Friday, November 30, 2012

Hope This Helps - What If I Was Different...?

Dear HTH,
I am wondering if you can help me. I once lived with a man who, unfortunately, liked to play Fantasy Football more than hangout with me. Although the relationship ended more than a year ago, I keep having the nagging feeling I somehow didn't give enough of myself to keep him. Maybe it would have worked out if I didn't always put stipulations on him or if I would have just rolled with the punches. I don't mean literal punches, the relationship was never abusive. Some days, I wonder if I was pushing him away. I don't want to get back together with him, but I do think about him and wonder if it might have been different if I was.

Unsure And Doubting
Buffalo, MN

Dear Unsure,
Topping: Hmmm... it sounds like you're unsure about things.

Charlotte: Very observant, Mr. Her Name Is Unsure.

Topping: No, I really meant it. She seems... straddled.

Charlotte: Straddled?

Topping: Yeah, straddled. Like one leg in wanting to be something else for someone else and one leg in wanting to have it the way she wants it. And not knowing which way she should go.

Charlotte: Oh, yeah, that's good. I was going to go another way with this e-mail, but I like where you're going with it. Say more.

Topping: Well, Unsure, you should really ask yourself a couple of questions. Or maybe just one question: Why isn't being what your boyfriend wants and being what you want the same thing?

Charlotte: Whoa, Topping. Way to be direct. Maybe even a little “ouch!” Unsure, it is an important question. Sorry if we're a little abrupt here.

Topping: Oh, was that abrupt? Sorry, it was just such an obvious question to me. I apologize if it came out a little... uh, abruptly. What way were you going to go with this?

Charlotte: I noticed that there actually wasn't a question in her question. Unsure simply made statements and comments about her situation. I don't know what it is she is looking for except she wonders if it would have been different if she had been different.

Topping: Oh, yeah, didn't even notice there wasn't a question. Good one, Char. What would your answer be?

Charlotte: Of course things would have been different if you had been different. But would your relationship have lasted longer if you were different? Better yet, what if he was different, too? What if you were both different people at a different time, let's say the 1970's. And what if you lived in a different country. Maybe he has a unibrow and you are missing a leg, unless, of course if he already has a unibrow and you are missing a leg.

Topping: Yeah, and what if he was a she and she was a motorcycle?

Charlotte: Oh, Topping, don't be ridiculous.

Topping: Yeah, but I like where you are going with this. It's much more fun than my direction. Mine was a little direct and, well, maybe abrupt.

Charlotte: Unsure, you are where you are because you are you. Might as well face it: if your not happy with where you are in life, perhaps you're not happy with yourself.

Topping: “Ouch!” What did we do, roll out of the wrong side of the bed this morning?

Charlotte: Now that I read that again, it does seem a little harsh. Sorry, Unsure, I just meant that you can't change who you are. You have to accept where you are and move forward. You said your boyfriend liked playing Fantasy Football more than being with you. Even if you were different, would he? You are where you are right now because that is who you are. If you want your life to be different you have to be different.

Topping: Yeah, its like direct drive on a motorcycle.

Charlotte: Wha?

Topping: You turn the throttle and it immediately turns the rear wheel, there's no going through gears and shafts, etc. That's life: direct drive. If you want life to be a certain way, then act. Wishing or regretting doesn't do anything.

Charlotte: Yeah well, Unsure, I think you get where we are coming from. If we were a little abrupt and maybe a little harsh, we apologize. But...

we hope this helps.

Aunt Josephine's Long Ride - PUBLISHED TODAY!!

Aunt Josephine's Long Ride is the ninth story in The Book of Bartholomew.  Aunt Josephine travels to a friend's funeral.  On the return trip, with an old classmate, Aunt Josephine discovers a friend's secret.  The story has a beautiful cover illustration by Martha Iserman.  Songs by the Jerry Rau Band and Gabriella Sweet.

