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Pace, pace, pace

Posted by Lois Lowry
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on Thursday, 16 February 2012 in Uncategorized

I spent yesterday afternoon at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston with a friend who, upon looking at this famous  John Singer Sargent painting of the Boit sisters, commented, "I am almost embarrassed that I love this painting."  I knew what she meant—that the painting is so famous, so well-loved, that it is almost a cliché, like a Hallmark commercial.  But what the heck. I love it too. For one thing, aside from the incredible composition, there is a great deal of mystery within it: the shadows, the turned-away girl. One could look at this painting for a very, very long time and come away still wondering (even if you read the recent book —the name of which I have sadly forgotten—about the Boit family and the unhappy lives of these four girls).

I spent four days last week in New York, always a treat (and I went three nights in a row to the theater). On Saturday afternoon was the very well-attended event honoring the 50th anniversary of the publication of A WRINKLE IN TIME.  Prior to the beginning of the event, Madeline L'Engle's granddaughter Charlotte (I'm sorry that I have forgotten her last name) gave each of the speakers a remarkable gift: a journal with the cover made from the fabric of the curtains from L'Engle's writing room.

 

 

Katherine Paterson said she was going to give hers to her daughter Mary, who was/is a passionate L'Engle fan.  My problem is that I have two daughters, each of whom remembers A WRINKLE IN TIME with enormous fondness. So I am going to keep the journal for myself. Hah.

The actress Jane Curtin gave quite a wonderful reading from the book; and Leonard Marcus read an excerpt from an upcoming book he has written about L'Engle. Betsy Bird from the NYPL was host/moderator and the other panelists, along with Katherine and me, were Rebecca Stead and R. L. Stine.

Tuesday evening I began re-watching the remarkable series called HOMELAND with three friends who had not seen it. Starting right with Episode 1!  We watched two that night and will do the next two next Tuesday. It is a very well-acted and very well-written series; but the thing I noticed this time, when I didn't have to pay so much attention to PLOT, was the pacing. Just when a situation becomes almost intolerably tense, the scene changes, and the viewer can catch his breath, slow down, start revving up for the next heart-stopping moments. Same with good books, I think. The right pacing is essential.

And speaking of pacing: today, in the middle of wonderful outings to theaters and museums, I must call a halt to the excitement. I must slow down, sigh, and turn my attention to taxes.

 

 

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sarah
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sarah Thursday, 16 February 2012

hello! i really enjoy your book "The Giver" but at the end of the story i do not understand what happens to Jonas? does he die? it just kept bothering me.Thank you so much! please respond:)

Kim Wheedleton
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Kim Wheedleton Thursday, 16 February 2012

I am always interested in the story behind a painting or picture, so I looked up the Boit sisters online after reading this post. I found mention of the book Sargent’s Daughters: A Biography of a Painting, by Erica E. ­Hirshler. Is this the book you were thinking of?

A Wrinkle in Time is one of my favorite books. How fortunate you are, to have been able to participate in the 50th anniversary celebration of its publication!

Kara Heyn
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Kara Heyn Friday, 17 February 2012

Your life is so very interesting to us. I am a K-12 English as a Second Language teacher in Sibley, Iowa. We are just finishing THE GIVER in our 7th grade Language Arts class. These students are fascinated with your book and have stated several times how they wished they could talk with you once about it. I would love to give them that opportunity if you are able to. We could skype or chat over gmail as I have an account. Please let me know if this is a possibility. We look forward to your response. Thank you so much.

Lois Lowry
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Lois Lowry Saturday, 18 February 2012

Kim: I think that is very likely the book about the Boit sisters!

Sarah: questions like the one you ask should be sent through email, not posted to my blog. You can email me by clicking on the place that says EMAIL ME on my website.

Kara: I don't do Skype interviews, I'm afraid. Have your students email me I(by clicking EMAIL ME!) with their questions (best to out all Q's into ONE email, please!) and I will reply. I am about to do a lot of traveling: Italy, Canada, Dominican Republic...so this is the easiest way for me to correspond.

Kara Heyn
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Kara Heyn Sunday, 19 February 2012

Thank you so much for responding! They will be thrilled. We will come up with a list of questions when we resume classes on Tuesday. We will contact you next week. Thanks again!

MaryJo Cally
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MaryJo Cally Tuesday, 21 February 2012

Hello from Chicagoland!

Thank you for your comments at the WRINKLE gathering in NYC. I had hoped to say hello but was unable to wait for the delighted youngsters so excited at the joy of meeting you. Speaking of pacing, I went from LGA straight to MET OPERA - for Wagner first act, left at the first intermission, zoomed up to the WRINKLE event, afterwards hugged Charlotte (her full name is Charlotte Jones Voiklis) and Lena (Roy) and zoomed back to the MET for the end of the opera and backstage greetings with Deborah Voight. Being in two places at once is quite a challenge but PACE PACE PACE - yes - it is something to ponder.....

Thank you for posting the photo of your new journal. Years ago I was in that tower and saw those curtains - Crosswicks was an amazing place.

During the WRINKLE event, it moved me deeply to hear the introduction to the audio version read by Madeleine when we were in the studio almost twenty years ago. My heart skipped a beat as I felt the energy of the whole audience.

The human connection - hmmmmmmmm........

ojimenez
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ojimenez Monday, 27 February 2012

When I first saw the photo of the painting of the Boit sisters here, I was haunted by the memory of having seen it at the Phillips Collection in Washington DC. The Phillips was open to the public ( no fees, no 'singles nights' and no crowds) and I used to frequent the gallery, spending a great deal of time in the house lounging and enjoying the collection. I was so haunted by this memory that I had to dig up the 'Phillips Collection Catalogue of the Pictures in the Gallery, in my library. I was wrong! It is not listed in the catalogue. However! while browsing through the plates I found the painting I mistook for the Sargent: "Hide and Seek" by William Chase. Similar in mood and subject, but not the same. Whew, I can sleep now!

Cheers
Ojimenez

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maria donovan
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maria donovan Wednesday, 24 October 2012

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