Monday, August 28, 2006

going in circles

Me losing a race on Saturday night to Scarlet O'Hurtya.

When I first joined the CT Roller Girls I was a far better and faster skater then any of them. No surprise since I've ice and roller skated for 30 years and had been practicing with the intimidating Providence derby league. In CT I was the big star.

Now, 4 months later, they can keep up with me, and some are faster yet. I don't win the races anymore. Loosing my star status might be upsetting, except that I take a lot of pride in being part of their progress, which is far more gratifying then being the fastest was.

I started derby as I start every new undertaking-- running away from previous undertakings which have become problematic. It was meant to be a distraction, but it turned into a difficult, epic adventure, and I decided early on if I was going to jump in all the way I'd only stay for as long as I was needed. Now that my prodigies have matched me, I wonder a lot lately if it's time to go. Especially when I'm lying on the rink after being punched in the chest, unable to breathe, as happened last week. I thought between wheezes: maybe, if there is not a rib puncturing my lung, it's time to go back to ice dancing.

But every time I think so, derby miraculously returns me to my roots, and strengthens them. When I started skating in Warwick RI, I had no idea I'd joined up with a bunch of other RISD grads, who have become friends. I've met new puppeteers, firespinners and artists via rollergirl connections. Derby PR events have provided me with some performance opportunities I've always wished for. And I never expected that a reporter doing a story on derby would end up in my studio interviewing me about my books for a teachers magazine. (Hello, Jessica!)

It's all fantastic, but even so sometimes I get a little antsy. I wish I could find a place to go from time to time where I truly was another person with no connection to Linda Wingerter whatsoever. But karma goes in circles and no matter how fast you are you can't outrun it. Especially when you're on the right path.

Friday, August 25, 2006

fairy magic

I've felt guilty enough that my blog hasn't been much about picture book illustration lately, and now that I have to come up with a picture book topic every week for the Blue Rose Girls Blog, it's even harder to come up with another for this blog.

It's not that I don't think about picture books anymore-- I do all the time. But maybe because I've been thinking about it for so long, nothing I come up with seems interesting or revelatory.

But here's a nice thing that happened this week in addition to the arrival of my 6th book. Yesterday I found another mysterious cardboard box on my porch. Again I scrambled to remember what I might have impulse ordered online one late night. But it was a lovely collection of all the new stationary products Peaceable Kingdom Press has made of one piece of art I did for them a while ago. These three little fairies have taken off and multiplied over a dozen cards, gift tags, bags, posters, stationary, etc. It's a very welcomed surprise.

Saturday, August 19, 2006

small souls

My mum calls me "druid" because she read somewhere that druids believed everything alive and inanimate had a soul. In childhood I had the sense my stuffed animals and dolls were soul-filled creatures, and I treated them as such. I still do. I am not able to throw away anything that is shaped like an animal or person, for the fear it will feel abandoned. So I have hundreds of stuffed animals, figurines, and dolls tucked away in every corner of the house. I keep them in pairs or groups so they won't feel lonely.

My mom thinks it's a sickness, and in fact I've read about a similar diagnosable condition. But I think it must have been the puppets. What else could be expected from raising a kid in a puppet theater where foam and wooden figures move around and talk, and are cared for with great reverence? It was the puppets, mum, the puppets!

Photo: my first try at making a hand puppet, for the Quinnipiac class; and a stuffed Garfield I found in the street last week. Washed and revived of course.

Thursday, August 10, 2006


A link to a video of a jam this Tuesday. I'm the jammer (the racer) in white and grey.

I'm in awful form. It was the first night my new team was together as a team, of which I'm captain, and we were down a blocker or two. Jamming was harder then usual. I hadn't fully transformed from Linda to Polly. I was shaking, breathless and nauseous from nerves, realizing just then what a responsibility I've taken on. But at one point my blockers cleared a wide inside track for me so that I could just breeze by the whole pack. I was so proud of them and so tired that through the last half of this video I'm crying hysterically. They must all think I'm crazy.

It's such a weird hobby to take up. Especially when I'm making serene and gentle puppets and picture books the rest of the day.

the studio 8-9-06

The Blue Rose Girls Blog posed the question "What's on your desk?" A lot, but mostly puppets, puppet books, and a wedding dress. Puppets and puppet books: because I'm getting ready to co-teach Intro to Puppetry at Quinnipiac University this fall. Wedding dress: inexplicable.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

blog mania

The Blue Rose Girls now have a collective blog, and it's already pretty interesting. If you're into children's books keep an eye on it.

I am a Blue Rose Girl so I'm contributing a weekly post on Thursdays. Today is my first.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006


Tired of the humidity, rt 95, and other troubles that plague me in CT, on Sunday I dropped everything and flew to Naples, Italy, and took the ferry to the beautiful Isle of Capri. The weather was bright and breezy. There were lemon trees, white washed cottages decorated with cobalt blue ceramic tiles, and everywhere I went people spoke a language I could not understand, which came as great relief. Every thing I ate was freshly picked, and I spoke no words except "grazie", and "bonjourno", and "bella".

Actually, it was just Long Island, where I had family matters to attend to. But it was a lovely day, the food was good, and the ferry ride was pretty relaxing.