Wednesday, February 6, 2019

Shakespeare, SCBWI, and My Mother

First, Happy Fifth Book Anniversary to my book of humorous poetry,


Okay, you're asking what does Shakespeare have to do with SCBWI? To the best of my knowledge he never joined it. He never even applied for a Karen Cushman Late Bloomer Award. (Being over 400 years old, he would have qualified.)

In October 2002, I went to a Toronto SCBWI meeting held in the beautiful art gallery owned by an illustrator who was a member. But the gallery owner and I were the only ones who showed up! Apparently, the date had changed and no one told us.

Before we realized that no one else was coming, I tried to make small talk with Hashem.

"My mother is an artist," I said, filling in the silence.

"Oh, really? She should bring in her portfolio. Maybe I'll show her paintings here."

She didn't have a portfolio. I asked my artist-friend, Angela, how to make an artist's portfolio, and followed her instructions. Then I brought in the portfolio.

In December 2002, my 85-year-old
mother had her first and only solo art gallery show!

The show was named after her painting (shown above), which I named

Imitate the Sun.

I was inspired by this passage from Shakespeare's Henry IV, Part One.

Yet herein will I imitate the sun,
Who doth permit the base contagious clouds
To smother up his beauty from the world,
That, when he please again to be himself,
Being wanted, he may be more wondered at.



  1. You did your mother and the bard a good deed.As to that SCBWI chapter, phooey on them for changing the date like that. But it may have been providence.

  2. Thanks. It's the most bizarre incident of accidental networking I've ever done! :-)

  3. Beautiful passage! It must've been so lovely for your mom, and you too!

  4. Thanks, Vijaya. My mom said that the gallery show opening was the third best day of her life, after her wedding day and my wedding day. She used a walker by then, and had arranged for a chair so she could sit. But a cousin commandeered the chair. My mother was so busy enjoying herself she forgot to be too tired to stand!

  5. What a great story. Sometimes it is all about timing and finding yourself in the right place at the right time, even if you didn't think it was :)

    1. Thanks for reading and commenting, Alicia. You're so right. I never would have met Hashem or made that comment about art if we hadn't been waiting alone together in his art gallery...

  6. Thanks, Katie! She had a lot of fun with abstract art, although she was trained in portraits and landscapes when she attended the Ontario College of Art. :-)


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