Tuesday, November 28, 2006

I've Been One Poor Correspondent

Apologies again for not posting more frequently. The Thanksgiving holiday combined with the rush of several end-of-the-year work projects consumes a lot of time. A few odds and ends today:

I just got off the phone with a reporter for the Berlin newspaper Der Tagesspiegel who is doing a story on Mom's Cancer from the healthcare book perspective. I thought it was a very nice interview, with a few thoughtful questions I hadn't been asked before, and the reporter was very knowledgable about comics and graphic novels. In fact, he said he hopes to place a second article about Mom's Cancer with a magazine that would address the graphic novel angle. No idea when either article will appear, but he promised to send me copies.

What the cool kids are reading in Germany.

I've been looking over a couple of cover designs for the French edition of Mom's Cancer. I'll post them here when I can, but have been asked to keep them under wraps for now. Foreign publishing is an interesting topic in general. Overseas publishers who acquire the rights to print Mom's Cancer in their countries often have their own ideas about looks or formats that will sell best locally. For example, the French cover might look very different. As long as the content of the story remains intact, I'm pretty easy-going about how it's presented.

A lot of authors retain foreign rights but I was frankly happy to let my publisher have them; negotiating contracts in other languages with unfamiliar legal systems sounds like the Tenth Circle of Hell to me. As a consequence, I really have very little to do with my book's fate in non-English-speaking nations, although Editor Charlie and Abrams are extremely considerate and solicitous about keeping me involved and happy (thanks, Jutta!).

I'll sign off with this photo of a rainbow, which my wife took a couple of days ago. You can just see a wisp of secondary rainbow to the right, with a hint of Alexander's dark band between them. Everyone knows that the sequence of colors in the primary and secondary rainbows are the opposite of each other, right? (Optics was my favorite physics course.)

What I find interesting about this photo is that my wife took it early in the morning, just after sunrise. Since a rainbow forms in the sky opposite the sun--in fact, the shadow of the observer's head always points to the exact center of a rainbow's arc--this is just about as big and high in the sky as a rainbow can be, almost a complete half-circle. (And yes, pedants, I'm aware of circumstances that create full-circle and more exotic rainbows. You know what I mean.)

Where was I? Sleeping, of course.

(We now enter the free-association portion of today's post). It was a rainbow that destroyed any esteem I might have once held for "Painter of Light" Thomas Kinkade. Don't get me wrong, I was never a fan of his syrupy sentimentality, but I could understand the appeal of his work and considered him technically accomplished. That was, until the day I saw one of his typically majestic mountain vistas with a beautiful rainbow suspended in a spot where no rainbow could possibly exist. I think one of the primary functions of art is to tell the truth as the artist sees it; even if I disagree with their vision or dispute their skill, I should be able to count on their integrity. By painting a rainbow that neither he nor anyone who ever walked our planet had ever seen, Kinkade revealed himself to me as a big fat liar. When you call yourself the "Painter of Light," you have a responsibility to get the light right.

Some people become less judgmental with age. I'm trying to become more.


L said...

Ah, a French edition! Neato! Personally I'm waiting for the Spanish or Japanese addition. Spanish because I'd be able to read some of it and Jampanese because that would just be fun to look at...

L said...

Ack! I misspelled "Japanese" the second time! *sob* This thing needs editing capabilites...

ronnie said...

Oh, God. Thomas Kinkade. The Margaret Keane of the 00's.

Good ol' Thomas Kinkade. How I hate him. But I do think it's nice that you managed to mention him and "Tenth Circle of Hell" in the very same post.

Anyway, having said that, I'm pumped about a French version also and if there is related publicity material or press releases en français, send 'em on north and I'll send it to some Regional Health Authorities (RHAs) in the mostest Frenchest parts of Nouveau-Brunswick and Nova Scotia, and also in La Belle Province (that's Qwee-beck for you Americans).

Félicitations !


R said...

Now I know what to get you for Christmas! (Thomas Kinkade picture!) Hah! ;) Nah, I wouldn't do that...it'd cost too much.

I like the picture of the rainbow; it's very nice. It's a shame we didn't get a picture of that second one we saw.

Anonymous said...

OMG...what's r doing up after midnight???
Nurse Sis
PS--I enjoyed the post and I LIKE Thomas Kinkade~ whatever!

Anonymous said...

I enjoyed this post, although I think its kind of presumptuous for you to assume you know what Kinkade sees and experiences. Maybe in a certain place he saw exactly the rainbow he painted! Unless you followed him around his whole life I don't think you can know.

But keep up the good work. I liked your book.