I’ll be joining a discussion on Whitman at Word Books in Brooklyn this Tuesday: “Join authors and illustrators inspired by Walt Whitman, including Justin Martin (Rebel Souls), Amy King (I Want to Make You Safe), Evan Roskos (Dr. Bird’s Advice for Sad Poets), and Allen Crawford (Whitman Illuminated: Song of Myself), for a celebration of his work.”
Congrats to my friend David Kessler: His fantastic trailer for Whitman Illuminated reached 12,500 views this week!
Got to take a peek at the Communication Arts Design Annual via iPad this afternoon. First time I’ve seen a digital version of CA. Nicely done. Proud to be included. Lots of fine work this year. (Feel like Rip Van Winkle after being out of the loop for so long. So much has changed.)
August is the most serene, restful time of the year. The days become slightly cooler and drier, and the sun crouches lower in the sky, giving a day-long impression of late afternoon. The lightning bugs are fading away and the air is dozy with the drone of locusts, fat with vegetation. The living is easy and so is the daydreaming: one’s animal senses are at ease because of the benign, savannah-like climate and the bounty in the fields. This is when the best crops of the year begin to roll in: I’ve been gorging myself on local watermelons, blueberries, peaches, corn and heirloom tomatoes. It feels like I haven’t seen a piece of meat in weeks. I’m a model citizen of the Republic of August, burning my passport as I write this. Pass me the olive oil.
The August daydreaming has been very fruitful indeed of late: during my Portland visit, I spent an afternoon inside of an isolation tank–something I’ve wanted to try since I was a kid. I won’t go into detail, but suffice it to say that my brain bore fruit: I saw the “glimmer”, and I want to see more. I’m hooked.
It’s been a busy summer, and I’ve been catching up on assignments since my return from Portland (an announcement from Tin House should be coming shortly about the posters). Promoting the Whitman book has kept me confined in cities for the better part of the season, so I’ve been trying to squeeze in some much-needed wanderings deep in the Pine Barrens before summer begins its final decline. I’ve managed to take in some of the late summer orchids, so this season hasn’t been a complete wash for me as far as bushwhacking goes.
I’m relishing this lull before September arrives and my calendar fills up once more. I have some Whitman-related events coming up, but for the moment I’m fixing my gaze on the next book project. I’m working up notes on four or five possible directions; we’ll see if one or two of them forms a gravitational field over the coming weeks, or if a publisher will take an interest in any of them. I’ve long anticipated that I may have to stratify my output among commercial publishers, small indie presses, and self-publishing, so this might be the point when I begin to explore crowdsourcing options for my less commercial books. We’ll see. I’m excited about what the winter may bring this year.
Much to my detriment, I always try to embark on a new course every time: most people like “brands” and a savvy artist will repeat themselves until people catch on. I’m more interested in exploration, seeing if I can pull something off: if I know I can do it, I tend to lose interest. I could bang out one kind of book fifty times, but the prospect of doing so bores me to death. (Obviously I’m not very savvy.)
I might eventually revisit previous projects from a fresh angle, but at the moment I feel like I’m still staking out territory, working out just what it is I do particularly well (I’m a bit late to the game and so I have to conduct my education in public). If and when I manage to stake a claim, I’ll deepen my investigations. Until then, I’m wandering in the brambles and following my nose into the dark woods, looking for that elusive glimmer.
I’ve been in Portland the last few days, living in the bungalow next to Tin House. Yesterday I completed the signing and numbering of all the limited edition (150) screenprints, which will be available for sale at my presentation 7:30 tonight (Aug 1) at Ampersand Gallery & Books (2916 NE Alberta Street, Suite B). I anticipate an announcement about the posters very soon, so keep checking the Tin House site.
Just a reminder that I’ll be flying out to the lush, misty wilds of Portland next week to visit my friends at Tin House and to conduct a couple events:
Thu., JULY 31st: Song of Myself marathon reading at IPRC
Fri., AUG. 1st: Slide lecture and Q&A at Ampersand Gallery and Books
There may be a few other events in the offing, so stay tuned. Hope to meet some of you next week!
Just a remainder that I’ll be talking at the Ebenezer Maxwell Mansion in Germantown this Thursday. Check the link for reservations and tickets.
I’m coming to Portland! I’ll be at Ampersand Gallery & Fine Books on August 1st. More Portland event announcements to come.
More information here.
Here’s the arts program that aired the piece on me tonight on NJ public TV. Zip to 3:32 to see the interview.