March 3, 2003
Woke up at 3:30 worried about the Custer cover. I have taken four big stabs at it but it just isn’t what I wanted. Came out in the cold, dark studio and turned on the heater, pulled out a clean sheet of watercolor paper, quickly sketched out the big idea that keeps eluding me, fought off the urge to go back to bed and bailed in. Within an hour and a half I had the thing roughed in with several happy accidents. Custer’s face is not perfect, but I think you would recognize him. He’s kind of upset looking, indignant really, and that adds to the headline “The Man Who Killed Custer” because I doubt that even Custer himself would agree with the article, so that’s a nice little caveat.
Yesterday was very good in office. Mike and crew have hung tough and brought sales up to where they need to be. The letters in this issue (May-June) are the best we have ever run. For the longest time it was “I hate the new format” and “Joe Small is spinning in his grave.” Or, it was “I love the new format, Joe Small is not spinning, he’s turning slowly with a smile on his face.” This set of letters is very history oriented, with debates about specific articles (Did Brigham Young Order A Massacre? And the Dalton gunfight piece), all of them intelligent and thought provoking. Mark Boardman makes a good point and takes Leo Banks to task for a comment about Billy the Kid shooting people in self-defense, and Leo’s answer is clever and just as correct. This is Meghan’s beat and she is doing a great job.
On a related note, I promoted R.G. to editor (he was Managing Editor) and told him to put his name at the top of the masthead and mine at the bottom. There are too many egos bouncing around in there. It was actually a good move for me because I probably have the biggest ego in the bunch. Ha.
Came home at noon and worked all afternoon on Custer paintings. Got a massage from Christie at four ($50 Sue check).
"All the experience of history confirms that sharing the same beliefs has been a preliminary
to quarreling about their interpretation."
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