Last weekend I attended a Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators conference here in my fair city. Writers outnumbered illustrators by about 10 to 1. Luckily, I am equally interested in words and pictures. Scribbling furiously, I tried to capture every spoken word, piece of advice, do this, don't do that, offered so generously by the excellent faculty: Laurent Linn, AD at Simon & Schuster, Alvina Ling, Sr. Editor at Little Brown, and Liz Waniewski, Sr. Editor at Dial. Now, back in my real world, sitting alone in front of the blank page (or screen), what will I be able to make from all of this? Surely something finer than before. What I love (and sometimes hate) about this life as an itinerate creative is... everything you produce comes straight out of your brain. You go out into the world and look, and listen, and gather information, relationships, experiences, places, characters, dialog, stories. Then you bring it all back to the studio, sit with your blank page and see what, if anything, you have to say today. Jasper Johns said "Do something, do something to that, and then do something to that." It's the only way I know to begin anything.