The above page-spread serves as a perfect visual embellishment to my delightful experiences at the LCSNA meeting last Saturday! We see above, in order, a harmless theatrical pratfall, a gathering of urbane galants, a solipsistic-Carrollian-multiverse, some linguistic child’s play and finally, the Harmonious Genius of a SNARK-HUNTER Triumphant O’er the Unruly Debates of the Unenlightened.
A perfect visual allegory for the goings-on in NYC! And for all of this, I owe great thanks to Andrew Sellon and August and Clare Imholtz, for inviting me and giving me the chance to meet and listen to the following …
• Jon Scieszka, who’s done a new version of AIW, using the formerly unpublished comps of Mary Blair. The comps are quite good, better, in my opinion, than the finished backgrounds and characters that Disney used in the film, far more expressive and personal. Jon is also the U.S. National Ambassador for Young People's Literature, a noble cause for which he is perfectly suited. I cannot imagine a child exposed to Jon’s ebullient enthusiasm daring not to read!
• Nancy Willard, children’s author and educator. Nancy, who wrote the award-winning A Visit to William Blake's Inn, talked about the narrative techniques of Carroll and how he made children’s literature more intimate and realistic, both technically and emotionally.
• Peter Westergaard, who gave a detailed explanation of how he encoded Carrollian motifs into the structure of his latest opera, Alice in Wonderland. I really enjoyed his music and also the shoptalk, as it were, of a complex process which has so many parallels with what I’m trying to do with this Snark. I am unable to find any samples of this work on the web and if anyone does so, perhaps they could contact me?
I also must recommend the work of Oleg Lipchenko, who showed me a sample of his luscious AIW, and also allowed me to see a dummy of his Humpty Dumpty, which made me seethe a bit with goodnatured envy. I also met Tatiana Ianovskaia, who also is doing some really charming Alice work. Curious that all the illustrators present were Canadian …
In talking with the marvelous Scott Edelman, we both realized that we had been doing work for the same various publishers and magazines (Fantagraphics and Sovereign Media) since the mid 80s, which goes to show how small the publishing industry really is … yikes!
In truth, there was little Snarkian banter all-in-all but I did have the frisson of talking Snark with the poet Matt Demakos at lunch … oh, the decadent, nay, heady thrill of discussing Snarkian anapests, headless and headed, over a meal in Sin City itself!
I also met the genuinely learned Dave Haan, of Stochastic Bookmark, who very generously bestowed upon me several books of oulipian, ‘pataphysical and surrealist nature! The idea of an oulipian translation of Carroll has long intrigued me … Dave may have set in motion events which will irk future Carrollians for centuries to come!
And so, speaking of books, they are the genuine coin of our Snarkian realm. I met Monica Edinger, the educator and author, whose blog deals with the intellectual and emotional transactions between books and children. Although my Snark does jest and hoot and make rude noises at times, there is a serious purpose to all this tomfoolery : to intrigue people — young people especially — enough to further search out, on their own, the various spoors and traces that my Snark leaves behind as it evades its own Hunters!
Next Week : America Elects the Next Leader of the World’s Only Remaining Superduper Power … while I Make a Drawing of a Giant Snail Poised to Take Over and Annihilate Guildford, Surrey!