A previous blog entry shares that this story came out of my wondering what the conversation would be like if my old college roommate and myself were traveling for 6 - 8 hours in a car.  Sometimes it is a bit scary to visit old relationships.  In this case, the revisiting was fun.  What was scary was writing a story wherein the two characters are stuck inside a car.  There isn't much action to show in a six hour car ride.  It can become too much dialogue and it can be easy to lose the reader by being far too introspective.  I was very relieved when my editor said that she enjoyed reading the story so much that she forgot to stay in editor mode.

I hope you enjoy this one.  I know I always say it, but it is one of my favorites.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Christmas Wrap - Storyreading and music - TONIGHT!

The Book of Bartholomew Holiday Story Reading

Thursday, November 29, 7:30pm. Tickets $15

The Book of Bartholomew author, Mark Granlund, will be reading a Christmas-time story from The Book of Bartholomew, there will be holiday music by Kelly Jo Roth, some food, and, of course, some audience participation. Yes, you can be part of the performance and, if you want, end up online as part of The Book of Bartholomew.

Christmas Wrap – Bartholomew gets a short-term job wrapping presents for Gerald's almost adult kids. He makes new friends, but what is it they are wrapping? And why do such old kids have a nanny? By the end, Bartholomew has a little cash in his pocket and a lot of questions, in particular, will he survive to see Christmas?

This holiday story is not for young children – language and adult situations.

Dreamland Arts is a great neighborhood 40 seat theater. It promises to be fun evening! Tickets are available through the theater at the link below.

Dreamland Arts
677 Hamline Ave. N., St. Paul MN 55104

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Aunt Josephine's Long Ride - Illustration

The cover illustration for Aunt Josephine's Long Ride, the ninth story in The Book of Bartholomew, is by Martha Iserman.  It is an ink drawing with watercolor.  The illustration shows Riva, Aunt Josephine's passenger, looking out the window of the car.

Here is Martha talking about the illustration:

Martha also created the illustration for Uncle Jeffrey The Violinist.  (to see the story and Martha's illustration, click on the title).  Martha is constantly amazing me with the work she is posting on her Facebook page and website.  You can check out more of her work at her website or at her Facebook Page or at Deviant Art where you can purchase prints of her work. You truly will enjoy looking at her work.

Aunt Josephine's Long Ride is to be published on November 30, 2012.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Internet Geocache 1 - See Nice Things, Say Nice Things

Internet Geocache?  What the heck is this?

Do you know what geocache, or geocaching, is?  Well, here is an official website to explain it to you.  Yes, it's a treasure hunt.  What is Internet Geocache?  It's a treasure hunt on the internet.  Just as in geocache, you are given coordinates and asked to find something of value, in internet geocache, you are given a clue to a website.  You visit the website and hunt for the clue to the next site.  Now geocache is not just about finding objects, it is about discovering new places and leaving something for the next person to find.  Often, in the cache, one takes out something and replaces it with something else.  In Internet Geocahe, you visit a website and gain knowledge about a subject or an organization.  In exchange, you should leave something positive. If the site you visit is a Facebook Page, leave a comment about what you liked at the page.  If it is a website for an organization, leave a positive message about what you saw.  Geocache is about give and take - so give something good, maybe a comment, maybe a poem, maybe an image or saying...

Here goes the first try:
- We will start with a website associated with this week's story:  Click here to go to the first webpage.

- At this website, look around, see amazing things, leave a comment and then visit the blog.  At the blog, go to the entry on 10/14/2012. In the search box at the top of your screen, type in the kind of animal in this entry followed by the word "como."

- Click on the first website that comes up in the search.  Look around at the website.  Learn some things.  Leave a nice message.

- Click on the "Attractions" button.  Then click on the first link under "Family Fun."

- Look around, learn something and leave a nice message.  Especially check out "Adopt a Pony" and "Restoration."

There, you have now discovered three great places, things, people.  Not only that, but you received some great info, images, etc.  and left nice messages.  It's a good start to a good day.

