Monday, March 28, 2011

In Watermelon Sugar

When I began doing these Richard Brautigan covers I'd never read any of his work and had a vague idea that he was a pot smoking psychedelic hippy writer, and that I wasn't going to like his work very much. I was wrong. In Watermelon Sugar is kind of amazing. It is clearly connected to the sixties counterculture milieu Brautigan was connected to, and concerns itself in part with something that seems a bit like a commune in a late sixties, California kind of way. But that is incidental to the heart of the book. There is a wonderful sense of blissful naivete underlaid with a pervasive dread that almost gave me goosebumps. The story feels set outside time in a way, but also has oblique far future, post-apocalyptic tones. In that way it reminded me very much of CF's POWR MASTRS.

Here's a passage from the book that I drew from for one sketch. A second accepted sketch, and something like the final cover are below that.

A Lamb at False Dawn

pauline began talking in her sleep at false dawn from under
the watermelon covers. She told a little story about a lamb going
for a walk.
"The lamb sat down in the flowers," she said. "The lamb
was all right," and that was the end of the story.
Pauline often talks in her sleep. Last week she sang a little
song. I forget how it went.
I put my hand on her breast. She stirred in her sleep. I took
my hand off her breast and she was quiet again.
She felt very good in bed. There was a nice sleepy smell
coming from her body. Perhaps that is where the lamb sat down.

Friday, March 25, 2011

The book's done

Last Monday night, at something like 1am I clicked on the upload button and sent the last remaining bits of the Big Questions collection to D&Q. There will likely be a few rounds of proofs and last minute scouring for stray commas, but basically, I'm done. And it's a huge relief. Here's the cover:
In addition to catching up on the rest of my life – which has been more or less on hold since I started the revision process last October – and sleeping a lot, I'm cleaning up my house which has been strewn with scraps and stray pages from the book. And coffee cups and stray shoes, bills, pen caps, rulers, cereal bowls and grocery store receipts. Some of the book related scraps found their way into the last few posts, without giving away too much of the new material here are a few more:

I plan to do a few more posts in the coming days regarding an upcoming project I'm doing with Nick Butcher and Nadine Nakanishi at Sonnenzimmer, a book cover I did recently and another button piece. Also about the expanded reprint I'm planning of my painted strip, The Game, from Kramer's Ergot #7. And about fifteen other things that I haven't had time to think about for a while. Hello world.