Monday, July 1, 2013

"Whatever Happened to....Oh Yeah... That Guy!!"

Seems not that long ago I was full of ideas and optimism about writing and illustrating, somewhere along the line that passion seems to have died.

How do these things happen? How do we allow ourselves to suddenly seem to give up? I guess that after my last book more or less tanked before it left the publisher...I suddenly realized that maybe my whole "career " was pretty much a fluke.

When I got the call from Stemmer House Publishers back in  2004 about publishing my first book, I felt that the sky was the limit!! Feelings of excitement and endless possibilities raced through my mind...I had Caldecott dreams and visions of starred reviews in my head! Then the realities of the book business floated to the surface of my tranquil, little,  children's book pond.

Due to circumstances beyond my control, the book was released nearly a year and a half late and in paperback...not the hardcover version with dust jacket as I was promised. Apparently big name book reviewers, libraries and the Caldecott award committee aren't that interested in soft cover fact soft cover books aren't even eligible for the Caldecott. Suddenly all my dreams of overnight success and glory started to get a little hazy.  I was still proud of my accomplishment, but I also felt a little disappointed. Where were all the reviews and promotional help I expected from my publisher? Nowhere to be found it seemed...

Granted I had moments of praise for my books over the years. I deeply appreciated the kind words I received from people around the world about them, but it was during the production of my last book that I suddenly stopped enjoying what I was doing.

The editor selected to work with me on this book seemed disinterested, like she really didn't understand my lyrical style of writing. She seemed to be spending more time dissecting each word instead of grasping the message I was trying to convey. The whole process seemed to destroy what little passion I had left for writing... I really didn't feel it anymore.

I suppose I could list for you the many personal reasons for why I just seemed to suddenly stop writing and painting, but that would be nothing but mindless chatter and complaining, nobody wants to hear that! I guess it all boils down to one simple thing...I just didn't feel inspired anymore.

So consider this as a sort of feeble attempt at sorting it all out, trying to figure out the reasons for giving up on something that was truly important to me... trying to make sense of what went wrong. 

Maybe someday I'll be back... I kind of hope so! 

take care...



  1. I wondered about your blog's quietude, Greg. I have your books, and they are treasures.
    Maybe the expectations were grand, and so the hard pavement was harder. Everyone knows by now how hard it is to get traditionally published in the first place. But what many still don't know is that most published books die not of bad reviews, but of neglect. That's MOST (traditionally) published books.
    I hope you find the joy again in the work itself, not so much the understandable need for recognition. We do the work, and must leave the parts out of our control to the universe. The meaning must come from what we can do. You make beautiful, poetic, art books for readers of all ages.

  2. Thank you Mirka...I'm surprised someone is still following this blog!

    I hear what you are saying, I still must harbor an adolescent need to be noticed. Deep down inside I'm still that kid in grade school hoping everyone likes the picture I drew.

    I knew I had a good thing with Stemmer House. An editor who was passionate about my work, a publisher who believed enough in me to publish whatever I submitted, I believe I may have had it too easy.

    Sadly, they have both passed way too early and the other at the ripe old age of 93. I guess I would be dishonoring their memories by giving up. I just need to give my self time.

    Thank you for believing in my work...and thank you for believing in me!!

    Take care and thanks!!!