Thanks for playing Internet Geocache!.

Aunt Josephine's Long Ride - Music

There are two beautiful songs that accompany the story this week.  The first is by the Jerry Rau Band.  Jerry Rau has been around the Twin Cities performing for as long as any of you can remember.  Also known as the Minnesota Minstrel, it's not uncommon to see him playing on the streets of the West Bank.  He writes beautiful narrative songs from a folk tradition.  This song, When I'm Gone, is one that I was not familiar with.  I have many cd's and been to many concerts.  I became acquainted with Jerry Rau through his lead guitarist, Mark Hoornbeek.  I have known Mark for a couple decades.  We grew up in neighboring towns outside Chicago, but never met until we lived on the same block in Saint Paul in the 1990's.  Mark has a beautiful clean guitar style that fits so well with Jerry's wonderful song writing.  Mark is also a member of another folk inspired band, Sonic Love Child.
Jerry Rau Band Facebook Page
Jerry Rau Band MySpace Page

The second song is by Gabriella Sweet, one of the finest people you will ever meet.  I don't know how many instruments Gabriella plays, but she is quite diverse and often carries her instruments with her.  There is nothing like spending a summer's afternoon on a beach listening to Gabriella playing her guitar, or other instruments, and singing.  It reminds you that this world isn't crazy-curvey, topsy-turvey.  This song, Lac due Flambeau, is beautiful.  I can imagine Aunt Josephine listening to this song, and others like it, on her car ride to the funeral.  The title means Lake of Fire.  Don't ask me to translate the rest of the words - I just think this song is a beautiful fit to the story.  Thank you Gabriella!

Monday, November 26, 2012

Aunt Josephine's Long Ride - Story

      After the funeral was over, people began to leave, but Aunt Josephine stayed around the cemetery for a while. She wanted to reminisce with people instead of starting her long ride home. When she finally walked to her car, she was approached by someone. It was Riva! They hugged.
      “I’m so glad you’re here,” said Aunt Josephine. “We didn’t see you at the funeral. Jerri and Gwaine were here.”
      “Yeah, I was keeping a low profile,” said Riva, “you know how emotional I get.”
      “Jerri and Gwaine would have loved to see you. They were saying how they miss you.”
      Riva just stared at Aunt Josephine.
     “Would you mind, Aunt Josephine,” said Riva, “if I catch a ride home with you?”
     “What?” asked Aunt Josephine.
     “Can I get a ride home with you?”
     “But I live six hours away. Why would you…is everything okay Riva? Are you and George okay?”
     “Actually, I dumped George about a year ago. I’m on my way to see a friend who lives near you. My car is having issues,” Riva said rolling her eyes, “and I was going to take a bus, but it would be much nicer riding with you.”
     “Absolutely, I would love the company!” said Josephine, unsure if Riva was being honest.
     “Thanks,” said Riva.
     “This is actually a relief,” said Aunt Josephine. “I was dreading the long ride home by myself and this will give us a chance to catch up.”
      “That’s just what I want,” said Riva.
Aunt Josephine's Long Ride is a story about relationships, regrets and reconciliation.  Josephine travels many hours to a funeral of a college friend.  It is the ride back home with a college roommate, Riva, that this story is about.  This story began as an exercise in my head: what would the conversation be between myself and a college roommate if we were stuck in a car together for six hours.  My former roommate is a conservative evangelical Christian.  I am not. I wondered what that conversation would be like.  This sounds like it could be a set-up for very political arguments.  But I have many friends who are conservative Christians and the conversation rarely goes toward political point-making.  This story is a personal conversation about personal lives and personal decisions.  The two characters in the conversation have different perspectives and different motivations.

Aunt Jospehine's Long Ride will be published on November 30, 2012 at

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Ned the Giant - Music by Phantom Tails

Wow, I feel like a giddy school girl.  I love Phantom Tails and am so happy to have two of their songs here accompanying the Ned the Giant story.  And the real sweet part of this deal is that Matt Wells, the illustrator for the story, is also the illustrator for the covers of Phantom Tails' cd's.  It just doesn't get more full-circle and pregnant with meaning than that. 

