Debbie Ridpath Ohi reads, writes and illustrates for young people. Every few weeks, she shares new art, writing and resources; subscribe below. Browse the archives here.

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Welcome to Debbie's Blatherings, a personal blog where I've been posting since 1997. You can find my archives here: 1997 - 1998 - 1999 - 2000 - 2001 - 2002 - 2003 - 2004 - 2005 - 2006 -2007 - 2008 - 2009 - 2010+ (current archives)

If you're a kidlit/YA writer or illustrator, see Inkygirl. To find out more about me, my books and comics, various collab blogs, online portfolio and press, other miscellanea, browse the navigation links beneath the header banner. And thanks for visiting! -- Debbie Ridpath Ohi

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Birthday card from my friend Cathy

Had a fine birthday yesterday, starting with a breakfast made by Jeff:

Jeff had been up late gaming the night before so I had told him he didn't need to wake up early, but he did anyway. The sweetie.

Have I mentioned he makes the best coffee?

My sister Ruth took me out to Patisserie La Cigogne for lunch, and in the afternoon I did some book project work.

Later in the afternoon, I decided to be lazy and watch some Bletchley Circle in bed. I only recently came across this British series while browsing Netflix, and was intrigued by the intelligent writing and the strong female characters.

Then I napped. I'm a Master Class napper, in case you didn't know, which is yet another reason I love Ruth's new SSH! MY BROTHER'S NAPPING picture book (launches from Scholastic Canada this week!) so much:

In the evening, Jeff and I went to my favorite restaurant in Toronto, Café Pleiade (557 Mount Pleasant Ave, Toronto). You can read the review of Café Pleiade I did for blogTO back in 2007. What I love about the restaurant: the fantastic food and the cozy atmosphere. Our favorite seat is the cushioned alcove by the front window.

Jeff and I have gotten to know the owners over the years, and I was delighted to find out that the chef (Stavros Tsimicalis) is a published poet!

A wonderful day, and I felt very spoiled.



My friend Errol Elumir is the biggest Studio Ghibli Fan ever (please help me prove it by casting a vote)

I created the image above in honor of my friend Errol's birthday because of his obsession with Studio Ghibli :-)

Some of you may have heard me talking about my friend Errol, who is my creative doppelgänger as well as being one of the most positive, sweetest people I know. He and his daughter helped create the I'M BORED book trailer music video for me. 

Anyway, The Toronto Film Festival (TIFF) is holding a Studio Ghibli Contest to find the biggest Studio Ghibli fan; reward: tickets to see 10 Studio Ghibli films at the TIFF Lightbox. Errol and some of his friends put together a fantastic graphic compilation of Why Errol Elumir Is The Biggest Studio Ghibli Fan Ever so people could vote, but the TIFF interface was such that the graphic ended waaaay too tiny for people to read. :-(

Errol gave me permission to post his comic below. If my friend's Studio Ghibli Fan obsession amuses, delights or horrifies you, I urge you to go over the to Errol's Studio Ghibli Contest TIFF page and vote for him. You can see the other entries as well -- all admirable, of course! But not nearly as Studio Ghibli-crazed as Errol's, in my opinion. :-)

See what I mean? If you agree that my friend Errol is the Biggest Studio Ghibli Fan, please take a moment to vote.


Yet another advantage of getting older

October colour

As I get older, I find that I don't care quite as much about what other people think.

Of course I still CARE. You won't see me romping about the streets in my pajamas, as much as I like wearing my pajamas. (Side note: interesting that my Mac tries to autocorrect the word "pajamas" to the British spelling "pyjamas").  I just don't quite care as obsessively as I did when I was younger.

Part of this is due to the fact that I'm more confident than I was years ago. Part of it is because I realize now that there are WAY more important things I can be stressing about other than what people are thinking of me.

Even if I tried to convey this message to my younger self, there's no way I would have listened to the older me.

The whole "don't worry so much about what other people think" can also be applied to creative work. It's hard not to want to read every review, constantly check sales levels, compare yourself to others…but if you get too caught up in how other people judge you, then you're just asking for a lot of angst. I don't know about the rest of you, but I find it necessary to shut all that out when I'm trying to do something truly creative.


Anniversary :-)


Emergency brain surgery, family and priorities

As a few of you already know, my dad-in-law had emergency brain surgery recently. To our immense relief, the operation went very well. Because the pre-surgery condition was severely affecting my dad-in-law's short-term memory, nurses had posted some reminder signs on the wall. Just hours after the operation, he is MUCH improved --yay!-- so we could remove most of the reminders (see photo above). I decided to add one reminder, though....guess which one? :-) (apart from the get well card, that is)

The next round of drawings for my current book project (NAKED! written by Michael Ian Black) were due around the same time. I had to write to my editor and art director at Simon & Schuster Books For Young Readers to tell them I might be late; I was stressed about having to do so, because I know how missing deadlines potentially affects the process and publication dates. Both my editor and art director, however, were SO supportive. My editor wrote back:

I am so very sorry to hear about your Father-in-Law.  PLEASE take all the time that you need. DO NOT worry about us or the book.  Your family is so much more important than any deadline. 

I ended up being only a day late, but the email meant a great deal to me. I was already a huge fan of Simon & Schuster BFYR (please see this post) but now I am even more so.

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