Lifeguarding and illustration

I just started reading R.O. Blechman’s book, “Dear James” letters to a young illustrator. In it he discusses lots of different details about the life and craft of creating images…

On page 38, he writes, “I’ve rarely embarked on a project without a commission…but waiting around for a commission is not the best way to get one. A person has to move around, see people, speak to them and then–just maybe–something will happen…”

And so it is for me with life-guarding and Jewish book making. Whoever thought that my yearly camp job of teaching kids to back-float would ever link up to my illustration side? And yet, it seems that those to seemingly disparate parts of myself are going to be synergized, as URJ Press has recently accepted my mss.. It’s titled Noah’s Swim-a-thon, and is about a boy who learns to swim in time for the camp tzedakah Swim-a-Thon.

The old platitude of “write what you know” is true–I’ve run about a dozen swim-a-thons, and I ‘know’ about them. But I think that doesn’t quite capture it. It’s more like, get out there, experience life, and then you will ‘know’ stuff that you can then express, and write, (or draw) about.

That’s seems somehow profound to me.

It relates, to me, that on Rosh Hashonah the chazan is ideally supposed to be married with kids, because in order to represent the people before G-d, you’ve got to be invested in life.

The ideal artist is not holed up in studio, the ideal chazan is not removed and up in a ivory tower. You have to be engaged with life and people and experiences to truly create and/ or engage G-d.

Yeah–that seems profound to me. Hope I don’t seem too philosophical. My youngest just graduated kindergarden this morning, and I think it put me in a contemplative mood…

4 Responses to “Lifeguarding and illustration”

  • Absolutely right. Engagement is so important. Thank you for contributing this to the Jewish Book Carnival and helping all of us become more engaged with you!

  • I like the idea behind this post, that you never know how the different parts of your life may end of connecting. Every experience is worthwhile in some way!

  • Ann,

    This is another example of how much writers and illustrators have in common. The creative process is truly inspired by living a full life!

    Mazel Tov on the graduation!

  • Hi…

    […]many of the comments here do not add up[…]…

Leave a Reply