OK, it wasn’t ten years, but it sure feels like ten years. I had to pester and prod 40+ contributors and — despite having flunked math — that’s a lot of people. Then, of course, I had to try and cram in all human knowledge into 116 pages — no easy task, take my word for it. Not to mention a boatload of illustrations. All this material was piled sky-high on my desk and i had to sort through it all and ALPHABETIZE the entries! Imagine what a chore that was. But that was just the beginning…the goddamn thing had to be placed in the layout and made to look like it all made sense — had an inherent structure, justified typography, and cross references — even freaking footnotes!!
It should all have been proofread, too, but I didn’t have the time for that, thank you very much.
If anybody asks if you’d like to edit an encyclopedia…tell them to go to hell.
Oh, but don’t get me wrong…this is a book you’ll surely want to own and give as a gift. Heck, what better gift than the gift of knowledge, right?
You can order the book as we speak at this LINK … tell ’em Norman sent you.
On second thought, tell them Diderot. (Look him up.)
Already terribly successful in France (emphasis on terrible), a revised and expanded edition has just been rushed into print. Includes my signature, new footnotes, additional illustrations and other goodness. And at under $11 it’s a steal, so please steal it here.
My dear friend Alain Arias-Misson was on hand for a small launch party at the publisher’s home office at 75 Rue Saint Honoré. Alain was accompanied by the lovely writer Karen Moller and their good friend, the Oulipian wizard, Marcel Bénabou. (EDITOR’S NOTE: Alain and Marcel are at work on an oulipian interview which will appear in a future issue of Le Scat Noir)
UPDATE: “…I really feel constrained to say that my esteemed and notorious author-friend is as usual overly modest – it was most certainly not a small launch! Yes, the offices are quite small, so that not every member of the literary Parisian glitterati who wanted to get in – could. Norman Conquest has become something of a byword if not a shibboleth! in Anglo-French intellectual circles and I was daunted at having to say a few brief laudatory words, as much was expected! Well, in the end, all I can say is Bravo! and when is the American lit-establishment going to learn from Paris – as it did in the past with Joyce, Miller, Eliot, Hemingway and so many others.” — Alain Arias-Misson, Paris
I have yet to receive my author’s copies, but I hear it’s quite lovely. It has some nice illustrations by Stephan Evrard; a drawing by the late Georges Perec; and a preface by Derek Pell which, according to my editor Jason Steinholt, contains sufficient praise for a blurb or two. Speaking of blurbs, the publisher has sent a complimentary copy to Betsy DeVos (if that’s her real name)—admittedly it’s a long shot, but it would certainly be helpful to have the backing of the U.S. Secretary of Education. So, fingers crossed.
At the mention of Paris, I’m sure there’s panic among my followers, but don’t sweat it, the chapbook is in English. In fact, there’s only one sentence in French and if you can’t read it, so what? You’re not missing anything.
You can nab a copy for a mere ten bucks on Amazon now. If you want to see the subtitle CLICK HERE.
I can’t say much more about the book because I haven’t read it. Writing and reading are separate activities. Anyhow, the less said the better is my motto. Besides, it’s always wise to leave something to the imagination, assuming you have one, and since you’re reading this blog post it’s unlikely.
I will, however, give you a hint: the book is not about hats, mutants, marmosets, dwarves, ex-wives, Catholicism, meth labs, smartphones, or Donald Trump. Hmm, that rules out nearly everything except maths. Oh well, you’ll just have to take your chances .
When creating art for a book or magazine cover, I usually hit the mark fairly quickly after going through some initial rough passes, i.e. getting through the shit before the brainstorm.
Every once in awhile I think I’ve struck gold, only to put aside the art for 24 hours and then return to find something ain’t right.
Back to Square One.
Rarer still is when I have a series of variations – like them all and can’t decide which is best. That’s where I was today working on the cover for a forthcoming “cryptlipo” themed issue of LE SCAT NOIR.
I wound up with three designs:
Each spoke to me —albeit in different languages. (BTW, the word is a bastardized marriage between crypto and Oulipo)
To reach this point had taken two and a half days. When I sat down to do the cover I didn’t have the photograph. Instead, I was focused on the type in Adobe Illustrator.
I liked the concept of the characters hiding behind the theme, a game of hide and seek. This would be quite nice if I was only going to use typography. Combined with an image, however, it would probably be lost to the viewer. But then I realized that was OK because it was still there and captured the theme.
Sure enough, after I extruded and warped cryptlipo,“hidden” was barely visible. 🙂
Once I had the photo of the man at his typewriter, colorized and tweaked it, it was then a matter of coloring the type.
I placed each image beneath the masthead for comparison.
Alas, all three looked pretty good.
FINALLY… I made a decision.(I had to, I’m the editor).
I chose the one at bottom here.because the typography seemed integrated with the photo as opposed to looking slapped on. The type in the other two are more dynamic, but overallI think this one looks best.
My new collection THREE PLUS THREE MAKES SEVEN: Potential Literature for Those Who Flunked Math will be out next month from J.V. Steinholt’s Blazing Chapbooks in Paris. Don’t fret, it will be available on Amazon in North America and Europe and the texts are all in English, so no need to hire an expensive translator with an attitude.
It’s a slender volume, too, so you can take it on the subway, slip it in your purse or beach bag, no fuss no mess. It’s also squeaky clean, so you don’t have to hide it under the bed, you can proudly display it on your coffee table and impress your guests.
I don’t know what the cover price is yet, but whatever it is it’ll be worth it. Trust me.
I’m pleased to announce my new text “Lust in Translation” appears in the “Summer Smut” issue of the noble quarterly WARSHIP. The issue includes a mini print, three stickers, a fold out poster, & a condom.