On Wednesday, May 3, from 7– 9 p.m., at the Topanga Library, Topanga Authors’ Group (TAG) presents author/illustrator Lisa Desimini who will speak about the creative process underlying her prolific career. A Q&A session follows.
Desimini uses two books to anchor her talk, “The Fleatastics” (April 2017), and “Famous” (Sept. 2015), each of which took nine years to complete from initial concept to published book.
Desimini, who lives in Topanga with her equally talented husband, Matt Mahurin, has illustrated more than thirty books and written ten, including “The Fleatastics” and “My House,” which was one of the New York Times Ten Best Illustrated Books of the Year.
Kirkus Reviews raved about “The Fleatastics,” saying of the newly published book, “[the]…universe of fleas delights with boundless imagination and pockets of hilarious flea dialogue, vivaciously depicted.”
With vibrant colors and charming characters, Desimini illustrated Naomi Shihab Nye’s poem, “Famous,” considered one of her most…well…famous poems. A leading American poet and recipient of the Pushcart Prize, Shihab Nye said, “Lisa and I imagine “Famous” as a possible gift book for people of all ages. People who have been famous to us, whom we wish to encourage, who are at the crossroads, who are graduating, who are nervous about the future, and who want to be more or other than they are.”
Desimini said of her work, “I feel best while I’m creating. I’ve been doing it for so long that I know when I feel a certain yearning, an unsettled feeling or slight melancholy, I need to create. I’m a bit addicted to creating, and part of the addiction is getting the work out in the world. Throw in a bit of obsessive compulsiveness on top of talent and passion and that’s what helped me achieve success.”
Still, like all of us, in some way or another, she is challenged to make sense of things outside of the creative realm. “What I’m not so great at is all the other things in life,” she said, “except cooking and yoga.”
Back in the world of books, the projects she chooses allow her free-ranging imagination to soar. Although many writers and artists tout perspiration over inspiration, Desimini said, “I like feeling inspired. I believe we can cultivate inspiration. It’s a way of looking at the world with a sense of wonder.”
This illuminating talk may spark a desire for others to find their own ways to harness inspiration and put it to work.
The presentation is free and open to the public. Refreshments provided by Friends of Topanga Library. Free parking. Topanga Library is located at 122 N. Topanga Canyon Boulevard in Topanga Canyon.