In 2005, during a conversation with Jason Brink, he asked if I would consider working with him on an idea for a book he had been developing. He had seen some of my wood engravings of insects and he had been thinking of writing a series of extremely short stories, centered around the phrase “wouldn’t you like to be a fly on the wall during that conversation?” I liked the idea immediately and was on board before seeing the first story. A few days later I had three or four of Jason’s Fly on the Wall stories to read and couldn’t wait to start on some drawings. His stories were charged with visual stimuli.
A book takes a circuitous and complicated route as it is born. My first book, Mother Goose Eggs, sunnyside up, took four years to finish. It was a self-printed (letterpress) and self-published book (later published in soft cover by Porcupine Quill Press). The four-year birthing of that book was the result of having to learn type-setting and book design “on the job” and there was a point prior to binding when I decided to redesign and reprint the book, to get it right.
Jason sent “Fly” stories to me by e-mail. If I had some issues or concerns about a story I would send a message back or call on the phone and sometimes we would agree the story should be re-written. I would work on a sketch or two or three and scan them and send them to him. A similar discussion on email or phone would follow until the sketch worked for both of us. Then I would do the pen and ink drawing. There were also times when the finished drawing just did not work and needed to be re-drawn. There was a point where the supply of stories slowed, so to keep the ball moving I did a drawing and sent it to Jason. He either wrote a story, motivated by the drawing (example: Church Council which I created visualizing a court scene), or said he just couldn't come up with something (example: a drawing of a fly on an ornately framed painting in a museum), or the drawing didn't fit the tenor of the other stories (example: Jurassic Fly which depicts a fly on a dinosaur's eyelid). There were, I think, about 6 or 8 drawings, which spawned stories.