Billy Baldwin Tells Sea Stories In His History Books
Billy Baldwin, a resident of Sag Harbor, begins his routine around 6 a.m., immediately jumping onto a paddleboard or bicycle.
After his training he goes to work in his home office. The wall behind her desk is covered with paper, lined with postcards and writings, a spill of ideas that could become her next children’s book. A bookshelf stands in front of Mr. Baldwin’s office, filled with memorabilia from Cookie Island, the New York-based cookie company he founded and ran before moving to Sag Harbor in 2003.
He communicates with his illustrator, Liesl Bell, via Skype, since she lives in South Africa. They met on a website called Upworks, which is a global freelance work platform where businesses and independent contractors can meet and collaborate remotely. The two have yet to meet in person.
To???? On the personality side, we just click â ???? Ms Bell said on Skype from Mr Baldwin’s home office. “He’s an extremely creative guy, which I really appreciate. We laugh, we shout, we shout and the next day we work and everything is fine again.
“We are certainly going into areas that are very uncomfortable for us, in terms of techniques, the different elements of drawing and writing”,? Mr. Baldwin added.
Between writing, working with illustrators and editors, and hosting his annual Great Peconic Race, a paddle race around Shelter Island in honor of his late brother, Ted Baldwin, Mr. Baldwin has days well filled in front of him.
He has published four children’s books so far: “The Last Leaf”, ???? “The cookie that saved Christmas”, ???? â ???? Erase the waveâ ???? and his latest, “Story Glass.” ????
“My heart is trying to help children find their passions”,? said Mr. Baldwin. “…
To???? Story Glassâ ???? tells the story of a young girl named Jen who touches a “magic story bottle”, ???? send it back in time. To return home, Jen must overcome five challenges. The challenges address Jen’s biggest fears, and to make matters worse, she must defeat the “Story Bottle” master ,? an evil wizard. She is not alone, however, and the fairies serve as her guide. Mr Baldwin said his inspiration for the story came from a sea glass he found while walking on the beach.
â ???? This is wonderful, â ???? Mrs. Bell said. “It was difficult to illustrate. It was long. I’m pretty happy with it, actually. In the end, there were some really nice pictures and the story unfolded as I illustrated it, so it was an interesting process.
Mr Baldwin said that in the story Jen asked the fairies why they go on an adventure if it is scary. The fairies tell her that if they are afraid, they have fun too, which makes the adventure worth it. Mr. Baldwin can relate to his characters because he suffers from dyslexia, which makes writing a challenge for him. Even so, he says, it’s worth it.
â € œI’m Jen. There is always a part of you in your character, â ???? Mr Baldwin said, adding: “The fear of writing and doing it is worth the creation I can do. I was fortunate to have a teacher, the greatest teacher in the world, Dr Gertrude Webb.â ????
Because there was a stigma surrounding learning disabilities in the 1970s, when Mr. Baldwin was a student, he felt different from other kids in school. Then he had Dr. Webb as a teacher. She created her own program which Mr. Baldwin says has changed many lives, adding that one of her techniques was designed to increase confidence and reduce levels of frustration.
“She worked on my passions, which I was strong at”,? ? said Mr. Baldwin.
The late Dr. Webb was the founder of the Massachusetts Association for Children With Learning Disabilities and the Program for Advancement in Learning for Adults. Mr. Baldwin said that Dr. Webb referred to learning disabilities as “learning abilities”.
“In the 1970s, it was unheard of” ,? he said. “She revolutionized the way people looked at people with intellectual disabilities. “
Dr Webb was his teacher for three years and the two stayed connected long after Mr Baldwin’s school days.
When it comes to writing stories, Mr. Baldwin thinks he’s the best at crafting story ideas. He does this by drawing time lines on sheets of paper, marking the beginning, the middle and the end. It then fills in the intermediate lines. Underneath, he creates timelines for his characters, describing their stories and how they connect with the protagonist.
“I don’t care how many pages that represents”,? Mr Baldwin said. “I don’t care if it’s a good idea or a bad idea. Never change your idea, just launch it. And after a day of writing, planning and communicating, how is Mr. Baldwin doing? By staying away from words. He prefers movies instead.
For more information on Billy Baldwin and his books, visit billybaldwinstories.com.