The Unfolding

The Book
I officially completed the second draft. And because I don’t totally trust technology, I backed up all my images and second draft on not just one but three external hard-drives.

It 2004, I bought a wee 34-page booklet titled Widow’s Weeds and Weeping Veils: Mourning Rituals in the 19th Century by Bernadette Loeffel Atkins.

When I read thIs little tiny book, I was blown away, there were no other books like it out on the market at that time, none that I knew of anyway.

I wanted to write a similar book on this very same subject, so I ran out and bought an HP laptop at Fred Meyer and started researching. I had absolutely no idea what I was doing.

For nine years I researched, wrote, pondered, wrote, wrote some more and by 2013, I realized there was already a glut of Mourning and Grief books. Did you know that as of this writing there are over 10,000 books on Mourning and 60,000 books about grief? There was absolutely no point in me writing yet another book about either of these topics.

So I ended up scrapping everything and decided to focus on two specific topics about death, which meant even more research, hiring numerous genealogists, flying cross country to do in person on the ground research and then once I was done, putting it all in some semblance of chronological order.

Just getting to Draft Number Two has taken 8 long years, and I still have another year to go, maybe two years, depending on if the current supply chain situation hasn’t resolved itself by then.

Right now, I am deep into posters. I started 12 ZODIAC posters at the beginning of the pandemic in March 2020 and they are almost done. Three of them are inked and I just have to finish up penciling the last five and start inking the rest, which should be done in three weeks - maybe.

There will be a total of 24 posters, maybe 25. Most of them are already drawn up, except for five which should be a lot of fun to design and ink.

In between working on posters, I plan on updating the website with the first of two new batches of posters and Oddments from my collection.

When I got my first computer (a Windows ME - hhahahahahahaha), I bought some web space, a domain name and sat down and taught myself how to hand-code html. Nothing fancy, just the basic stuff like tables and links, and the more I learned, the more I loved designing and redesigning my website.

Apparently everyone learned how to code on eBay (Mr. Lister) and MySpace and then when Zuckerberg showed up, folks just gave up their one-of-a-kind extremely cool websites in exchange for the beige corporate look of Facebook, Instagram, etc. And that’s too bad. Why aren’t there more cool hand-coded websites?

As I’ve mentioned before, the book will have hundreds and hundreds of color images, but rather than being printed in the actual physical book, they will be hosted on my website instead. Color photographs in books are either extremely expensive, take up precious page space or just badly printed on the wrong type of paper and turn out muddied.

One section in the book will feature my 18th and 19th century tanned human skin collection, and I really want readers to be able to see the craftsmanship that went into making these remarkable pieces.

The book will be printed by an amazing American book printer, case bound with head and foot bands, a beautifully printed dust jacket (designed by moi) and embossed cover. I believe in Quality instead of Quantity, and the run will be around 1000 books. I have absolutely zero interest in awards, being on some pretentious list or participating in interviews. I am much more invested in telling a good story.

‘Write a book you’d like to read. If you wouldn’t read it, why would anybody else? Don’t write for a perceived audience or market. It may well have vanished by the time your book’s ready.” - Dame Hilary Mantel

Music: Dirty Old Town by The Pogues


Now read this

9 Thermidor, year II

Poster Update My Year-End To-Do list: — Finish 24 or 25 Posters — Update Poster Section on Website — Go through enormous pile of 19th century ephemera for the Book — Finish two Civil War dolls, one being an antique Lincoln Doll in Coffin... Continue →