Discover more from PSA from Danielle Davis
Public Service Announcement #1
Would you like to write a poem a week with me? + PSA: sometimes stuff doesn't work + wish picture books, short film for kids, quotes + my creative process and news.
Note: You’re receiving this newsletter because you’re a subscriber to my author newsletter or blog, This Picture Book Life. The venue and vision have changed, but it’s still me, Danielle Davis!
I’d be delighted if you stay subscribed for occasional public service announcements of all kinds that strive to offer validation, comfort, and hope. And, still-always-ever, picture books! From a maker of stuff for kids (writer, collaborator, teacher, person). If you’re a writer, educator, artist, maker, caregiver, person, this is for you.
Want to write a poem a week together?
I've been writing poems. They spill out from the anguish and grief of what we are witnessing: the continuing unfathomable siege on Palestinian civilians and children. From helplessness. The feelings must go somewhere. They go into small actions of calling, writing, marching, talking, sharing—and into poems. Maybe they will help someone who reads them. Maybe writing some will help you.
How is the torment of our moment shifting you? Where is it spilling to?
Would you like to write a poem a week with me for a month? It may be healing. You could share yours in a comment or email me! You don’t have to, don’t worry. In any case, let’s do it! I’ll share another in the next newsletter.
PSA: Sometimes stuff doesn’t work
For anyone making anything (writers, artists, teachers, etc. etc. etc.)
I've had so much stuff not work. Even though I always begin with hope. And with the intention of offering hope to others, along with validation and comfort. That’s my mission, vision for every project I embark on.
But a lot hasn’t panned out. It’s important to disclose that. Whole novels I spent months or years on. Videos, series, projects, collaborations, picture book manuscripts, agent partnerships have halted, faltered, fallen flat.
And then submissions! A decade’s worth of stuff not working in that department, rejections in the hundreds.
Right now, I finally have the agent I’ve dreamed of. A partner. Collaborator. Diligent, supportive, kind, brilliant, on fire. We’ve been submitting for almost a year: picture books, a novel in verse. So far, stuff hasn’t worked out. We haven’t had that sweet win we’re waiting for.
But stuff not working is not my measure. It simply can’t be! Who’s with me?
All that stuff I did. All that stuff you did. The stuff we made. It matters. It builds. Your voice. Your trying. It is making you smarter. Wiser. Truer. Farther on. More you. Yes, it is making you. The process, the doing, the creating. (And it will make eventual wins that much sweeter.) Every venture that feels like a debacle, waste, is fodder. Of use. Bricks, sticks, glue. An assembly of what you’re made of, what you really want to do. It contains your process, and—most importantly—your reason for doing it in the first place.
If all the stuff I’d tried had worked out, I wouldn’t have made what I’m most proud of now, even if no one else has seen it yet. It doesn’t mean there isn’t sadness and frustration in those debacles, those losses. Those many might-have-beens.
But there is also, you know it, hope.
These picture books
These picture books are wishes for children while we witness so many suffering: wishes to dream, connect to others, be safe and warm, feel the world belongs to them as it should.
WISHES OF THE WORLD by Melissa Stiveson illustrated by Khoa Le.
THE WISHING MACHINE by Jonathan Hillman, illustrated by Nadia Alam.
ONE WISH: FATIMA AL-FIHRI AND THE WORLD’S OLDEST UNIVERSITY by M.O. Yuksel, illustrated by Mariam Quraishi.
THE WORLD BELONGS TO YOU by Ricardo Bozzi, illustrated by Olimpia Zagnoli.
This animated short for kids
I AM FROM PALESTINE is on the film festival circuit, but the director, Iman Zawahry, decided to post it on YouTube “as a resource for all in their advocacy for Palestine.” It’s illuminating—and only five minutes! (Based on: Baba What Does My Name Mean? A Journey to Palestine, written by Rifk Ebeid, illustrated by Lamaa Jawhari.)
These quotes from recent reads
"But is hate dying out? That woman was teaching her son to be just like her."
from YOU ARE HERE: CONNECTING FLIGHTS, Meredith Ireland’s story (p. 51).
"Dreaming is important."
from BIG TREE by Brian Selznick.
What I’m working on
My next project will be revising a middle grade novel-in-verse. Around a year ago I was inspired by the incredible, powerful WAVE by Diana Farid. I decided to try and translate an abandoned prose novel into poetry. I was nervous, intimidated. But then, click! I’d been writing picture book manuscripts for so many years, essentially poems, so this form truly feels like my writing home. I’ve engaged the translation process from prose drafts to verse three times now, a discovery and homecoming thats’s gratifying, joyful, and challenging each time.
My partner, Todd Davis, and I had our first in-person screening of one of our stop motion shorts—I write/produce and he directs! It was part of Newport Beach Film Festival’s “Shorts for Shorties!” We’ve been selected for some festivals so far and even won a couple best animation awards!
Our Instagram account is called, that’s right: Public Service Announcement, stop motion projects for kids and all ages.
Thank you for spending this time with me and reading! I hope it served you as moments well spent. And please leave a comment about what stuck with you most or stay tuned for the next one.