reverse threading

the path back is the path forward


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the anniversary of after-the-comma. [d.r. thursday]

one of my most rewarding moments will soon have an anniversary. in three days SHAYNE will be six and the moment of unveiling her first published book to my sweet momma will be starting its new trek around the sun. in the way that life makes things complicated and that stuff gets in the way, we have not yet released the third book of the trilogy.

a little background stolen from a previous post:

back when my momma was 93 and facing down stage four breast cancer having had a double mastectomy a few months prior, she told us she felt like she had accomplished little in her life.  there could be little farther from the truth.  she died shortly before her 94th birthday but remains a force in the world. her kindness and her zealous belief in kindness continue to ripple outward. i heard beaky firsthand when My Girl was talking about the world and its issues and said, “the best thing i can do is to be kind to people.” i’ve seen beaky firsthand when My Boy has stood firm in raising pride awareness.

but she insisted she had no title (“engineer”, “architect” etc) to put after her name.  we knew she had, however, three manuscripts she had written decades prior – stories about the family dachshund named shayne – stories she had tried to have published with no success back in the day.  stories told from shayne’s point of view and simply wholesome and delightful, we searched for – and found – the manuscripts.  and immediately got to work.

my amazing husband david illustrated the first of the trilogy, named SHAYNE.  i laid out the text and the graphics of the book itself,  designed merchandise like an “author” shirt, banners and a shayne iphone case for momma, built a website, contacted newspapers and we hastened to put together a release party with a reading and press and a celebration with brownies and asti spumanti at her assisted living facility in florida.  when we told her – on MY birthday in march (for what could be a better thank-you-for-my-birthday than this?) what was happening on april 11th, she squealed like a school girl and started practicing signing her name with a sharpie.  it was BY FAR one of the pinnacle moments of my life to see my mom – the AUTHOR- hold her book, read aloud to the dozens of people who attended and sign “BEAKY” on her books as her fans lined up to purchase the earliest copies.   eighteen days later, my sweet momma was no longer on this earth.

in the way that lists-in-your-head nag at you (or possibly my momma from heaven, that traffic-stopping look in her eye) i know that it is time to develop that third book. it is time to re-tell this story. this world – these times – with so much loss, so many undreamed dreams. on a scrap of paper on august 4 in the year 2012, a calendar date that holds significance for my mom who gave birth to and lost her first baby girl on that day in the 1940s, i wrote down that momma said to me, “enjoy life. start living.” don’t put it off. just do it. the words of self-helpers everywhere.

maybe that’s why the woven-wicker-paper-plate-holder-end-cap-display was so riveting. maybe that’s why the giant piles of peeps and peeps cereal made me stop and laugh. maybe that’s why it feels like momma is saying, “hello!” maybe it’s not just “hello”; maybe it’s “what are you waiting for?” or a gentle prod, a “rise and shine, sweet potato!”

procrastinating runs rampant. in all of humanity. we put off things until we feel deserving. we can’t go out until we clean. we can’t travel until we’ve finished schooling. we can’t give up security until we are secure. i’m guessing momma would not necessarily agree with all this. her wisdom was to support going and doing. she did not counsel that one must have guarantee of success first. “try it, you’ll like it,” she’d echo my poppo.

momma had funny quirks, like everyone i suppose. and now, because DNA is a thing, i see those quirks up-close-and-personal in the mirror. i see them in my sister and my nieces. i see them in my daughter. marvelous tiny snippets of beaky walking in the world.

momma had some lighthearted superstitions too. she’d take an umbrella with her places because she believed that -then- it was less likely to rain. she wouldn’t take a shopping bag because she believed that -then- she would have the joy of juggling many parcels at the end of a shopping excursion. she knocked wood.

