I am pleased to announce that Sluggo the Smug Slug is now available. Click the picture to see the listing. I was originally going to append this story to my upcoming book A Walk Around Mont Blanc, but I decided to keep those books separate entities after all. I am publishing both books in colour, in order to fully appreciate the illustrations and photographs, which black and white printing could not do justice to.
Exactly one year ago today I flew to Germany to hike the Tour de Mont Blanc with my son, Terry. While on the trail in Switzerland, we passed a series of carvings made from tree trunks. This excerpt from A Walk Around Mont Blanc explains where the whole Sluggo thing started:
All day long we walked through woods along easy trails not far above the valley. Sometimes the trail went down to the road or followed a dirt track. We met several guided tours, both British. Usually we stopped and allowed groups to pass us, but this day we actually had to pass them, a rare event. We encountered several interesting physical features where the trail followed a narrow ridge in a straight line, with steep banks on each side that dropped far down into the forest below. They looked like manmade dykes, but otherwise appeared to be natural.
We soon encountered a series of signs indicating we were on a ‘mushroom trail’, and apparently as well, a carved stump trail. Some talented wood carver had sculpted a series of lifelike animals from tree stumps. The first was a deer, followed by a squirrel, marmot, eagle, giant rabbit, wild boar and something we could only think of as a slug, although it was standing up and seemed to have arms. We named this Sluggo the Smug Slug. Following Sluggo we came upon a snail, which we named Aaron the Arrogant Escargot, Sluggo’s best friend. Terry suggested this should be the basis of my next book.
I recorded the day in my journal, and we continued on. I knew that I was going to write about the Tour, but I had no idea that afterwards I would write a book about a slug. After I had written it, I decided to illustrate it too, so I painted many watercolor sketches spawning yet another project – three picture books for toddlers. I therefore take this opportunity to remind you of the first book in the series, which can be found here:
My novel The Magic Typer is now available in print and e-book from Amazon. Click on the image to go to the webpage.
The book is illustrated with my own watercolour drawings, but not in colour, since that would make the price about $20. However, you can colour the illustrations yourself with crayons or coloured pencils!
I’ve been at work on this for years, but after too many reviews to count, I can’t find any typos, although it is certain there are some lurking where I least expected. All this editing makes me wonder if it isn’t best to simply write and publish raw text. How much can you improve an idea? These are philosophical questions that I am tired of debating! Here’s one analogy: raw text is like a live concert, and edited text is like a studio recording. Submit your essays by next Thursday!
(English professors would say I use too many !!! But I don’t give a damn!!!)
I just published this first volume of a series of 3 short picture books about a slug and a snail. The book is available in print or ebook.
The story is short (24 pages) and simple, and aimed at 1-6 year olds. I did the illustrations in watercolour and ink, based on my original short novel for adults. That book, Sluggo the Smug Slug, will be published soon as part of my first non-fiction book entitled A Walk Around Mont Blanc.
Compare and contrast is the bane of every student who is given some subject with those instructions. Fortunately I no longer have to comply with such rubbish, and yet I am still thinking about this when it comes to painting. I often wonder when looking at paintings how long and hard the artist worked on them. I can only assume, but then I’ve never seen a painting that had the number of hours it took to create among the information given. There will generally be a title, and the name of the artist, but never the number of hours. I can understand why an artist wouldn’t provide this information, especially if they are trying to sell their work for a good price. In business you do not reveal your costs if you want to make as much profit as possible. What if stuff had the time it took to make it on the label? T- shirt, 5 minutes and 11 seconds; cost of production $1.29; price $9.99 – cheap! Oil painting, 3 hours, cost of materials $14.63, price $2500 – cheap!
How long did it take Vincent Van Gogh to paint some of his famous works? I’m speculating here, but I’d guess a couple of hours for some now worth fifty million bucks! Not that Vincent made any money. It’s just a shame his work is now so valuable, because otherwise I’d give him a hundred bucks an hour to paint something for me, as long as he didn’t waste time having dinner while the clock was running.
But back to the compare and contrast rubbish part – I often have a hard time deciding how long to spend on a painting. Sometimes it will take me a few days, and yet other times only a couple of hours to make something just as pleasing to my eye. So how can you compare those? I am at a loss, and lucky for me I don’t have to submit my paper to the professor tomorrow morning. So here are two recent paintings I’ve done. One took me a few days and many hours, the other took an hour and a half. Compare and contrast!
Dussel River, Dusseldorf, Germany
Church, Les Contamines, France
Yesterday we gave away 15 cubic feet of vinyl LP’s which we rarely ever listen to. One of them was the unmemorable last work of John Lennon’s, Double Fantasy, featuring the amazingly talented genius of Yoko Ono,
SHE’S THE GENIUS ON THE LEFT
which I only purchased because John had been murdered. I might have kept this but for the fact that I get disgusted by any reminder of You Know Oh-No. To cleanse my heart we listened to side 2 of Abbey Road, and thought wistfully of what they might have come up with next, but for their tragic demise. So we mourned the Beatles all over again, but were grateful that at 50 years old, this now ancient LP still has the magic. Among the treasures we discovered while sorting through the collection was another LP, which shall go down in history alongside the opening scenes of the TV show Mission Impossible. From 1973, I give you:
Hear How to TOUCH TYPE
I should mention that just like many Beatles albums, this LP came with bonus goodies, in this case a free Webster XL747 typewriter!
the Webster Guarantee
Now that was almost as good as the poster than came inside the White Album!
Nathanguitars is pleased to announce that we caved in and paid to block those pesky ads that were despoiling the beauty of this blog.
Sometimes my brain rearranges words in a form of temporary dyslexia. This is not unlike the unintentional spelling mistakes my fingers create on the keyboard. Like form, instead of from. I type these all the time, and typewriters have no auto-correction. But my word processing catches it later, sometimes.
I saw a sign recently that was supposed to say HUGE SAVINGS! NO TAX! but of course I saw the opposite. It reminded me of when someone says “don’t worry,” which of course always makes me even more worried.
I typed my weekly letter to #1 son this morning on a 1940 Remington Model 5 Deluxe. Complete with alternate spellings, x outs, and skipped words even, but I think it’s better than an email that is perfect. I like imperfection. Perfection is an insult to the universe. I would never insult the Universe. God forbid. Speaking of which I have just completed my latest novel, which is a charming tale of a pair of intrepid gastropods who set off to explore the world, find a duck, and also the universe, none of which they comprehend or even recognize. It was typed, like all the stuff I write, except this stuff here, on a variety of old and older typewriters. I leave you with an excerpt from the first draft.
Sluggo is the slug. Aaron is the escargot.