The Power Of Cuteness

We have a saying in my family:

She’s not as cute as she looks.

Everyone in my family is cute. Some are beyond cute. It’s part of a family legacy that spans back centuries. Even our old Scottish family crest reads: “Leisure With Dignity.” How cute is that? When I gaze at old sepia-toned family photos I see bright-eyed round, chubby-cheek faces twinkling back at me and I recognize those familiar elements of cuteness that reside in the faces of my parents, my sisters, my nephew, and my own children.

Exhibit “A” from my Hall(way) of Cuteness Fame: Me and my little sister holding our puppy, Smokey.

The other day, at the dinner table, where most deep family discussions take place, we discussed how cuteness can be a important survival skill. For example, our cat might swipe at someone, but then because of her extreme cuteness, all is forgiven, and she continues to live a pampered life in our home. This example can be extended to just about every member of my family. Like I mentioned before, we’re not always as cute as we look, but like the cat, we always seem to land on our feet.

So this week, in honor of cuteness, the less recognized superpower, I have been drawing something cute each day in my sketchbook. Of course, cuteness is subjective, but if you’d like to follow along, I have been posting them on Instagram. The greatest thing cuteness can offer these days is to, in some small way, lift a person’s spirits and maybe even help a person smile. If either of those things happen when you see my drawing, then mission accomplished.

Bonnie

The 10th Annual Halloweensie Contest

Today I’m celebrating a social-distanced Halloween by posting my uber-short (100 words) kidlit story for Susanna Leonard Hill’s Halloweensie contest. For some reason this year, I’m kind of obsessed with Frankenstein. What if Frankenstein was a kid? What would it be like to be so green? Could Frankenstein be solar-powered? Anyway, hope you enjoy the story!

Furley Frankenstein

Furley Frankenstein was tired of social distancing.

He’d been cooped up in the lab ever since he became undead.

“Pleeeeeease, Dad? Can’t I go out? It’s Halloween.

No one will care that my skin is green.”

“It’s just not safe,” said Dr. Frankenstein.

“Don’t you know, there’s a pandemic going on!”

The door locked when it slammed behind him.

Furley groaned!

Furley stomped!

Furley moaned.

Furley noticed something shiny on the counter.

His dad forgot the skeleton key!

He listened for his dad’s footsteps to fade.

Furley snatched a medical mask,

unlocked the door,

and crept out into the night.

Professional Critiques

I am part of several critique groups and some of the members are published authors. I have learned so much from each critique partner and when I look back at my earlier drafts I realize that my work has improved dramatically over the years because of the help of fellow writers.

When I get really stuck with a manuscript, I’ll even pay for a professional critique. And sometimes, every now and then, I win a professional critique. BONUS!!!! That’s what I’m going for now. If you write for children and you want to enter as well there is still time. Here’s the link:

https://www.pbspotlight.com/pbcritiquefest

You’ll have to pick a manuscript ahead of time that you want critiqued, and even tougher, you’ll have to choose a few pros from the long list of authors, illustrators and agents who have generously donated their time to help lowly unpublished writers such as myself to get just a little closer to reaching their publishing dreams.

So, thanks to each and every one of you, because writing this post earned me 20 extra entries! Whoo-hoo!

Hope everyone is staying healthy and creative.

Lots of love,

Bonnie

Fall Writing Frenzy!

In celebration of the changing season, I decided to write an entry for the 2020 Fall Writing Frenzy hosted by Kaitlyn Sanchez and Lydia Lukidis. Thanks to the entire Children’s Literature Community for your encouragement and support.

Image courtesy of Unsplash.

Autumn

by Bonnie Kelso

The path to Preston’s art studio

is a narrow ribbon of dirt weaving between

blackberry bushes and pine trees.

Wide-eyed cats stare

as curious neighborhood dogs

push wet noses into my empty hands.

Finally,

the crooked house by the creek.

I walk inside,

welcomed by the scent

of sawdust and paint.

On the pegboard hangs folded art paper,

printed leaves,

familiar,

but at the same time,

different.

In the corner is her name,

not mine.

Autumn

All these weeks,

I thought I was the only student.

I never realized how special it felt to be here,

until now.

Have I been replaced?

Who is Autumn?

Is she clever?

Pretty as a scarlet maple leaf? 

I feel like the dry crumpled one,

smothered and crushed

between sheets of fresh paper.

Tossed aside.

