Monday, January 16, 2006

Somewhere in Massachusetts

Somewhere in Massachusetts there is a street where cosmic energies have converged and creativity bursts through like a geyser.

I met a nice man today who asked about "Harry the Dog" books. I was happy to help him because that was one of the few non-disney books that I remembered from my own childhood. The one I had was "Harry the Dirty Dog" which I'm pretty sure is stored somewhere in the Johnsonian Museum in Arkansas. Anyway, the man told me he likes to check bookstores if they have them because the illustrator Margaret Bloy Graham is his next door neighbor. She is 86 and her books are celebrating their 50th anniversary. Mr. Chester the customer likes to visit her and tell her where he finds her book when he travels.

Well, I thought this was really cool. I told him that I had her book when I was a kid and low and behold I became an illustrator, too. I asked him to pass along that she was an inspiration to me, and that made him happy. He asked to see my book and he bought one for himself and so he could show her my book.

Chester, who looks around 55 but is an amazing 76!, went on to tell me on his same street the creator of Curious George also lived, and his own belated wife was a published author, too. He even said at one point his wife was having issues with the illustrations that the publisher tried to match with her story and she convinced Chester to do the illustration even though he wasn't a professional artist. Well, maybe it was where he hung his hat, but they published his artwork instead of the other illustrator.

Chester was down here visiting his son, and I couldn't get over how spry and young he looked. He told me it was clean living, but I'm thinking it was all the creative energy circling his block!

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