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Ah, Chapter Five! I’ll never forget an estate sale I went to at a 1970’s-style house, full of knick-knacks and furniture, all somewhat nice, but all overpriced.
In the center of the living room there sat a Chair, proudly and in a place of glory, with a price tag like everything else. Not a “Free” sign. It wasn’t out by the curb for garbage day.
Because on that chair, there were stains. STAINS, on the head and arm rests! As if it were no big deal! As if no one would notice or care! What tales could that chair have told? Clearly, it had been someone’s favorite.
Smith and Jones wouldn’t feel revulsion at its appearance, no. Quite the opposite. Infinity. Chapter five was so much fun to write, and it was one of those chapters that if you happened to be walking by my house when I wrote it, you would have heard me gleefully cackling.
Lastly, in my original text, whenever I wrote The Chair I had it in French Script font, thusly:
I liked the way it conveyed how Smith and Jones felt about that chair. Unfortunately, it messed up the spacing of the sentences, so with an ever-so-slightly-broken heart, we went with italics instead.
And that is the tale of The Chair. And The Race to get it.
Smith and Jones are back in Chapter 5’s The Race. And this time they’re taking no prisoners. ‘Cept maybe each other…
This is my 101st post! Ta-dah! Also, I initially spelled “Premiere” wrong. I’m like the Amish, always needing just one flaw in my quilt of a blog, to show that I’m not perfect…
Chapter 4 was a tricky one for illustrations. It’s not that long!
I’ve never had a little girl, so when I first drew out Hazel’s proportions vs. the dolls for Nina, I apparently had her really, really tiny according to my brothers, who have SEVERAL daughters between them. See?
Well, it would take awhile to spot it, but it says 41″ at the top of Hazel’s head, which was the height I thought she’d be. Apparently, that’s practically FAIRY size, even for a nearly eight-year-old girl who’s small in stature.
So when I did this sketch (we were still going back and forth over Hazel’s height. What’s not to like about fairies?), Hazel was grabbing Ruth’s skirt.
Nina kindly obliged, but when we got the sketch, the skirt-tugging looked kinda silly. So we asked her to have Hazel tug Ruth’s sweater instead:
Trying to figure out what to do for a second illustration for Chapter 4 was a little tricky. I did a sketch of the car’s packed interior, which was…ho hum. But then I sketched the image I REALLY wanted:
It’s a little bit macabre when you think about it, but I have a somewhat dark sense of humor. It’s kind of a play on a mother saying, “If you get in a car accident and you don’t have clean underwear on, don’t bother calling me!” kind of thing.
We decided to go the more unusual route illustration-wise. Behold:
Nina just keeps getting better and better. We recently got a drawing for an upcoming chapter of a character that you haven’t met yet but that I’ve mentioned occasionally. One that was in the original book. The difference between the two versions is astonishing. I can hardly wait for you to see!
And that is the art for Chapter 4. Happy Friday to you!
What if you could pick out your own car? The “rusty old white car” that Ruth is driving is a blend of two cars from my past: My trusty white ’93 Ford Explorer steed that I’d owned since before Adam was born and that brought me to Iowa, and The Bomb.
Back in the 1970’s when we were living in Cedar City, Utah shortly after having moved there from Hawaii (THAT was a tricky transition, let me tell you!), my big sister Carol entered a contest given by the local car dealership: Put your name in for a raffle, and if it was drawn, for $25 (which basically covered registration) you would win a car. My sister won!
Not being a car expert, all I remembered was that “The Bomb” (which is what we affectionately called it, before calling something “da bomb” was cool) had rounded corners and tail fins. And THAT was the car I wanted Ruth to have, except white in honor of my Explorer. So I sent Nina these pictures(‘cept I asked her to make it white):
Turns out (I talked to Carol last night) it was a ’56 Chevy Bel Air!
And more than once, my poor son or I or my sister Julie have had to retrieve cans after they fell out of my car and rolled onto the ground upon opening my car door, because I am a lover of Diet Coke. And I am a thirsty driver. Better than littering, right? Of COURSE right, I’d never litter! Even WITHOUT the nickel deposit!
