Favorite author and library advocate: Mr. Neil Gaiman

I have been a huge fan of the writer, Neil Gaiman, ever since I read Neverwhere back in the mid- to late-90s while I was in high school. In recent years, there seems to be more attention and discussion about why libraries are still a necessary part of a community and Mr. Gaiman has been a great vocal advocate for libraries, which makes me love him even more.

I had to buy this magazine a few months ago because Neil Gaiman was on the cover.

Thanks to Twitter I came across a wonderful article in the guardian featuring an edited version of Neil Gaiman’s lecture for the Reading Agency, delivered on Monday, October 14 at the Barbican in London. Some of my favorite excerpts:

“I was in China in 2007, at the first party-approved science fiction and fantasy convention in Chinese history. And at one point I took a top official aside and asked him Why? SF had been disapproved of for a long time. What had changed?

It’s simple, he told me. The Chinese were brilliant at making things if other people brought them the plans. But they did not innovate and they did not invent. They did not imagine. So they sent a delegation to the US, to Apple, to Microsoft, to Google, and they asked the people there who were inventing the future about themselves. And they found that all of them had read science fiction when they were boys or girls.”

I devoured science fiction and fantasy novels as a child such as those written by Piers Anthony, David Eddings, and Anne McCaffrey. (If you’re interested in specific series or title recommendations let me know.) If it wasn’t for my local library (and my parents’ willingness to drive me almost on a weekly basis) I would not have had the pleasure of reading these authors’ works.
Mr. Gaiman goes on to eloquently state that

“… libraries are about freedom. Freedom to read, freedom of ideas, freedom of communication. They are about education (which is not a process that finishes the day we leave school or university), about entertainment, about making safe spaces, and about access to information.”

As a child, libraries were my haven to access books that transported me to far-off places and activated my imagination. I still visit my local library almost on a weekly basis to read the newest novel, borrow books about artists, or learn about what’s involved in starting up your own craft business. If not for libraries I would not be the person I am today and I continue to grow as a person thanks to my local library.

Favorite author and library advocate: Mr. Neil Gaiman

A Magical Day in my Tucson Odyssey

Today has been an AMAZING day! When I woke up I headed to our Airbnb host's backyard to do a bit of yoga. Staring at the crystal blue sky and hearing the soothing bubbling sounds from the small water fountain was very peaceful and helped me focus better on my poses. Also my upper back thanked me afterwards.

Later in the morning, while Nick and I headed to the University of Arizona's campus, a hummingbird hovered over my head and I stood still to watch it float against the azure sky. That was a magical moment.

Had the best fries I ever tasted at frog & firkin as our lunch appetizer. I am totally stealing the sinfully mouth-watering idea of topping fries with red sauce and melted mozzarella.

red fries at frog & firkin

After lunch Nick and I sat in a local café drinking the kind of iced chai we like. Then I left Nick to work and I headed to the university's Museum of Art, Poetry Center, and Special Collections.

U of A's Museum of Art

I forgot that most museums are closed on Mondays but I did get a campus map out of it. Since the Joseph Gross Gallery was only a few steps away I went in and was emotionally engaged by student Ben McKee's Matt & Ben (My Big Brother & Me) installation including 3 videos of various screen sizes. Still not quite sure exactly why I felt something so strongly in the pit of my stomach but it most likely has to do with my own relationships with my brothers; I miss them.

Ben McKee's installation

I wasn't sure if there were sensors but a light turned on in the room as I walked alongside the installation and a small video started up when I walked towards it in a separate section on the right (not pictured).

Next I walked over to the Poetry Center which is housed in a beautiful building (I should've taken a photo). They have a small exhibit of artists' books curated by Johanna Drucker. My favorites were works by Keith Smith and Tom Phillips.

