Thursday, June 02, 2005

June 2, 2005
Left the house this morning at about 8:10 and cruised on the surface streets down into the Beast. Got to Armstrong-Prior at 9:05. Got right into it with four etching plates. I was nervous since I haven't done an etching since college (1968), but it's so much like scratchboard (same tools!) that I felt like I have been doing it all my life. They gave me a practice plate to ruin, and even that came out very nice. John has an assistant named Alexis who’s just out of ASU. Very cute, tattoos on one arm, of course. Didn’t check for others, but thought about it. By the way, is it a law now that every woman who waits tables or goes into a bar has to have a tattoo just above the butt crack? And wear something so we can all see it? Talk about ubiquitous. Or is that you-be-lukin-above-the-ass-icus?

Anyway, I scored points with Alexis because she asked me what kind of music I wanted to hear while I worked and I said, "Got any Kings of Leon?" She visibly brightened, like she couldn't believe this old cow-boy even knows who they are (thanks Tomcat!). We got along famously after that. She is very creative and applicated numerous little tricks to the plates to make them more "funky and Old West." Lots of ghosting, and reduction processes. I was quite thrilled with the results. I created four etching plates, variations on the White Hat theme. She and John printed about 15 versions and we'll do more tomorrow. We need 50 for Terry Goddard. Dan Harshberger is joining us after lunch to attack the Blaze Away poster project.

We knocked off at four and I got a bit of a jump on traffic. Got back to the office at 4:45. Got this Email from our zany writer Johnny Boggs”

"I'll be hitting the road on Thursday, June 9, for book-signings, research/magazine work, flyfishing, and the Western Writers of America convention (June 14-18, Mirabeau Park Hotel, Spokane Valley, Washington), winding through Colorado, Wyoming, Montana and Idaho. Will have the cellphone and laptop with me, checking in whenever I have a signal or hotel room. Should be back in the office June 22ish. Then will be gone July 6-8 for a library speaking engagement in Bowling Green, Kentucky."
—Johnny Boggs

I Emailed him back and said, "Hey, you are living the life I want. Wanna trade?"

Last Monday I had lunch at El Encanto with our New York book agent James Fitzgerald on the Crown book deal (actually, he's Bart Bull’s agent and speaking of Bart, someone please tell Bart he needs to call Jim and collect $2,000). James was in town visiting his other writers, like Sonny Barger, the ex-Hells Angels pres of the Oakland Chapter and today an author (he's written six books!). James also gave me the bad news on the book biz. According to James the book biz has constricted from $16.6 billion dollars in sales two years ago down to about $10 billion this year. Contrast this with the DVD biz, that didn’t exist seven years ago and now bills $100 billion a year and you can start to see the problem. James told me the book biz has almost become a junior-greeting card industry. We go into a book store and buy a book for a gift and the person we give it to puts it on their shelf and never reads it. The other bad news is that picture books are sinking (can’t compete with DVDs and all of the instant imagery on the web) and that Barnes & Noble has become the Wal-mart of the book biz. Greenlighting and killing book projects based on their instinct on the potential sales. Other than that, it was a positive meeting. He had several book ideas and proposals, and Jana gave him a proposal on our book on Women of the West. He thinks it could go all the way.

More to tell, but Kathys reading three poems at Foothills Academy graduation in forty-five minutes so I’ve got to run.

"A new problem is as good as a vacation."
—Golda Meir

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