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 The Elixer of Life?

I’d like to use this space to provide some updates on some projects in the works. First, Curtis Rhodes and I collaborated on a booklet of drawings and poems titled “A Catalogue of Rare Movements” which will be coming out this year as an issue of Xerolage. Go here to see a sample. The next project Curtis and I have in the works is tentatively titled The Illustrated Companion to Septimus Felton.

Septimus Felton is one of Hawthorne’s last, unfinished novels. While it generally regarded as a garbled work that heralded the end of Hawthorne’s ability as a writer, I, of course, think it is brilliant. The novel is a sustained philosophical exploration of death and the afterlife, written in a dramatic and experimental style worthy of both Beckett and Borges. In keeping with the theme, our “Illustrated Guide” is somewhat ironic–no one reads Septimus in the first place, so it is an existential joke to create a guide for something so obscure.

The guide will consist of my commentary accompanied by abstract mixed media works that reference passages in the book. There is ample material in Septimus for a visual artist–for instance, three pages are reserved for the descriptions of the swirling colors and sediments in an elixir of life. The end result will be a fiction/theory/art hybrid that will be both freestanding and, in fact, function as a companion to Septimus Felton.

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