembering just how fun and interesting it was to learn about this man and his life. 

The book above is a book that I think is a likely candidate for the one that Dr. Sagan talks about in Cosmos- the one he read his local Brooklyn library when he was a kid. The wording in this is so very close to his description of the event- don't know for sure of course, but I think it is likely in any case. My friend Sharon Lovejoy had it in her book collection and reading it was a thrill because I imagined the young Carl reading it from cover to cover in one sitting. The language is beautiful and so similar to how he went on to speak, I wonder if it was a formative in his way of thinking about science - the prose has a lovely poetic cadence to it. 



Studied the Voyagers one and two and it eventually became clear that these would carry the narrative in a perfect open ended way- just like they carry the golden records. They became a representation not only for humanity and the Earth, but of Carl Sagan's big picture thinking and his ability to inspire. And even better, they actually left our solar system and entered inter-stellar space in time to include that event in STAR STUFF: Carl Sagan and the Mysteries of the Cosmos. 


As I was working on the book and looking around the internet and talking with people, I began to realize how Dr. Sagan's legacy continues. His ability to inspire I think was his greater gift- that inspiration shows up in having inspired generations to become explorers not only in science, but in a huge variety of fields and from all walks of life. So many random strangers I talk with smile broadly with the mention of his his name- they are remembering the feeling that they got from reading his books or watching him on tv- something that opened up their imaginations. 

HAPPY CARL SAGAN DAY!

 (Isn't this so awesome? I got it for my editor.) 

Friday, November 07, 2014

Carl Sagan Day Coming Up!

As we ramp up to Carl Sagan Day on the 9th, here is an image from a version of the dummy (there were many) for STAR STUFF: Carl Sagan and the Mysteries of the Cosmos and an image from my dad's stamp collection with some commemorative stamps from the 1939 World's Fair. 


My Mommkin Interview

Mommkin is this awesome blog about creative moms. I am honored to be featured in this piece that was published yesterday


Saturday, October 25, 2014

Diwali Mauritius



This last Thursday was Diwali here. I was unsure of what to expect. We were told to put out lights in front of the house and to break and old dish and buy a new one. People go from house to house giving "cakes" which looked like different shaped doughnut holes and giving thanks. As we drove to dinner that night we say "chistmas lights" on houses and one cars and temples. The picture above (and sorry for the half image there- that's the window of the truck as we drove by)is of a temple on the way to Grand Baie. We had a meal at a South African joint- with a great view of the bay. Later that night there were fireworks and when we got home we say the best ones from people in the neighborhood firing them off. It's a happy, festive holiday- I love any holiday where people give thanks to each other and I like the lights.  



Thursday, October 16, 2014

Other than the Infamous Dodo Bird, What do you Know About Mauritius?

The Huffington Post has this write up and series of videos about the island: here .

The True Size of Africa

I spent some time this summer at home (California) before heading back to our new place of residence- Mauritius, which  is part of Africa. Before leaving friends kept saying " be careful!"- referring to the ebola outbreaks in Africa. It is over 1,600 miles from here to mainland Africa and here is a relative scale map of Africa. Here on Mauritius, you are not allowed into the country if have been to one of the effected countries within the last 60 days- even Mauritian citizens are kept out- everyone is, until you have cleared the 60 days. The U.S., Europe- no place I know has such stringent rules. 


Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

The Balance of Things



I'm packing up the house this week -back into the 10 suitcases we moved in with- and then some...Tristam seems to have accumulated the most stuff- lots of found objects, toys and artwork he made. The kitchen came in second with a big coffee maker (which Fred has named Giselle) and additional pots and pans etc. 

Last night as I was closing the windows I said "hello" to the gecko residing in each room and wondered if we could take them with too- especially the one in the bedroom. That one is small and I actually leave the window open a bit longer at night in that room to make sure it has enough bugs to eat. I know that the minute we move that poisons will be set out for them and that will be that. When we moved in we had a pretty bad pest problem- the house was crawling with bugs. One day we noticed the gecko poisons removed all of them. Since that day, the bugs have been minimal to nonexistent. People here can't understand why we don't allow the previous poison spraying and poison traps to be in in our living space, and we cannot understand why you would poison your natural pest control...I imagine that we will go through the same process at the new house, but I'm hoping not as bad because we will be away from the sugar cane fields (YAY!!). 

I'm still considering how to capture at least the bedroom gecko to take with us. 


Monday, October 13, 2014

Early Book Art


Road Trip to the East, Lunar Eclipse, Birds and an Upcoming Move


Yesterday, Fred I headed out to explore the east of the island a bit. Most weekends, we spending catching up on work- especially right now. Fred is busy with solar projects and I have 3 books in the works- 2 that I am illustrating and 1 that I am both writing and illustrating. So, yesterday, we decided that we would take a rare day off and drive to Blue Bay. We stopped at a favorite restaurant in Belle Mare where we watched birds and enjoyed the warm breeze. Then drove the coastal road to Blue Bay. We were puzzled when we got to Blue Bay- or what the map and signage said was Blue Bay- because it was far from the pristine marine environment we expected. Instead, a crowded garbage covered beach with a trailer blasting techno music . Maybe there is another part of Blue Bay? Anyhow- the drive was beautiful and Mauritius is bigger than what I had imagined before. I'd like to go back to some of the villages and towns we drove through and spend some time. 


Last week we missed the lunar eclipse here, but caught it later via the internet. 



Here is a moor hen that hung out with us in Belle Mar yesterday. Watching birds is one of our favorite things to do and yesterday's feathered visitors did not disappoint 



Great news! This week we bid adieu to Piton. I will not miss it one little bit...maybe the neighbors, but other than that...nope. New digs are closer to the ocean- we are ocean people and I no longer eat sugar :)