Book by Tom Phillips
Out of Sight by Keith Smith

Out of Sight (Book Nr. 107) by Keith Smith

Continuing on my artist book hunt I headed to Special Collections. Thanks to the advice of one very helpful librarian at the Poetry Center I requested to see James Joyce's Ulysses designed by Philip Smith which is stowed away in the Collection's vault. When the librarian wheeled over the book I started feeling teary-eyed and my heart wanted to burst. This was probably the personal equivalent of beholding the holy grail. Every word that pops to mind does not do this treasure justice and the following pictures definitely are poor substitutes.

James Joyce's Ulysses
James Joyce's Ulysses (case)

A book love affair. See them kissing?

If you were wondering, the small slip of paper you see in the photos is a copyright requirement of Special Collections whenever a photo is taken. I am definitely returning to this library to check out more of their book arts collection. I'm still amazed that I actually got to touch the books and smell its pages.

The midday sun is brutal here but I am LOVING Tucson!

(I will still post about our time in Texas and Colorado but was overly excited about today and had to share.)


A Magical Day in my Tucson Odyssey

The continuing adventures with Jim

The Paper Museum wasn't the only place Jim and I visited. Far from it. After lunch we took a scenic route on our way to the Oglethorpe University Museum of Art. It was neat seeing the beautiful houses along Peachtree Battle Ave(?); each house was beautiful and architecturally unique. As an aside, Atlanta has anywhere from 26 to over 65 streets with Peachtree in its name depending on where I went on the internetz. I believe Jim told me a number in the upper 20s range. Whatever the actual number just know that there's ALOT. I know the street names confused me a bit when I first arrived in this city.

While I lived in NYC I was one of the volunteers helping out during the Rubin Museum's Red Book exhibit that ran from October 2009 to Februaury 2010. I had the chance to view Carl Jung's own art work and mandalas. Now I wanted to visit Oglethorpe to see the university museum's Sacred Round exhibit displaying mandalas by Carl Jung's patients. Feels like I've come full circle (no pun intended).

Visitors weren't allowed to take photos of patients' artwork but I was allowed to take a shot of a quote that I absolutely loved by Carl Jung. His advice to patients in regards to their artwork:

This thrills me to no end as an art therapist and an aspiring book artist!

The small campus was serene and charming. We happened to visit during the university's spring break.

Beautiful stone structures

We ended the day touring SCAD and looking at MANY works completed by skilled students. One of the best personal highlights was seeing Julie Chen's book shown at the library. I've admired her work since I first became interested in book arts. I also enjoyed seeing the library's new book arts acquisitions.

How Books Work by Julie Chen/Clifton Meador


This has been one very FULL day. Again, I cannot thank Jim enough for his companionship and generosity. My brain is overflowing with creative juice. This will be a good night for dreams.

Favorite quote of the day stated by an OUMA employee, “The answer is always 'No' until you ask.”


The continuing adventures with Jim

My obsessions with snapseed, the moon, and the book arts

I've been seduced by the snapseed app and had fun using it with today's photos. Too much? What do you think?
Penn State's Old Main building

Water tower or alien spaceship?
Not quite sure what this egg-like structure with a steeple is suppose to be. Anybody know?
The obligatory Nittany lion shrine shot.
What happened to Nittany's poor ear? (As an aside, that seems to be a very crude patch job. Reminds me of a child's attempt at fixing something and hoping the parents don't notice.)

I'm guessing you might have an inkling by now that I'm also obsessed with images of the moon … I've always loved seeing the full moon, and, whenever I see one, I stop in my tracks for at least a few moments to bask in its round lunar loveliness.

Today while Nick was working I explored the campus library's arts and humanities book offerings. Since I wanted to learn more about book arts I decided to focus on artists' books. Artists' books, as defined by Lauf & Phillpot, are “books and booklets authored by artists.” I discovered today that what I'm more passionate about are book works, which are “artworks in book form” like some of the works I've pinned on my pinterest board. I know there are workshops and graduate progams out there to learn about book binding and the book arts. I've taken a couple of great classes through Cooper Union and the Center for Book Arts in NYC.

My dream would be to apprentice with an established book binder/artist.

But for now I'll continue to read and learn.


My obsessions with snapseed, the moon, and the book arts