An Answer to The Nagging Question...'What do you DO?'

So since I quit my own school last month I can't count the number of times I've been pressed to answer the following question:
"What do you do?"

It reminds me of a time right after college (shout out to SMU) when I had enough free time to sit on the floor eating snacks and watching HBO documentaries about random topics all day. I specifically remember one about wealth. There was this kid (see: 20-something year old male) who was wildly privileged. I mean, all this guy did was hang out in New York and have tailored suits made. And critique the suits. And have them altered. I recall being floored by just a snippet of his commentary. He purred something like, "Well I never ask anyone what they do. It's incredibly rude. It should come about in normal conversation." I agreed with him. Since the early 2000s that question along with "How far along are you?" are two inquiries I actively avoid.

Being in the midst of a huge transition in your life almost BEGS the question, though. Also living between two continents. And then there's the rebel in me that likes to answer all questions truthfully. Which means the answer depends on who's asking and what kinda mood I'm in.

In the last month or so alone I've given the following responses:
-"Everything."
-"Nothing."
-"Live in my imagination."
-"Whatever I wanna do."
-"My life is dope and I do dope ****." (that was a gift to the world from Mr. Kanye)
-"Write."
-"Create beautiful things."
"I dunno."

If asked today, my answer would be "I live creatively."
I like that.
'Cause I don't just write. I do some other dope stuff that can't be summed up in a two or three sentences.

Like, for example, I'm a book stylist.
Yep.
A book stylist.

My illustrator and homie for life, Phil Howell, well he and I have this process that's been the same for all the books I've worked on with him so far (we're up to three). I'll pick out images and a layout for the book and give him inspiration based on how I see things in my mind and describe them to him and he brings them to life with his art. I also do the page layout. He nails it...every.single.time. It's a true creative partnership. And sometimes it's eerie just how spot on he is with how I've seen whatever he's working on in my head. In short, I style my own books.

Anyhow, we're about to get started on the fourth book that I've written...Aunt Bunny. It's a fiction book based on two people who are very dear to me and were chosen to be illustrated just because I'm so fond of them, Rhonda Nicole and Janine. They are big and little sisters in my imagination, respectively. In the story, Janine is the mom and she runs a business with Rhonda. Janine's a single mom to an adorable little girl who's got an attraction to the past, because she's always hanging out in the vintage shop Rhonda and Janine own and run together. It's one of my favorite projects so far.

So I've been styling this book, and I was just gonna use some random cute kid off of Pinterest for Phil to use as illustration inspiration for the kid. But why do that when I could maybe use YOUR kid?!

The child in the story is a girl...I'd imagined her to be African-American because both Rhonda Nicole & Janine are, but that doesn't necessarily have to be the case. She's in fourth grade, so 8 or 9 years old. Each of my book projects have had some sort of whimsy as they evolve...in keeping with that spirit, I'd like to invite anyone who's interested in having their daughter illustrated in my fourth book to submit a picture of her by this Friday, August 1st. You can send pics to info@theenglishschoolhouse.com with 'Aunt Bunny' in the subject line.

The kid to be featured in the book will be chosen using the age-old, ever reliable scientific tool of random selection...
eenie meenie miney mo.

Look forward to seeing how this evolves and takes off...
Check out some of the pics I've included in my book styling for Aunt Bunny below!






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