Visual Inspiration for Sailing Le Cirque

I promised progress! I spent some time looking around online and created a board on pinterest to collect some images I thought might help me in the next step of this project, which is to visualize how the text might work with the illustrations to tell a more complete story.

pirate ship coloring page
pirate ship coloring page

I found this coloring page at a really great website that I will be visiting again to print some pages up for rainy summer afternoons. This is really close to what I was thinking when I tried my hand at this drawing.Sketch of a boat

I also love the idea of a story book with coloring pages as the art, that would be fun to explore! Maybe a wipe off version vs a paper version though, so kids can read/color it over and over.

I also love stickers that can be colored in. Those are so muh fun that I may have borrowed a page of them from my daughters to decorate the inside cover of my latest journal. I bet that would be another great way for kids to interact with the book.

I found this article on how to draw a pirate ship, so I might use it to get some practice before I try my hand at Le Cirque again.

paper boat

This dreamy art is a handmade piece I found on etsy. This is how I imagine the lines

leaving as they arrived
With sails slipping by
in the darkness of night

I love the lines, the colors and the way the boat looks like it’s folded out of paper. Maybe a paper boat wouldn’t quite work for this story, but the whimsy is there.

Circus performer juggling with balls on wire
Circus performer juggling with balls on wire

This photo is from this article. 

This is how I imagine the performers of Le Cirque might impress their audience with the lines

then they dance, they prance, pull tricks, entrance
Make fire burn, stand on their hands

The tightrope in particular I pictured strung up between two masts, but after reading about how seasickness is amplified up there and that sailors were often sent up to the crow’s nest as punishment, I am reconsidering.

Sleepless Dreams

So I found this on Pinterest and of course it’s a dead link, but I love the action of this image. I can totally picture this as a point of view Mario might have in the final lines of the story

Mario, of the front center seat,
Le Cirque over waters so deep.

So these are a few ideas for how I might visualize some lines in this book. There are supposed to be waaay more illustrations in a picture book, but this is a good starting point for inspiration.

I don’t really fancy myself as an artist, but I’m compelled to at least give it a try so I can see Le Cirque to completion. Even though I am already working on another project and I don’t plan to query Le Cirque, I’m itching to see it as a more complete final draft. But more than anything else, I’m just dying to read it to the kids and for that I need a physical book. With pictures.

Because Reading is Winning

When I was in the eighth grade, they introduced a school-wide Accelerated Reader contest.

“… And at the end of the year there will be an assembly to announce the winners and give them their prizes!”

You’d think they announced a 365-day Christmas, I had never been more excited about something.For me, reading was the prize, but a prize for the prize?

I already walked the hallways hugging a book and passed the long bus rides reading, but this sparked an obsession.

All year, all the time, I was reading. In line at the cafeteria, walking the halls, during class. I gave up my lunch and breakfast recesses to be in the library. Every Friday afternoon, I made a beeline to the library to snatch two books to take home for the weekend before the bus left me (indeed, the bus driver had to wait for me a couple of times).

I read so many books.

One of my classmates saw me with yet another book one day.
“How many points is that one worth?”
I looked up from my book, but it took awhile to register her question.
“Oh, I don’t know.” I flipped the front cover open. “Two.”
She scoffed, shaking her head.
“You’re doing it wrong.”
She pulls a thick volume out of her bag.
“This is worth 16 points.”

I looked from her book to mine. I was not convinced; I knew for a fact her book was really boring. Why would I take the pleasure out of reading just to win?

When the end of the year assembly came, my classmate, with her few dozen big, boring books, came in first. I came in second.

You might think I was disappointed, but I was extremely proud of my accomplishment. Third place was over 100 points away and though my classmate had set out specifically to beat me, the bookworm of the school, she only just passed me by 15 points.
Plus, I had read a ton of books, hundreds. As my classmate had pointed out, many of them were not worth very may points, but to me they were worth more because I read them for the pleasure and the challenge. To come in second for doing something I loved and that I was going to do anyway was amazing. Besides, I had surpassed my reading quota from last year by a landslide. At this is age, I was still only competing with myself.

