Wednesday, May 16, 2012

When worlds collide

The SCWBI stand at The Bologna Children's Book Fair
It is rare that my two passions - fibercraft and writing - come together. But recently at the Bologna Children's Book Fair That is exactly what happened. I am international member of the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators (or SCWBI as we like to call it).

New Zealand SCWBI members' books

Our display of New Zealand books was wonderful. My own picture book The Stuck There Forever Boat is lying flat in the middle of the table. I'ts a story of the impact of climate change on a small South Pacific Island.

Since New Zealand is too small to have its own chapter, we are joint members of the Australian and New Zealand Chapter. But, as in any situation where one partner is naturally larger, we always feel a little inferior. As if to prove my point, please note the size of the Australian flag compared to ours!

Chris and Frances flying their respective flags in Bologna

Gillian Torckler with crocheted kiwi

Not to be outdone, I was asked to create a Kiwi (small flightless bird that is our national symbol) to compete with their large, strong, bouncy kangaroo.  So here are he and I getting ready to go to Bologna - actually he's going, I am not :(

For those that are interested, he is crocheted in a wool/mohair blend (to give the appearance of fine feathers), with beak and leg accents.

My kiwi has not come back though....he has been kidnapped by US author Kirsten Carlsen. Well perhaps kidnapped is too strong a word, but he is enjoying a long sojourn in the top half of the world with all of our blessings!

The very talented Kirsten Carlsen makes a new friend

So what is even stranger about his story is that Kirsten writes books about the ocean and its creatures...which starts to feel frankly a bit spooky, since thats what I do mostly. Kirsten spent some time in New Zealand some time ago...hence the kiwi connection.

So all of this makes me think about connections and how different worlds collide. We all have different aspects of our lives (family, work, hobbies) and for some these can be numerous. We are the central connection to those different areas of our lives, so although my different life strands seem utterly sensible to me, when I meet people, they often look perplexed when I am introduced as Gillian the Medical Scientist, to someone who know me as Gillian the Children's Author. Then, the retired ladies that I take crochet classes with enter the equation and all bets are off! I am left with the impression that people think I am confused about who I am.  Sometimes they sigh with empathy for me! On the surface, it is difficult to see how these worlds coexist, rather than collide. But they do, and for me its rewarding to see the serendipitous relationships that arise from these interests. And my next book....well I am  working on a crochet one as I type. Back to it....

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