Sunday, March 3, 2013

The Day the Televisions Went Outside - Guest Post and Giveaway

Today we have a guest post author Redding C. Benning. A few weeks ago his mother posted a link for the video in a homeschooling group. I clicked on the link and called Yang over to watch it with me. The title was enough to get her laughing, and she continued to laugh at all the silly things the televisions where doing. I love the artwork, and wonderful message. 

Below you will find a Q & A, YouTube video (make sure you give it a thumbs up!) of The Day the Televisions Went Outside and giveaway. One lucky winner will received a signed copy of The Day the Televisions Went Outside.


What inspired you to write this book?

It was 2009, and I was living in Portland, Oregon at the time.  I was surrounded each day by the beauty of the Pacific Northwest, and I spent a part of each day hiking and walking in the forests that line the western edge of Portland.  A few months prior to writing the original draft of "The Day the Televisions Went Outside" I had left a promising career at a bank to go back to school to study Music and Mandarin Chinese.  
I'm not sure exactly when the idea for the story first took shape in my mind, but I do still have the first draft that's dated "June 2009."  

Perhaps the shortest answer to what inspired me would be this:  I was inspired by the outdoorsy, do-it-yourself culture that I was surrounded by in Portland.   
Who did the art work for "The Day the Televisions Went Outside"?

I did the artwork, but that was not my original intention for the illustrations. 
After I wrote the story, I began asking artists to illustrate the book for me.  Most of them were too busy to get involved in a project that big.  So I decided to give it a try myself. 

I had never painted before (except once in Junior High School), so it took me a year to sketch, paint, and design the book.  Much of the paintings were done outdoors during the summer of 2010.

What are you working on next?

That's a question with many many answers.  

Under the pseudonym Redding C. Benning I have just finished writing the story for the second installment of the "Televisions Outside" series called "The Day the Televisions Played Football (meaning "Soccer").  This is another nod to the Pacific NW.  Oregon and Washington have very passionate soccer communities, and I am still very much connected to that community even though I am currently living many states away in Chicago, IL.  This book should be available on YouTube for viewing in April of this year (2013).  I have also outlined 3 more "Televisions Outside" adventures that I hope to finish by the end of 2013.
I am also working diligently on my Maze Art.  I create very detailed pieces of art that function as solvable mazes, and I am building both a portfolio of pieces and a fan-base for that venture.

Musically, I have studio time on the schedule for a guitar album due to be released in April and another more avant-garde vocal project in the Summer. 

Throughout the year, I am releasing follow-ups to my 2 poetry chapbook series:  "psomepoems" (pronounced "some poems") and "Limericks in the Wild." 

Lastly, I am in the process of finishing a play that I hope to premiere as a staged reading in Nashville, TN during November of this year. 

Maze art? WOW, that sounds interesting! Where can we find out more?

Matthew's Mazes on facebook.

What has been your most rewarding experience since your book was published and went viral on YouTube?

My most rewarding experience since publishing the book in September 2010 has been raising my daughter Quinnie (she is now 14 months old).  Since "The Day the Televisions Went Outside" has gone online, I would say that the proudest moment was when Reading Rainbow 'liked' my story on their Facebook wall. 

That is amazing! I remember watching Reading Rainbow as a child! Congrats!

As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?

I wanted to be a professional baseball player for most of my childhood.  In my early teenage years, that changed to a professional musician (which I actually did end up doing for a while).  I've always wanted to be an artist, but I don't think I've ever expected to make a living doing it, and--to be honest-- I'm still working on figuring out how to make a living out of it now.   

Anything else you would like to share with us today?

A few people have asked me recently how I finish so many projects at once and where I find the time.  I usually tell them that there's a lot to be said for being balanced as a person in order to be able to create consistently day after day.  "The Day the Televisions Went Outside" still teaches me a lot about how to find that consistent place from which to create:  getting outside, finding what I enjoy doing, working together with others who share my passions, and learning to find beauty in every day are just a few of the things I am reminded of when I watch that story.   

The same people who ask me about my productivity usually follow it up with a comment like, "I wish I had the creativity to do that," or "I'd like to do something like that someday,"  to which I think the best responses are "you do!" and "you can!"  There's nothing unique or special to me that makes it so I can create and another person cannot.  I think that we can see in our children the endless desire to know, learn and create that is innate to our being.  It's unfortunate that the majority of us have assumed that "growing up" means losing this trait.  It is unfortunate entirely because it is our universal ability to create that can best serve the communities, cities and world in which we live.

What an uplifting outlook, and very true! Thanks for stopping by. We hope to see you again soon, and can't wait to see the next installment in the "Television Outside" series.


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