 CityPages wrote this about Phantom Tails:

In one of the most fertile 12-month periods of local music in recent memory, more than a few forerunners emerged for the all-too-vague category of Best New Band. But few bands have managed to pinpoint the sound of 2011 better than Phantom Tails, whose multi-genre approach stitches together far-reaching elements like 8-bit electro squeals, snarling Britpop wails, and gloomy prog-rock meanderings into a forward-thinking pop sound that's undeniably catchy. Think an even nerdier, glitchier version of the Gorillaz, or the Sex Pistols partying down at a goth rave with the Mad Hatter. In an era in which genre lines are being blurred faster than bands can delete their MySpace pages, Phantom Tails' charismatic mixed-bag music is a welcome sound indeed.

For those of you who do not know the Twin City music scene, well, it is a popping.  Most people remember the era of Prince (the glyphed one), the Suburbs and the Replacements when they think of the Mpls music scene.  But I think the current cluster of bands and musicians in the Twin Cities is overall deeper than the scene back then because the music world has expanded greatly here.  We now have the Current and the McNally Smith School of Music.  We still have First Avenue but have enumerable good venues that have music 5 - 7 nights a week.  And we have Phantom Tails.

The Armageddon Experience by Phantom Tails

This weeks story, Ned the Giant, features the songs Real Savage and The Oven of Romance.  A snippet of the lyrics for one song are featured in the written story, as well.  I'm very excited and hope you will check out Phantom Tails and Ned the Giant, this Friday, November 23, 2012.

And have a Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Ned the Giant - Illustrations

I am happy to have Matt Wells back again doing illustrations for the story Ned the Giant.  These are Matt's two wonderful illustrations for the eighth story in The Book of Bartholomew. As the story opens, Ned is busy in his bedroom putting the finishing touches on a model of a German Stuka fighter plane.  Ned has a bit of an imagination and here Matt captures a dogfight between the Stuka and another plane.I love the perspective and angles on the planes.   I also like the angle and relationship between the two planes - and the tracers (the bullets) are really cool!  Matt has combined a very realistic drawing style with soft coloring.  I find the hues to be beautiful.  Although it is an illustration of war planes, I think it is one of the most beautiful in the book.

In the second illustration, Matt has done an epic job of  capturing the fear of embarrassment that Ned has about people seeing him large and naked.  Here Ned dwarfs the mob of people who are witnessing his size.  Of course, perhaps most embarrassing for a young man would be the exposure of his genitals, or, as you might say "the big man's little man."  Ned's gnarled and twisted sense of exposure is so deftly captured in the positioning of his hands and his giant clumsy-like feet.

Time and again, the artists working with me on this book make me laugh because they have so masterfully captured the feelings of the characters.  Matt will be joining us again down the road in the next book of stories. For more information about Matt, go to his The Book of Bartholomew bio page or go to his personal webpage at

Here's a short interview with Matt about illustrating Ned the Giant.

Next up: Music by Phantom Tails

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Oliver the Cat Drawing Contest Winner

Yes, ladies and gentlemen, the results are in for the Oliver the Cat drawing contest.  And the winner is....

Before we get to that, I would just like to thank everyone who entered drawings and those who voted and or even looked at them.  Your involvement is much appreciated.  The drawings, though not numerous, were of high quality and pixy like character. And without any further adieu...

That's French, by the way.  It means "farewell" or "goodbye."  Thus, it means "without any more farewells."  This is a phrase used when leaving or moving on or transitioning.  It simple suggests that we no longer will say goodbye, we will just part or be on our way.

So, with no further adieu...

