Saturday, October 23, 2010

My Winter Project

I'm getting ready to embark on a writing project, the third volume of Art of The Saint John's Bible. I finished writing the second volume almost three years ago, so it was with some trepidation that I picked up the massive Historical Books, the sixth of seven volumes of The Saint John's Bible to be published and one of two volumes that will be covered in this book. [It's confusing, I know. The Saint John's Bible is being published in seven volumes. My book is in three volumes, covering a set of them as they are are released.]

The final volume of The Saint John's Bible, Revelation and Letters, will be available to me in summer 2011, with a reproduction volume scheduled for Spring 2012. The hope is for my book to be released at the same time.

This morning I sat down with Historical Books and a pad of Post-its to start marking the artwork throughout the book. My book will basically go illumination to illumination, laying out the Biblical context and describing and annotating the artwork.

I started writing these books basically a week after I took a full-time job as an editor at Liturgical Press four years ago. Alongside writing the volumes, I was also copy editing other projects, and one of the best of these was being able to edit all of the revised Old Testament commentaries for the Little Rock Scripture Study. I love the Bible but had never spent so much time, book by book, with the Old Testament. It was a great crash course, and I learned a lot. I also just really enjoyed the stories and the richness of the books.

One of the most reassuring and pleasing aspects of this morning's exercise with the Post-its was realizing how much fun it will be to spend time once again with the books of the Old Testament. As I paged through, not reading, I felt renewed excitement about these stories of good and bad kings, and warmed by the thought of spending time with those Israelites in exile as they wrote and read their own history. That is the lens through which I see Historical Books: not as accurate history so much as the story a people told themselves when trying to explain how they could have lost the land God gave to them.

As a Christian, there's also the genealogy of Jesus unfolding, the continuing story of God choosing the least likely of his servants and the great promises of God for restoration of the kingdom.

The leaves are off the trees, a cold wind is blowing, and I'm looking forward to a lovely winter project.


thyrkas said...

Hi Susan! I am so GLAD that you are starting this new book - wonderful, wonderful! I also love the OT. In this age of 'reality TV' these stories fit well. Political intrigue, great love, scandal, family dynasties built and lost, all with an eye on the question, "Who can help us? Where is our Messiah?" - I think most people can identify with the situations that arise. I truly look forward to your commentary on the art. It is a great gift to be able to help others make connections between written words and visual, artistic espression of those words.
I have a question right off the bat - why are insects used as marginalia throughout the book?

Susan Sink said...

Thank you, Teri! I was also wondering about all those insects... Christ Tomlinson did bugs (as opposed to butterflies) in the Prophets volume, and that had to do with plagues. I don't know yet even the identity of some of these insects. I will find out where they come from and hopefully some of their significance as well. I did notice a scarab with other Egypt-identified themes, so am thinking some at least might be tied to the place and visual language of exile.