Crackup Collaborators – Daniel Handler and Lisa Brown

This Monday’s Kid Lit Salon featured guests Daniel Handler (aka – Lemony Snicket of A Series of Unfortunate Events) and Lisa Brown (Baby Be of Use series), hilarious husband and wife who team up once in awhile as the AC Institute to collaborate on projects. Their most recent was a Christmas story called The Latke Who Couldn’t Stop Screaming, written by Daniel and illustrated by Lisa. Seated at the front of the room in matching white AC Institute lab coats, they went through a power point presentation of their humble beginnings as collaborators on a zine called American Chickens. It was easy to imagine how much fun it is in their household, which now includes a son ( I was excited to hear about that, since I just had my 18-week ultrasound and found out we’re having a BOY!).  They approach everything they do armed with wit and a healthy dose of irony and they make each other laugh. Which was Daniel’s main advice for those pursuing a literary or artistic career – it’s a lonely road and one wrought with frustration and rejection (yes, even he started out with only two people coming to his first book signing), so work on something that makes you laugh, or that you are obsessive about bordering on compulsion. Because if you don’t love what you’re doing, you’ll never be happy, published or not. And he and Lisa both clearly love what they’re doing.


“Little Engine That Could” Nursery Mural


Over the weekend, I painted this 89 square foot mural in a 2 year old boy’s bedroom. His favorite book is “The Little Engine That Could”, so they wanted something based on Loren Long’s illustrations. They also said he loves animals, so I took different elements from the book, and added the cows in the background, and their family’s dog in the foreground to make up this composition. It turned out great, and the boy and his older brother (almost 4 years old) were SO into it! I was amazed by their engagement as they watched the process and made up stories about the trains (“Which one are you in?” “Mine is faster than yours”, etc.). The best was hearing the 4-year-old tell his mom, “Can you believe she can paint so good?” Ah, music to my ears.


Happy New Year!


I’m so excited that 2009 is here! It is the year my first baby will be born, the year I become a mother and a whole new phase of life begins. I am a little over 14 weeks along and feeling great; hopeful, creative, looking forward to what’s to come, and so grateful for such a wonderful partner in it all. What a great way to start the new year.