Looking back, I am impressed by my youthful attitude towards failure and success. Would my grown up self be able to accept an internal accolade so genuinely? Or would the external second place overshadow the internal best? I hate to think that my 8th grade self was more mature than my almost thirty year old self.

But its a good lesson to take from my younger self: In the pursuit of passion, never let the winning overtake the pleasure, and never deny a win, no matter what it looks like.


As one of my prizes, I received one of those big, red Webster’s dictionaries. This was actually a big deal for a poor little reader/writer like me. In the days of Y2K, a collegiate dictionary was a must-have addition to a home library, but we couldn’t afford one. As I stood up on the platform hugging my prize, I remember thinking that I had earned it, deserved it, won it fair and square, without cheating the system, and without compromising my love of reading by reading boring shit.

“Why are you still reading?”
My classmate was squinting down at me in the midday sun.
“I said why are you still reading? The contest is over.”
I stared up incredulously.

Some people will never understand.

Summer is here! Wait, it never left.

Summer has always been my favorite season, but now I live in Florida, and summer is the only season. Not only that but, summers in Florida are rainy. Yeah, this pretty much sums it up:


But as strange as it sounds, this year, I’m rather enjoying the summer weather. There is something about the sunshine filtering through the rain that just reflects my current mood.

Despite the rain, this is still my favorite time of year. July is my favorite month, and not because Harry Potter and I have our birthdays. Independence Day has always been my favorite holiday.

In fact, real quick,

Three Ways Independence Day is Awesome

1. There’s a BBQ. Grilled meats and corn, guacamole, watermelon, casual socializing, checkered tablecloths, American spirit.
2. There’s fireworks. Not only are sparklers hands down the best thing ever, but sparklers without wearing a sweater are even better.
3. There’s fireflies. And not just fireflies, but frogs and birds add their ambience to the sunset. Okay, I guess that one’s more a general summer thing.

But anyway.

Since the rest of the country has joined in on the forever Florida weather, I thought I’d share a fun outfit!


I recently wore this to have a casual dinner date with my husband. Heels are
rare for me right now because my son is still a very chaseable tot, so any night out without the little ones is a night for my heels to go out too!

Necklace- Bealle’s Outlet
Shirt- Walmart (beautiful similar option here)
Shorts- Macy’s (similar here)
Shoes- local boutique (no longer available, but see them here up close and personal. So. Beautiful.)

Oh, and these nails!


I am totally obsessed with this color but have no idea what it’s called! I just can’t remember the name of it and when I went back to the salon I couldn’t find it on the rack. So frustrating. If you have any ideas please, please fill me in.

What’s your favorite thing about summer?  Anyone else have to temporarily retire their heels for the toddler years? What about Independence Day? Anyone else as obsessed with it as I am?

Sketch of a boat

Did Sailing Le Cirque fall off the edge of the earth too?


Awhile back I wrote about a writing project I was working on called Sailing Le Cirque (found here, here, and here) I promised to share it on the blog after I completed it.

Well, it still isn’t complete.

I reached a point where I felt like I had overedited it, and now it’s like there are holes in the story. Or maybe it’s tight and the holes were always there and I need to fill them. Maybe the addition of artwork would fill them.

Actually, I just thought of that as I write this post. What about the artwork? I almost laugh out loud at myself (but I won’t, because it’s naptime).

I came to this post thinking the next step is to ask someone’s advice, and it is, but before I do that, I will need to spend time thinking about the artwork and what part of the story the images might tell.

Oh NOW you tell me

There is this piece of art that has been hanging around my house for years. My husband’s best friend gave it to us when he moved away.

And I hate it.

