It’s difficult some days to think about where in this sea of writers and established authors and lifelong readers I actually fit. The only group I consider myself a part of is the first.  

I don’t think it’s difficult to get your words printed anymore, but  the task of getting noticed by anyone is far more intimidating. But I ask myself why I even care about the latter. This isn’t my full time thing. If it were, I probably wouldn’t be able to feed my kids. I don’t think that  because I consider myself a mediocre writer, but rather because the field is so saturated now with writers, both phenomenal and notsomuch that I find it hard to fathom making a living off what I write at the moment. To start, there are plenty of people who are lifelong writers. But is that an excuse to just hang it up and never do this?

I never expected anything grand to happen overnight. It’s all I can do to simply keep looking ahead, keep writing, keep reading and seeing what’s out there, and not concerning myself with any kind of notoriety yet. Or perhaps ever. One of my concerns is falling into a trap where I could actually be noticed, but then I’d be forced to write in a way that isn’t me. I’ve noticed some authors that I read night after night have a couple of outstanding books that feel as if they wrote straight from the heart, with passion and vision; and subsequent books felt forced and not at all in the same caliber as the first. And my guess was because once they became “well known” the publishing companies put pressure on to produce, and that is counter to everything I want to achieve here. 

The more I’ve read to my kids, the more I felt that no matter what the result I could do this. 

Whether anyone outside of who I know cares or not about what I write is not the reason why I wanted to do this. I wanted to write without compromise. That isn’t to say I’m above criticism— I plan on finding writing groups and getting some critical feedback and training, while simultaneously attempting to retain all of the original fervor that made we want to do this in the first place. 

To me it seems the only antidote to this bumpy ride to self-confidence and competence as a writer is to keep going, and stop thinking about this as much as I am right now. The only way achieve that it to have the goals be simple: keep it personal and precious. It may mean you’ll never ever see on anyone’s best seller list, but that was never my intent. I only write in hopes that somewhere, someplace, I make another kid (or perhaps grown-up-kid) lose themselves in my words for even a short while.

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Something rolling…

There is a new book well underway. I thought of the idea shortly after the Kickstarter books had first delivered, because after that milestone, I felt the emptiness of not having something to work on. 

And so, I gradually pieced together the ideas for this new book, and recently, have been writing more consistently during the week, sketching and planning. I still don’t know if I’ll follow a similar style for the artwork. I know I want to add color in some respect, but I don’t think it’s going to be something so drastically different from what I did for Zosan. I think there is a way to add it such that it becomes an accent and a complement, rather than taking over the page. I’ve been looking at lots of other illustrators’ styles looking for ways to employ color in a less-than-wholesale approach. And I see there are many possibilities for that. 

Will it be letterpress? I think so. I may have to print it myself, but at least there’s a possibility for that. Maybe there’s a way to share that task. All I know is that it was altogether worth the effort to have the book made that way, and I want to do it again. 

The writing remains one of my bigger challenges. I’ve realized I want to create something that is neither a picture book, nor a novel. Books that are meant to be read to a child, with images that help them follow and discover and text for the adult to find their inner kid. I think of all the books that delighted me: Pooh, Bread and Jam for Francis, The Phantom Toolbooth, Howliday Inn, The House with the Clock in its Walls, Peter Pan, Stuart Little and Paddle-to-the-Sea. There’s a range of illustrative styles in there, but most of them are more story than picture book. I simply like both aspects of this enough to do both.

I’ve encountered another writer recently who told me he stopped writing, because he didn’t read much anymore and he didn’t think he had anything to write about. And that has been a concern of my own throughout this process. I have not historically prioritized setting aside hours to read, and in recent years that’s certainly been the case. But I told this particular writer what I’ve been telling myself: to write anyway. Read what and when you can, without worrying about the end result or the audience. 

Why that is so difficult is the big question, but I try not to dwell on the cause, either. I just keep searching for a way to keep going. 

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Limited edition prints

They are here! The first limited run print of the book. Printed using a Vandercook press on French paper speckle tone by me in the Signal/return shop, there are only 10 of these (with the text) and 10 without. 

I had some printed with the book – but they were inadvertently folded by the binder. So… I took the opportunity to make some myself. 

You can have one these special 6″ x 18″ prints for $40 (plus shipping)

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