Across town, at the city’s railway terminus, trains depart for Paris and for elsewhere as others arrive, disgorging in steam and soot a moving frieze of passengers, all greeted or dispatched by a marble statue of Mercury, grime on his white helmet, winged feet adroitly poised between Olympus and the bootblacks …. that railway god whom the Greeks called Hermes, that rascal lord of thresholds and of journeys, of thievery and hard commerce, of ecstasy and lies.
– from THE MERCURY WALTZ
This godly gentleman – created by Rick Lieder – stood beside my desk all throughout the writing of the novel, demonstrating with great panache how lightly we ought to take ourselves whenever we mean to make trouble, love, or art. Cry the Mercury!
Zita Gillis shared these photos of her bespoke copy of THE MERCURY WALTZ, and explains the process thusly:
“My bespoke copy arrived today. It’s so beautifully packaged! Dare I open it?
The Mercury Waltz began its slow striptease…
The Puppet appeared from within the folds of rich satin…
And The Mercury Waltz lays before me, waiting to be embraced and devoured in my bed tonight.”
Which is exactly the kind of passionate reaction that led to the creation of the bespoke edition!
And it’s also why there are trade hardcover and ebook editions available, too. Sometimes the words are everything you want, and you want to take them everywhere with ease. Sometimes you want those words in a book. And sometimes you want everything a physical object can offer, the surprise and fun of the package’s arrival, the tactile pleasures offered in its unwrapping, the wink of the puppet with his little walking stick, the elegant bookmark, and – in the very back – a quote from one of the research texts that were important in the writing of the story.
And in each edition, the words are there, the story is there. It’s all in how you choose to experience the dimensions, and we’re delighted to be able to offer you that choice. Because reading is meant to be passionate fun.
[Photo of KK shipping a bespoke by Rick Lieder.]
And having fun in the doing … No two alike! Feathers and twine, the puppet and his jolly walking stick, the bookmarks, the opulent wrapping, signature and notation … And at the heart of it all, the story.
Worth three thousand words, then, this image of three images: the double bookmarks and the Puppet, soon to be colorfully embellished and attended by a jaunty little walking stick, ready to jig for his supper wherever the bespoke edition of THE MERCURY WALTZ is found.
Thanks again to artist Megan Weber for her playfully decadent designs, the ironwork flower and the smile on the face of that puppet, those winged feet ready to dance or to depart.
The final creation of THE MERCURY WALTZ means bringing together all the parts of the book itself – the manuscript of course, and the cover (from Base Art Co., and almost ready to share!) – and the premiums that will accompany the two versions of the physical book: bookmarks created by artist Megan Weber, and a saucy puppet, too … And the constructed sleeve to hold it all in place, until it finds its way to the reader.
This process has been ongoing for some months, as patiently and productively as a show taking shape behind a theatre’s curtain; see Megan Weber’s sketchbook for one proof of our industry. To all who have asked, nudged, and kept track of this book’s advent, thank you for your patience, which is about to be rewarded. The launch is in sight!
Delighted to share this brand-new review of UNDER THE POPPY from Rising Shadow, and to take pleasure in the reviewer’s pleasure in les mecs:
“One of the best and most intriguing things about Under the Poppy is that the author writes impressively about Istvan’s puppets. Istvan has a special connection with his puppets, because he seems to think about them first and then about people. It was fascinating . . . These puppets almost steal the whole show.”
As puppets will, given half of half a chance. Thank you much, Rising Shadow, for your visit to the brothel!
Herewith the third and final preview of Megan Weber‘s MERCURY WALTZ Tarot, most fittingly the Puppet, that ur-figure who attends, directs, and sometimes brings to motion the action both onstage and off. As Kenneth Gross reminds us, in his excellent PUPPET: AN ESSAY ON UNCANNY LIFE, “‘Motion,’ it’s worth recaling, was the sixteenth-century English word for a puppet show, sometimes for the puppet itself.”
In the novel’s opening scene, we see this demonstrated, a shadow cast for a larger performance to come:
The fox’s hide fits the puppet like a second skin, stitched velvet fur a russet gleam beneath the lights themselves masked into stars, the little theatre stage now become the wide dark world: though a sparsely-populated one, not even a dozen seats sold on this, the show’s last night. Beneath peaked ears the foxy man is smiling as, seeming to follow, he feints, he beckons, he leads the outfoxed king deeper down the pale chalked road into the heart of the empty forest.