Spring Is In The Air II

Not the actual art itself. It’s the color scheme. Matching it to anything in my house was impossible. So we painted the walls this orange color and I bought a gray and blue comforter hoping to tie everything together.

And it kinda worked. Except it turns out that the piece doesn’t hang well anymore so it fell off of three different walls before being shoved behind the sofa.

Months later, I stumble on it in one of those cleaning frenzies I get.  I take it out and put it on my desk behind my monitor. I don’t know what compels me to put a piece of uninspiring art right in my face in my creative work space. It isn’t long before the cursor is blinking but I’m not.

That stupid picture.

I spy a Good Housekeeping magazine on my desk. It makes me think of the mantra I adopted for this year: Good Things are Going to Happen. And true to my random self, I grab some scissors and some washi tape and add Good Things to the middle.

I smile. It already looks better.

It is not really that random for me to turn this into a collage. When I was in high school, I spent the better half of one summer papering an entire wall and half of two others with a collage clipped from my stack of Cosmos.

My mom walked in on me one day (as a teen, she rarely came in my room except to remind me to clean it) and saw that shit spreading across the walls. She dead stopped in the doorway and let out a strangled, “What are you doing?”  I turned from my creation, staple gun in one hand, “I’m making a collage.” And my mom, bless her creative heart, she just blink-blink-blinked and left the room. (Thank you mom, for letting me be me!)

But a little washi tape collage is no big deal. Like my mom that day, my husband says nothing of my improvements to his friend’s canvas when he notices them.

So then a few weeks later, I want to add to the canvas, but I can’t find the washi tape.

So I glue my new pieces on.

Then I read this fantastic article and I am inspired to scrawl Write with Whimsy on the top corner with a Sharpie.

My husband comes home.

“You know Harv paid like $200 for this?”

I turn to look at him. Blink-blink-blink, “What?”

“Yeah, he and his roommate split it.”

I scoff at him. “Yeah right.”

My husband is a notorious exaggerator, but I google the artist anyway. I find her at So I type in the size and…



Collage On Canvas

But as I look up from the monitor at it, I don’t feel bad for it’s fate. On display with adjustments is better than stuffed behind a sofa. And if the point of art is to inspire someone, well then I say this piece is priceless now, because it inspires me every single day.

(I just want to mention that I really don’t have anything against this artist or her work. In fact, as I was hunting for the price tag, I noticed this piece, this piece, and especially this piece that I’d love to own by the exact same artist.)

If the earth is round how did I fall off the edge?

Yes, its been ages. Where have I been? Wrapped up in my life, guys. The last few months have been bleak, challenging, and devasting, but I am grateful for how much I’ve grown, learned, changed and strengthened.

One of the questions I often bemoaned to God during this time was “Why?” I really didn’t understand.

And one day, as I took out the trash and bitterly wondered “Why?” again, God sent me a sign.

There in the grass, in my path, was a perfect, gray feather. I had just read about feathers as signs the night before and the sight of one just as that question formed in my mind illicited a gasp.


I bent over to pick up the feather, and it had a perfect quill tip. For a writer like me, the message couldn’t have been more clear.

“Why, Celeste? Because you are to write.”

That message stopped my bitterness right in its tracks. And again, I appreciated the irony, because I had been asking for motivation and inspiration to write, and oh, did He give it to me in spades. In painful, painful spades.

It never looks like you thought it would.

But I always try to look at the plus side of any situation, and not only have I come out stronger on the other side of this, but I have a sheaf of 35 poems that I wrote during that dark time.

And these poems, maybe I will never publish them or even show them to anyone (or heck, even read them again- so much pain) but they mean something. They are special. Because they showed me that even in times of great pain, I am a writer. They showed me that writing is more than just a thing I want to do, it is part of what I am.

I am a writer. Maybe I need more practice, more experience, more time. But I am a writer. I will never doubt that again. This pain taught me that. And that makes it beautiful. That makes it worth it.