Monday, June 29, 2009

writers and wizards

What's on the top of my reading stack at the moment? "The Cutting" by island neighbor and debut author, James Hayman, is a graphic thriller set in Portland, Maine. I bought two copies at the Hayman's recent book launch party, one to give away. But Marty grabbed one and so we're feverishly reading the book at the same time. This pretty much never happens. He's ahead of me, and he better not spill any details. Be warned: you can't put this book down.

We knew Jim had been writing a book; who isn't these days? We rejoiced when he found an agent, then a two-book deal, and now publication. In their signature classy style, the Haymans threw a lovely party at the Bakery Building, where Jim's wife, Jeanne O'Toole Hayman, has a studio.

The crowd was quite a mix of artists, writers, and islanders, and perhaps a few surgeons. Not surprisingly, this was where I preferred to hang out, near Jeanne's gestural figure studies and encaustic tools.

The Haymans used to host life drawing sessions at their house. I give Jim credit for trying his hand at drawing the model. He said it was too distracting to have a naked female in the house while he was writing, considering it rude to walk through the session, so he simply joined in.

Perhaps it was all material for the writing. Coincidentally, the lead character's love interest is an artist.

Here's Jim signing books.

In fact, he has quite a schedule of readings and signings. He started at Longfellow Books last week. Tonight he is at the Borders in South Portland, Maine at 7 PM.

If you have a thing for thrillers, suspense, Portland, anatomy, or need a page-turner, get your own copy.

It would be no surprise if this book became a script. Congratulations, Jim!

Is it not amazing that stories are spun out of thin air? Mere words on a page filtered from the mind's eye. After many, many grueling drafts, of course.

Stories can have such power. In a leaping segue, consider what a certain story about wizard school has launched right here on Peaks Island. The Peaks Island Fiber Arts Camp began another season with a week of Wizard Camp. Our daughter came home with tales of finding magical rocks at the beach, hand-sewing a black robe, and making motion retardant slime. Here is a cabinet of curious potions, labeled such things as "pepol blood" and "fairy tears" and "orc blood."

They made brooms, stitched leather journals (for recording potion recipes and spells), made felted owls, crocheted amulets, and fashioned wands. All this concentrated handiwork happened in the morning, while afternoons were for rousing games of quidditch on the front lawn. Here campers are hunting for the snitch.

Our resident wizard brought home this pile of handmade things.

She's ready for a summer full of inventing magic, and we're hoping not to become toads.

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