Sunday, March 22, 2015

Coming this Fall From Penn State Press "My Degeneration" my "Graphic Novel" Memoir of Coping with Parkinson's Disease

It is official: "My Degeneration" will be published this Fall. Unlike my usual work which is normally hours, even minutes in the making, the process of going from initial concept to final images has been over three years. This is due to a number of factors, not the least being the difference in book publishing culture and newspapering. Think difference between a flash flood and a glacier.

I redrafted the initial manuscript entiely when academic publisher Penn State Press expressed interest in the manuscript. They had a number of criticisms that instantly made sense once they were  voiced. Too wordy, too disorganized, and too much humor, which they believe the readers would find tiring. It also seemed to me that I needed to recalibrate the surface of the story from a scheme that initially was meant to appeal to a general comics audience to a more straightforward narrative for patients, families and medical people.

The rejiggered manuscript went over well when it went through peer review, a normal path for academic books, but a little out of the ordinary for a comic book. It could be my imagination, but interest seemed to go up after the two very positive peer reviews came back.

The momentum has quickened. The people at Penn State are hustling to get the book into their fall catalog.  We are working on two possible cover designs, should have a decision on that shortly.

So the meat hits the counter soon. The fact that other people are now doing actual work on production and marketing make the whole thing seem more real, and a little more scary. It's one thing for one guy to fart around with his little story and pictures. It's another to have other people to throw in their sweat and time. I do think there is valuable content in the book for people with Parkinson's, their caregivers, families, and those who treat them in the medical-industrial complex. I hope the atypical format of comics will get that content out to to people who would not ordinarily encounter it.

Come Fall, I guess we'll see.

Here are a couple of sample pages

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Power and Creativity, A Talk Given to the Staff at the Anchorage Museum