momma had a sensibility that she undeniably passed down. she made soap socks and never threw out a bottle of shampoo if she hadn’t already stood it upside down for days. she didn’t use or wear or hang up or sometimes even take out of the bag new things. there was some unwritten rule that she had to save it for “special”, a waiting period for anything new. she generously handed this strange little behavior to me somewhere along the line in the same way that she passed the love of cold french fries to me. she would make mounds of homemade french fries ahead of time when i was coming for a visit. not because she was going to re-heat them, but because, with big glasses of iced tea, we would sit and talk and eat them cold. together. as much as i still love cold french fries, it was never really about the fries.

and still, in all her amazing beaky-ness, after living an extraordinary life and setting an example of kindness and simple joy, she had this sense of nothing after the comma after her name. how could this be? easy enough to answer, i suppose, in a world of expectation and measurement, a society of commas – the ones after your name, the ones after dollar signs.

SHAYNE was on-deck in her life for over five decades, waiting. yes. it was one of the most rewarding moments of my life to see her face as she looked at her first book. her glee! elation. there are no words.

now i wonder if she might advise us all to start practicing with a sharpie. “you just never know,” she’d add.

*****

read DAVID’S thoughts this D.R. THURSDAY

visit beakysbooks.com to see SHAYNE

SHAYNE ©️ 2015 beatrice arnson, david robinson, kerri sherwood


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the snowman with mom-arms. [two artists tuesday]

in kindergarten, i watercolor-painted an image of my mom. there was no mistaking her, of course. to my eyes, it looked exactly like her and i was proud as could be when she later turned my masterful painting into a tile to hang on the wall of the kitchen next to the tiled artistic expressions of my big sister and my big brother. now i wonder as i look at the photograph of this artist-sans-maestro image. why did i paint my sweet momma with two distinctly different length arms? was i proportion-inept? was i image-to-paper incapable? was i running out of room on the page in-between all the birds? maybe, oh maybe, i was just not a gifted five-year-old-watercolorist. despite all its shortcomings, my sweet momma carried that tile-painting from one house to the next to the next to the next to the next to the last. as i glance at the art of my children around me – the hand-drawn childhood notes framed on my bedside table, the painted fish-rock on the kitchen windowsill, the handmade signs in my studio – i understand her fierce everlasting dedication.

this snowman seems the snow-replication – at least arm-wise – of my ‘beautiful’ mom-painting. i don’t think i ever painted my mom in a solo piece again after kindergarten. i’m sure i painted my family, my house, my pets, flowers and sky and horses. but i didn’t paint any more portraits. no, it didn’t seem like i was gifted in any way in a depiction of a real person on canvas or paper. but i would hasten to add that i easily have portraited my mom in a million other ways.

she is in music i have written, in photographs i have taken. she is in the branches i have dragged out of the woods and the rocks that have been collected in backpacks. she is in the memories that swirl in antique shoppes and in table coffee-sitting. she is in words i speak and expressions on my face. she is in my mind’s eye, my thready heart and in that little voice in my head. she is in the letters i write and the upside-down shampoo bottles and the homemade chicken soup in my stockpot. she is in the way i push back against inequality, the way i rail against wrongdoing. she is in the merry morning sunshine and the stars that glitter at night, begging attention.

and she is in this tiny snowman we built on a bench in southport park on a snowy day in february, proportionately-inappropriate arms and all.

*****

read DAVID’S thoughts this TWO ARTISTS TUESDAY


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shayne. the trilogy. [d.r. thursday]

square shayne for melange 21

my sweet momma’s birthday is today.  she would have been 97.  she died shortly before her 94th birthday but remains a force in the world.  her kindness and her zealous belief in kindness continue to ripple outward.  i heard beaky firsthand when My Girl was talking about the world and its issues and said, “the best thing i can do is to be kind to people.”  i’ve seen beaky firsthand when My Boy has stood firm in raising pride awareness.

now, i know this story has been told before, but i risk being called redundant to tell it again.  back when my momma was 93 and facing down stage four breast cancer having had a double mastectomy a few months prior, she told us she felt like she had accomplished little in her life.  there could be little farther from the truth.  but she insisted she had no title (“engineer”, “architect” etc) to put after her name.  we knew she had, however, three manuscripts she had written decades prior – stories about the family dachshund named shayne – stories she had tried to have published with no success back in the day.  stories told from shayne’s point of view and simply wholesome and delightful, we searched for – and found – the manuscripts.  and immediately got to work.