I’ve decided to find that clanging sound in the middle of a crowded parking lot of an empty can rolling away humorous. Look at the can lady!
Why has no one snatched me up yet?
Tomorrow: Nina vs. Ruth round 4. Maybe THIS time I’ll win! Maybe not…
Ah, the days of my youth! I was a THRILL-SEEKER, and didn’t even know it!
I may be aging myself here (and I seem to be doing that quite a lot), but when I was growing up, there WERE no seatbelts! Or at least, if there were, I don’t think we used them. But being the cautious soul that I am, I used to occasionally think what I would do in case of a car accident. With my super human speed, I would simply straighten out my arms, and…brace. Much like Hazel Twigg in Chapter 4.
In today’s world, of course seat belts are important! So far in the book, there seem to be a lot of vehicle references and illustrations, and I’ve made sure that seat belts are very much present, even asking Nina to add them to the first illustration in Chapter 1, when they weren’t readily apparent.
My son Adam bore the brunt of our cautiousness: We followed the guidelines, and he sat in a booster seat – a booster seat, mind you, not a car seat! We weren’t that cruel – long after his peers had forsaken theirs, until he was the recommended height to ride unadorned. Two cautious parents and a cautious child. Safe as cotton.
But back then! Back THEN. What do you do when you have a passel of seven kids and vans hadn’t been invented for familial use? Why, you get a Country Squire station wagon, of course! Look at this old ad:
WHAT?! “The rear of the wagon is a play area”?!! Certain death! But it was fun, that car. Those little jump seats. I remember them well:
The long road trips with no little portable DVD players or video games. Just chips and cookies and my mom with her ukelele and folk songs that we knew all the words to. And plenty of Volkswagon Beetles to spy. And fights aplenty as well, but that’s how we rolled. Wild. Free. Thrill-seeking. Without even knowing it.
To Carmella Schultes, she of Studio C in Pocahontas, Iowa!
This Hazel Twigg & the Hollyhock Hideaway project is all still in the very beginning stages so there will be many more people to thank, but for now…CARMELLA! She came to my house when I was a few days out of the hospital and patiently took my portrait photo to use for publicity purposes as I moaned and kvetched. And it turned out GREAT!
Like many, I am wary of having my picture taken. “What?!” I will screech in my melodious voice. “That doesn’t look like me! I’m a much younger, thinner person, surely!” But Carmella (who may be a wizard or fairy of some sort) definitely worked her magic. I don’t look half bad. PHEW.
We’re so lucky to have such a gifted and professional photographer living just on the outskirts of Reliance, Iowa. If you haven’t already, please “Like” Studio C on Facebook!
THANK YOU, CARMELLA! From the bottom of my heart.
Coming tonight at midnight! Chapter 4: Stuffed.
Logo…logo…hmm….What to do, what to do?
Thank goodness for my brothers! I mean, before all this I’d written TONS of books. Okay, maybe ONE. And only in my head. And actually, only the cover and the title – which I actually didn’t quite finish deciding on, so…
Anyway, if you have a company, you need a logo! What it would look like was decided on by consensus, and then I helpfully did a mock-up, visions of “This is the one thing for Hazel Twigg that is all mine! I drew the original art for the logo and it was so good we decided to use it!”
Hmm. Not so much:
Enter my ADORABLE niece Sophie, who happens to be the same age as Hazel:
She always wears a flower in her hair and is one of the most enchanting little creatures I’ve ever met.
And now, for Nina’s take. It took her a few times too (seriously! Try drawing a little girl – or anyone! – looking down!) so we sent her the Sophie picture, and here’s the final:
You can kinda see my niece’s face in there (I think so at least)!
This shall heretofore be known as the FIRST version of the Hazel Twigg logo! So that lo, these many years into the future at the millionth episode of “The Antiques Roadshow,” the appraiser can say to his hopeful appraisee, “This is the earliest logo! Before they did this or that or something-or-other and changed it!” and the crowd in the background will weep with shared joy.
And you saw it here first.