Forgotten.

“Hi, Summer!” Preston says cheerfully,

“Come meet my new student.”

It’s her!

She is vibrant and full of artistic promise.

Tears well up in my eyes.

As I turn to leave,

she grabs my hand and gives it a squeeze.

“Friends?” she asks.

I am pulled to the table next to her.

Our hands slide into the gooey golden paint

and I feel special again.

Safely Facilitating Art

This Sunday I will be facilitating an art class at the Discovery Children’s Museum. It will be my first time teaching since the coronavirus pandemic began. The museum has been open for several months now and I trust they are taking every precaution to provide a safe environment for their guests and staff. We will be socially-distanced and wearing our masks as we create art together as a community.

Like so many others, I’ve missed these moments of connection. There is something special that happens when you create art as a group and it’s hard to recreate online the synergy of a live face to face (or in this case, mask to mask) event. But the more we work together to find our way through the challenges of this pandemic, the more resilient we will become as a society. Trust and respect have taken on new importance, as we navigate the aisles of grocery stores, the waiting rooms of doctor’s offices, and the recreational activities we long to engage in.

I’ve always believed that the arts play an important role in our individual healing processes. Part of why I love being an artist is to be able to connect with others in unique and profound ways. So, I look forward to an afternoon of creating art in new and innovative ways. We are all pioneers of this new world reality.

Decide

Since the lock-down began, I’ve suddenly had a lot less time to work on my projects. The funny thing is… I’ve somehow managed to still find time to work on my projects! I’ve had to make a lot of tough choices in order to stay productive. It’s heart-breaking work to have to say ‘no’ to comfortable routines and people we care about, but it helps you to understand in your heart what you need to continue saying yes to, no matter what. The world is changing on micro and macro levels all at once. Even when things “go back to normal” we’re only kidding ourselves if we believe that anything will ever be like it was. I’ve been learning important things about myself during these past few months. Like the other day when a distracted driver almost ran me over in the crosswalk. I learned two things in that one moment. #1, I learned that my crisis response is to freeze, not fight or flight. #2, I learned that I had been taking for granted that a few lines drawn on the street could grant me safety. They don’t. In these times we have to be extra vigilant. We have to observe. We have to look both ways, again and again, even when the lights are green and the little walkie man is flashing. It’s okay to freeze, but at some point we need to start moving again. But when we do, we have to remember that the world has changed, that we have all changed. There will be some things we will miss. But there will be other things that we can rebuild to be better than they were. We have to decide to hold on to that hope.

Bonnie

©Bonnie Kelso and Creating Your Experience

For a limited time I have reduced the price of my coloring books to $7.99. Enjoy!

Check out this new 100 Day Project on Instagram: #TinyLifeLines2020

Stay Connected

Being on “lockdown” might not be all that bad for some people, like me. I’m used to spending long hours working alone, but for some people this is a fate worse than prison. As we all grapple with where this global situation leads us, it is essential we stay connected with others and with spirit.

We are all in this together and we are stronger than we realize. In a meditation I received this prayer which has become my mantra:

May our bodies be fortified with boosted immunity, may our minds be filled with positive thoughts, and may our hearts be overflowing with generosity and compassion as we courageously walk into the future with dignity.

Sending love and hoping you are well.

Bonnie


Start your own PLAYBOOK!

My Playbook: A Daily Practice Of Recording My Divinely Guided Magical Life” is one of my favorite secret weapons for living a creative life.

Now is a great time to start a creative project of your own. If you’re not sure where to start, try getting one of these playbooks. Each day you can write and draw in it until you figure out what you want to create. Once you’re into a project, you can use it to monitor your progress. I’ve been using one for three years and now I’d be lost without it. (read more…)

Sea Slug

An exploration in drawing cute monsters brought me to this sea slug.

Hoping we all find a little buoyancy this week.

With love,

Bonnie

A new 2020 cover for the Playbook!

My Playbook: A Daily Practice Of Recording My Divinely Guided Magical Life” is one of my favorite secret weapons for living a creative life.

As an empathic creative, I am constantly bombarded with ideas, inspirations and messages from spirit. I used to have a day planner, several spiral journals, a sketchbook, and about a million post it notes floating around my house and work space. It was maddening trying to keep everything straight. I had no single resource to turn to to really measure my progress and reflect on where I had come from and where I was going with an idea or project. One day, I decided to try… (read more…)