my amazing husband david illustrated the first of the trilogy, named SHAYNE.  i laid out the text and the graphics of the book itself,  designed merchandise like an “author” shirt, banners and a shayne iphone case for momma, built a website, contacted newspapers and we hastened to put together a release party with a reading and press and a celebration with brownies and asti spumanti at her assisted living facility in florida.  when we told her – on MY birthday in march (for what could be a better thank-you-for-my-birthday than this?) what was happening on april 11th, she squealed like a school girl and started practicing signing her name with a sharpie.  it was BY FAR one of the pinnacle moments of my life to see my mom – the AUTHOR- hold her book, read aloud to the dozens of people who attended and sign “BEAKY” on her books as her fans lined up to purchase the earliest copies.   eighteen days later, my sweet momma was no longer on this earth.

david has since illustrated both the second and third books.  the second, SHAYNE AND THE YELLOW DRAGON, was released a couple years ago and today, on her birthday, i am so excited to tell you that the third SHAYNE AND THE NEW BABY will be released shortly.  the trilogy will be complete!   my sweet momma, beatrice h. arnson “beaky” the AUTHOR would be pretty jazzed to sign each of these, but i know her blessing is on them as she reaches through the invisible line between heaven and earth.

we will keep you posted on the release.  i have this sweet vision of so-so-many-many-books being sold (to individuals, to schools, to libraries, to dachshund owners, to families with small children, to families with dogs, to dog lovers, to teachers, to scholastic press or to some entity that sees how important it is to have dreams come true – at ANY age) that we might start a beaky-beaky foundation and help – in some well-thought-out way – in momma’s name.  if you have any ideas, let us know.  we want to keep beaky’s ripples going.

my sweet momma’s website:  www.beakysbooks.com/

SHAYNE on www.amazon.com

frontcoverscreenshot

momma effusive at shayne

read DAVID’S thoughts on this D.R.THURSDAY (DAVID ROBINSON THURSDAY)

D.R. THURSDAY – ON OUR SITE

SHAYNE, SHAYNE & THE YELLOW DRAGON ©️ 2015 kerri sherwood & david robinson, beatrice h. arnson

 

 


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“beak-y” [flawed cartoon wednesday]

idonothaveabignose jpegBIG copy 2

my sweet momma had a sweet nose.  but somewhere along the line my poppo, using a derivative of her first name ‘beatrice’ nicknamed her “beak” and, for a time, all hell broke loose.  she railed against his perceived slamming of her nose (which was actually a perky little nose) and was questioning of his continued use of his (now) beloved nickname when it irritated (“irked”) her.  “beak” morphed into “beaky” – the name by which everyone under the sun knows and loves her.  eventually, she even grew to love her nickname and proudly wore a gold necklace my dad had specially made for her (no, surprisingly, “beak” necklaces are not mass-produced!)  our sweet beaky-beaky.  ohmygosh, how i miss her.

if you'd like to see FLAWED CARTOON

FLAWED CARTOON WEDNESDAY – ON OUR SITE

read DAVID’S thoughts on this FLAWED CARTOON

i do not have a big nose! i have an unusually small head!  ©️ 2016 david robinson & kerri sherwood


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granny gps. [flawed cartoon wednesday]

granny gps jpegBIG copy

now, my sweet momma was pretty directive at times.  she knew what she wanted and was pretty specific about it.  even from the seat in her wheelchair in later days she would direct traffic or let you know exactly where she wanted to go and if you were doing it right.  then there was the electric wheelchair.  she got to be in charge.

