Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Request for Help, Contest, and Idea Free to a Good Home

People who attended my talk at the L.A. SCBWI Writer's Day in August may have noticed that I have not yet posted said talk to my website as promised. Part of the reason is personal -- I need to carve out the time to wrangle the thing online -- but part of it is technical, too: The Grand Conclusion to the talk was the layouts to a 32-page picture book I wrote, designed, and art-directed, illustrated with digital pictures; and this file, in PowerPoint form, is 10 MB. I really want to put these layouts online -- ideally with each spread in an individual page on my website, so I can put my commentary below the spread -- but the picture files alone will overwhelm my poor website. . . . Any ideas? Should I convert it to a PDF and just let people download it? Is there some easy way to make all the pictures lo-res? Or should I simply buy more webspace (which my thrifty Midwestern heart balks at)? What's the easiest way for me to get everything online?

I've been thinking about going to a new web server altogether when my DSL contract is up in August -- so, for instance, each individual page could have a nice web address like www.cherylklein.com/talks/moralsmuddles.html rather than the mysite.verizon.com/23743blah that's there now (if you can find an individual web address at all). If you have recommendations in this direction, please let me know.

Incidentally, these are the kind of illustrative delights that await you in the picture book:

Believe it or not, this is neither the goofiest nor the ugliest picture of me in the book, though it is the one that makes me laugh the most; and the person who comes up with the best caption for the photo wins a Fall 2007 Arthur A. Levine ARC of their choice.

On a completely different note, after tonight's child_lit dinner I was talking with Victoria Stapleton of Little, Brown about David Foster Wallace's latest essay collection. The apparatus of footnotes attached to that gentleman's work reminded me of an amazing display I saw in the Jewish Museum a few years ago labeling all the various parts of a Talmud: the Talmud text itself at the center, with one commentary arching over the right, another on the left, glosses and other commentaries framing it below, notes spidering up the side. . . . I mean absolutely no disrespect by this, and I hope no one will take it so, but I think it would be absolutely fascinating to try to write and lay out a story (or a collection of stories) in this way: the main story in the center, related stories on each side, backstories or nonfiction commentaries below. Wouldn't that be cool to read and to follow?

The stories would probably have to be about Judaism or the Talmud in some way, in order to make full meaningful effect of the structure (paging Jonathan Safran Foer -- though Victoria said some commentaries on classical texts are also laid out this way? Still, the content of the stories would have to relate to the form in some manner). But I am neither a classical or Judaic scholar, so I will never write this; and therefore I offer the idea free to the world, and to any of you. If you do something with it, let me know.


  1. Picture Caption:

    Cheryl Klein a sad song on her "air violin" as caller Missy Snodgrass whines, moans and curses about never hearing back about her awesome "queery." Hopefully this means Missy will stop leaving messages just to "say hey."


  2. Arg- it's late. Make that "CK *plays* a sad song..."


  3. I'm new to your blog (after lurking while you guested on teenlit loop) and am already a fan--maybe because I'm right there with you on the Virgo thing, the musical theatre thing, and the tattoo thing.

    On the PowerPoint: If you have any sort of image editing software (Paint Shop Pro, Photoshop, etc) then you should be able to go to Image Size and select a lower resolution (72dpi is good for the web) and the width you want. I also just tried out this website, shrinkpictures.com, and they have an online resizer that seems to work.

    (Web/graphics stuff is my alternative passion, so if you wanted to trust a total stranger with the pics/file I could resize them in about 5 minutes.)


    [the soon-to-be retitled teen book]
    Dutton Children's Books, Summer 2008

  4. My caption:
    "The dentist said the novacaine will wear off. It's this red suppository I'm worried about."

    Hubby is a computer geek if you want to ask him computer ?s
    Just let me know if you need him. His website is; http://fox.phoenix.az.us/


  5. Medieval Talmudic glosses and medieval Christian glosses (the commentary winding its way around the text) both drew inspiration from each other, I think, since there's some evidence that Jewish artists would work on Christian Bibles, and maybe vice-versa. The medieval scholars that really got the page-layout thing going were Anselm of Paris (with a 'simple' layout of bits of gloss beside the Bible text), Gilbert (of Chartres and Paris) (with gloss beside the text) -- and the funkiest of all, Peter Lombard (d. 1160), with his 'Magna glossatura' -- with commentary on commentary all spidering across the page and through the text and over and under. I wish I could show you pictures! They're beautiful.

  6. Here's a good picture of Peter Lombard's gloss:


    And it has this nifty picture of St Augustine. He's pointing to a gloss that identitfies him as the author of it, but he's annoyed, because the attribution to him is wrong. Therefore, the scroll he's carrying says 'Non ego', which means, 'Not me!' Hee!

  7. Cheryl, Tera Lynn's on the right track - I can help you with that, if you'd like.

  8. Photo caption: Can you see me NOW?

    Can't wait to see your powerpoint. - Amy

  9. Ifyou want the file sizes to be smaller and/or individual images, then I would recommend converting to pdf, opening the pdf in an image editing program (I know Photoshop will do it) and saving each page as a small size jpg -- this will keep all of your ppt formatting (bullet points, etc.) but make the images small without having to reformat.

    If you need help, let me know -- it's easily done, and you should come over for dinner sometime anyway.

  10. For the last time, no! I didn't take your blue scarf!

  11. This is the biggest Hot Tamale I've ever seen. Yee-haw!

  12. Uh...probably not the best way to do it, but I wonder if you could just upload the images on to Flikr.

    As for the Talmudic text idea--isn't this basically a low-tech hypertext story? The cool (and beautiful) thing about your idea is that there's something aesthetically pleasing about all those little colored boxes. I bet it would be difficult to print (technically difficult, that is).

  13. Photo caption suggestion: Hey! How 'bout that? They put mirrors in these cell phones now... No, wait... Camera?

    -- Sandy

  14. Picture Caption:

    Oh no. It’s that pesky Ned Ryerson from Groundhog Day calling again. Doesn’t he ever give up? I better answer this and get rid of him once and for all.


    “No. No. No. Ned, I don’t want to up my insurance policy.”



    “You want me to do what?”


    “You sicko!”



    -Kimberly Lynn

  15. My caption:

    "You did WHAT with the turkey baster?!"

    (Relax, it's the World According to Garp! ;-) !!)

  16. Hi Cheryl,

    Melinda Cordell sent me- she knows I'm a big fan of the Harry Potter books and all those who help make it come to life. I'm a web developer by trade, and I would be happy to help. If you trust me with your files, I can create a nice Flash slideshow, complete with captions, for you. The slideshow would provide you with a nice way to present your book while protecting the images from getting copied without your permission. I can also host it off of my website if you are worried about bandwidth. Contact me at tnguyen [at] angusjournal [dot] com, or you can see my credentials on my blog (www.mindgraffiti.net -> About Page).

    Thuy Nguyen

  17. Picture caption:

    The day she read, "Newberry Committea" on her call display was the day a telephone company hired an editor.

  18. "Rubbish!" This wasn't the first time, and, undoubtedly, wouldn't be the last time, Cheryl took a picture of the wall while talking on her phone. She has an uneven number of these photos in her collection and will have to wait until there is another sale before she can get this one framed & matted.

  19. Can you BELIEVE it was Severus Snape that killed Harry Potter!!! Wait . . . did I say that out loud?

    -- Annie Bailey

    (29 days and counting, yee-haw!