Saturday, August 6, 2011

David Small Keynote - The Voice of the Eye

It's a great morning. Donna Jo Napoli was up first, David Small is up now. If you haven't visited David's website, it is full of fantastic sketches from his travels and helpful links. For a hint at his demo on Monday and a quick interview, visit this post.

Besides visiting David's website, I would say PLEASE take a moment to read the posts about him on Julie Walker Danielson's Seven Impossible Things. Her review of STITCHES alone makes me tear up.

David shares this video with us:

It's pretty harrowing, be sure you've had your breakfast and a hug for the day.

David tells us making STITCHES was the therapy he couldn't get any other way.

David needed to find a way to bring his family back, to recreate and remember them to figure out if his adulthood nightmares, anxieties, and anger are rooted in his childhood or just chronic depression.

But as David is sketching and drawing and writing down his childhood memories, he comes to the conclusion:

"I had an unloving mother who wanted me dead. And I believe it's safer to keep expressions like that away from the body, and get them out through art or music..."

David is still reticent to talk about the making of STITCHES in public, so he's structured the rest of his talk about it as a Q&A.

Why the switch from picture books to an older audience/graphic novels?

David quotes Dante,  
Midway upon the journey of our life
I found myself within a forest dark,
For the straightforward pathway had been lost.

Deciding he needed to drop all the metaphors in his life and start looking at REAL life, David wanted some good therapy, but:

"Out on the prairie, you don't have access to the perfect psychoanalyst, so I became that for myself... by writing and drawing this memoir... and I always expected myself to get over 'it.'"

What would you like readers of this book to know?

When all is said and done, STITCHES is a warning about families with wrong-headed tradition. A long conga line of people abusing their children who go on to abuse their children... David reads Philip Larkin's poem:

Though David now has a brighter view of life than Mr. Larkin, and he's stepped out of that conga line he mentions, it's still a daily struggle for David to be sure he's treating his loved ones the right way.

"So now, after being the downer of the morning, I will try to be the upper, too."

David shows us a video called UNCHAIN MY HEART. A rousing, hilarious animatic of a typical day on an author tour. While I STRONGLY OBJECT TO THE PORTRAYAL OF MEDIA ESCORTS, we all absolutely loved David's drawings of Hicklebee's. Because how sweet it is to be loved by independent bookstores!

And just so you know, the SCBWI store sold out of all 250 copies of David's books YESTERDAY. We're trying to get more, but if you want to organize a bus to Hicklebee's for a shopping spree, I say go for it!


  1. This was one of the beat key notes I've ever seen! I was moved beyond words...