This past Wednesday evening Jen Reynolds, who works for Publishers Group West, was kind enough to invite me to Cincinnati for a dinner to meet with a number of people from the legendary Joseph Beth Booksellers store as well as Dr. Robert Wallace from Northern Kentucky University. Dr. Wallace's research focuses primarily on Herman Melville and the arts, so we had a great deal to talk about. I wasn't sure what to expect since this entire experience is still very new to me, but I had an extremely enjoyable evening talking about my upcoming book, the project itself, and Moby-Dick in general. I have a few very good friends in Cincinnati and they have been absolutely raving about Joseph Beth for years now, so it was good to learn that their effusive praise was well-founded. What really struck me about everyone I met that night was that they were all truly book people. Every one of them had a deep appreciation, almost a reverence, for the book as a cultural object and not just a collection of words or information. I'm really beginning to get the since that people truly do care about my upcoming book - as a book and for what it stands for and what went into its creation - which is absolutely wonderful. Honestly, there have been many times when I felt that what I valued in the creation of art was getting drowned out by a flood of digitally created imagery, which seems to be all the rage these days.
Anyway, it was a dinner, so I did not get to take many photos at all. Here, however, are two fantastic photos of me and Howard Cohen, one of the people responsible for Cincinnati's excellent Books by the Banks festival. In the first, we were just standing, and in the second I was apparently in the midst of making some filthy remark to Howard, which he took quite well. He is a pretty awesome guy...
Another highlight of the evening was spending time with Dr. Wallace, whose perspective and experience with Melville, Moby-Dick, and all the ways those two intersect with and overlap the visual arts was wide-ranging and fascinating. I truly look forward to many more conversations with Dr. Wallace, and there is a chance I may be able to spend some time with his students next year. You can actually see Dr. Wallace just to the left of Howard in one of the photos above. Best of all, Dr. Wallace presented me with a copy of his book Frank Stella's Moby-Dick: Words & Shapes.
I've been in awe of Stella's work for some time now, and this is a book that I wanted very badly. To be given a copy personally inscribed by the author is real honor for me.
I'll have more details as they become clearer, but I will be appearing at the Books by the Banks festival in Cincinnati, Ohio at the Duke Energy Center on Saturday, October 22nd. I will have copies of the art book for sale, I'll be bringing a lot of the actual art itself to share and show people, and I will be happy to sign or draw in copies, talk to people, answer questions, and so on. Keep your eye on this blog for more info soon.