I can’t tell you how long I have been looking forward to this. It is quiet again, so quiet I can hear the call and respond of two owls. One over here and one way over there across the river. Every winter I stand outside just to listen to them talk and wonder if they are the same owls or are they different owls?
One summer night my husband and I were walking down the street near our house and there was this cacophony of noise, a high chirping sound, almost like an electronic pinging.
It was then we realized that all of the trees were full of bats. It felt as if we’d walked into a large gathering, blocks and blocks of trees full of bats and they were all very excitedly talking to one another.
We could just barely see them flying in the air, it was twilight and extremely intense because neither of us had ever experienced this type of bat event, before or since.
I recently noticed a pair of crows lurking on the wire outside my window, they watch me work. They seem very inquisitive and curious, but whenever I get up, they both fly off with such attitude, it almost feels like a snark. One of these days, maybe they will introduce themselves to me.
When I signed up here on Svbtle, I wanted to use this wonderful glorious platform to mostly document working on the book - Writing things out helps me figure out what I am doing and where I need to go next, which means repeating myself often. So if you think I am repeating myself, I am. When I write these posts, I pretend no one is out there reading this. It helps. It is extremely hard to find a blogging platform that does not automatically allow comments. It is nice and quiet here.
The thing I hate about Social Media is the crushing feeling of having to perform for strangers. The endless scrolling of constant self promotion is exhausting to read and I didn’t want to do that anymore. All of the platforms feel so dirty, infested and dangerous. I don’t like being manipulated by algorithms, and especially those crafted by Zuckerberg.
Instagram is Facebook
Facebook is LinkedIn
Twitter is a raccoon who drank a liter of Mountain Dew while munching on a handful of No-Doze. And that raccoon has an agenda x 1000.
Everyone is feral over there, it is hardcore online dopamine addicts mainlining tweets 24/7. I feel like there are two worlds out there, the real world, and then there is TwitterWorld.
I finished inking the 12 Zodiac posters, and right now I am working on the poster for the National Museum of Civil War Medicine in Frederick, Maryland. It is all penciled and I am now inking the rest of it. The border is made up of Skulls & Crossed Bones and Minie Balls and Broken Bones.
This will be poster number 14, with only 10 or 11 posters to go.
And of those 10 or 11 posters, 5 still need to be designed and drawn from scratch, which takes the longest. Penciling takes not nearly as long, and inking goes pretty quick, depending on how much detail there is.
Out of all the Civil War museums I visited (and there were many, many museums), the ones that stand out the most is this one in Frederick, the Doug Bast Museum in Boonsboro, Maryland and the Petersen Boarding House directly across the street from Ford’s Theatre in Washington DC.
Honestly, I am surprised the Conspirator’s hanging ropes at the Boarding House haven’t been removed yet in order to keep up with the homogeneous bland landscape of corporate museums that are so prevalent today. We certainly don’t want to offend anyone’s delicate sensibilities.
I also finished inking another poster that was inspired by an exhibit I saw at the Mutter Museum way back when I flew to Philadelphia for research.
One of the subjects in my book lived and worked in Philadelphia in Stamper’s Alley during the early 19th century, and I wanted to see it for myself. I was not disappointed.
I was so dedicated to the history of this person that we woke up at 3 am, drove two hours in the dark from Astoria to Portland, took a plane from PDX to NYC, then took a train from Penn Station to Philadelphia, and then in a brutal heat wave, we walked many, many blocks - just so I could photograph a place called Stamper’s Alley. There were a few other places I needed to photograph in Philadelphia, but Stamper’s Alley was the main reason I traveled to Philadelphia.
Running E & W from 2nd to 3rd St. between Pine and Lombard Streets, the alley was originally Chester Alley and was owned by John Stamper, mayor of Philadelphia in 1759 and when he died in 1782, the alley was changed to Stamper’s Alley.
When we got there, I happily walked the entire Stamper’s Alley from start to finish and back again. I believe there are currently three original houses still standing on Stamper’s Alley, but I couldn’t figure out which ones they were, the newer houses blended in so beautifully with Revolutionary War era buildings. I was duly impressed.
With winter coming up, I decided to buy a diffuser and so far, my most favorite oil scent is DIRT. Much to my delight, it really smells like freshly turned dirt, which is kind of nice actually.
And I have to show this off. I absolutely love the dark irony.
It is a mid-19th century French entirely gilded thermometer of Joan of Arc standing on a gold pillar, and the thermometer is mounted on the pillar. The script on the pillar is magnificent, there is even Blood Heat.
Music: Ring Around the Moon by Elephant Revival