it took scaling a mountain and zooming off into outer space and back to make all the arrangements that would eventually deliver an electric wheelchair to her assisted living facility.  but all of that fades in the memory of her phone call.  she had been practicing and practicing, trying to grasp how to make the chair go forward or turn or go backward without running into things or people.  we kept telling her, “you got this!” her confidence was thin and i know she felt like she would never really be able to master that chair.  until that day.

she called to say that she had gone down to breakfast.  in her chair.  alone.  and when she got there, a woman at her table told her about how there had been an author there, sharing her newly published book, reading, autographing; it had all been quite exciting, she told my momma.  my sweet momma looked at her, i’m sure smiling broadly and sitting up as straight as she could in her electric wheelchair and said, “that was me!”

never underestimate a granny gps.  there’s so much possibility.

so much possibility CANVAS copy

so much possibility product box BOX copy

click here (or on the product bar above) for SO MUCH POSSIBILITY & GRANNY GPS products

FLAWED CARTOON WEDNESDAY – ON OUR SITE

read DAVID’S thoughts on this FLAWED CARTOON WEDNESDAY

granny gps & so much possibility ©️ 2016 & 2018 david robinson & kerri sherwood


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flawed cartoon wednesday #1

wienerdogsledcorrectspellingJPG copywednesday nights in the trinity choir room are pretty funny.  is that because it’s wednesday?  is that because it’s easy to have fun singing or strumming the ukulele with a wholebunchapeople or playing handbells while talking about everythingunderthesun?  maybe it’s a little of everything.  wednesdays are like that.  we need the fun, the laughs, the rolling-of-eyes to get through the rest of the week.

FLAWED cartoon is also like that.  you may laugh.  you may groan.  you may roll your eyes.  but any way you look at them, they are good wednesday fare.

FLAWED cartoon was another run at syndication (which, by the way, is compared to winning the lottery, according to a friend of ours whose fun strip THE BRILLIANT MIND OF EDISON LEE runs daily and who said he felt like he had won the lottery.)  david and our dear friend 20 created this cartoon and i have handled all the technical blahblah of it.  we cackle every time we jot down a new idea.  ohmygosh, isn’t “cackle” a great word?!?

the wiener dog sled makes me laugh aloud.  we are pretty devoted life-below-zero fans and have great respect for andy and jessie on that show, both of whom run dogsleds.  john and michele next door have three wiener dogs and i just can’t imagine them pulling ANY sled.  and, although i don’t remember her well, i spent my babyhood years with a dachshund named shayne, who tells stories through my momma’s books of the same name.  wiener dogs rock, but as sled dogs?

and so, our melange of studio-created-stuff continues and FLAWED cartoon wednesday will hopefully bring a grin to your wednesday-can’t-wait-till-friday-face.

WIENER DOG SLED

FLAWED cartoon wednesday

www.kerrianddavid.com/the-melange

wiener dog sled ©️ 2016 david robinson & kerri sherwood


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two artists tuesday #1

SWEET POTATO copyvery early one cold december morning, a few years ago now, my sweet momma called.  it was early even in eastern time.  but momma had something to say.  she had had a heart event – cardiomyopathy – an event that mimics a heart attack and is dangerous – but is called “the broken heart syndrome”.  my momma’s heart was broken; my dad – her husband of nearly 69 years – had died.

on this pre-dawn phonecall with her she told me she just had one thing to tell me.  “live life, my sweet potato”, she said.

i knew she was fearful.  that was why she called so early.  her message still rings in my ears.

when we were playing with designs as TwoArtistsMakingStuffForHumans this saying found its way onto a sweet-potato-orange field.  later, david purchased it as a framed print for my birthday.  it hangs in a cherished spot as you leave our front door, reminding us – as we go out into the world or as we come back into our home – to live life.

we chose it to be the first of our two artists tuesdays to share in the melange.  not because we hadn’t already shared it.  but because it bears repeating.

thank you, my sweet momma.

LIVE LIFE, MY SWEET POTATO

two artists tuesday

www.kerrianddavid.com/the-melange

live life, my sweet potato ©️ 2016 kerri sherwood & david robinson