The winner is...

yes, well, it just isn't that easy is it.  I mean we had some very young readers submit drawings of cats.  I don't want to just call one the winner and make the rest feel like losers.  That's just not right.  Fortunately, there was a three-way tie between drawing #1, #2 and #4.
If the winners could please contact me via email or Facebook message, we can make arrangements for the prize.  With three cat drawings I will have to write a new story.  I will inform everyone when that is complete.

Thanks again everyone.  Much fun looking at the drawings.


Monday, November 19, 2012

Ned the Giant - Story

Yes!” Ned said as he pumped his fist and made a face as if he had just confidently and capably defeated a Sumo wrestler. He turned away from the model plane, leaving it to cure until morning. He walked to the bathroom making noises that, to him, resembled the noise of an airplane engine that was straining into a steep climb, needed a gallon of oil and was misfiring one piston. Anyone else would have thought he was just making noise. As he brushed his teeth, the plane engine continued, except now it flew through a rainstorm.

Ned walked to his bedroom, took off his clothes except his underwear, set his alarm, turned off the lights and slipped under his covers.

“Ugh!” Ned thought as his job began to make its way into his consciousness.

“I don’t want to go to work tomorrow,” he said to his ceiling. He thrashed about in his sheets. He plumped his pillows. He turned from side to side.

“God, I hate my job!” Ned yelled at his nightstand. In the dark, he could see the clock read 12:10 am. A dull ache permeated his bones. He thought about when he was eleven years old and how his bones and knees would hurt when he was in a growth spurt. One summer he grew an inch and a half. While lying in bed, he calculated he had grown one eighth of an inch per week that summer. Ned tossed and turned until 12:30 am before he finally fell asleep.

        “…And you put your arms around me,
and then you linger on,
and tell me that your body is not your own...”

Ned rolled over to swat the radio’s sleep button and fell on the floor.

Startled, he quickly got to his knees and looked at his bed. He rubbed his eyes. His bed had shrunk overnight. He looked around the room and everything seemed to be normal, but smaller. Ned thought he was imagining things, but then he realized that his underwear must have shrunk overnight as well. He stood up and walked to his dresser. He tried on a few more pairs of underwear, but they all were too small. Ned found a pair of athletic shorts with a draw string and tried them on. They would have to do.

Ned ducked under the doorway and walked to the kitchen. He pulled out some Toxic-Puff cereal and ate the entire box. He was still hungry. He downed the carton of milk – still hungry. He ate three slices of leftover pizza, five pieces of toast, and something leftover from days gone-by which he didn’t recognize. He was still hungry, but Ned decided to stop eating before all his food was gone. Heading back to his room he ducked even further than before under the doorway. That’s when he heard it. His shorts split right down the crotch and Ned was flapping in the wind. At the thought of having no clothes that could possibly cover his body, Ned said “Shit.”
 Ned is a young man who is twenty-three years old. He doesn't like his job.  His last roommate seemed bothersome to Ned so he kicked him out.  Now his rent is too expensive and he needs to find another roommate.  He has no girl-friend.  In general, Ned is not happy with where his life is at.

People have asked me if, when I am writing about these characters, they are based on someone I know.  Although there are snippets of people I know here or there in the characters, they are mostly different aspects of myself.  Ned is my disgruntled side.  Ned is not quite happy with anything. He is trying to find a place in this world that truly represents and fulfills all of his inner desires and needs. It is a tough road ahead for Ned.  He really doesn't want to grow up. he would like to remain a kid who plays with model airplanes and doesn't have a care in the world.

This is an introductory story to Ned who, for a short time, becomes a giant.  Perhaps he learns something about growing up - and up.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Bartholomew and the Cabana Fire - PUBLISHED TODAY!

The seventh story of The Book of Bartholomew is published today!!  Bartholomew and the Cabana Fire is a short story of passion unleashed! Bartholomew and Geraldine find themselves alone in a poolside cabana.  Will the fires of passion over take them or will Kyle the pool-boy and his hose get in the way?

Check out the story, wonderfully illustrated by Twin City comic artist Tim Jennen, accompanying music by the Miami Dolphins, at:

Bartholomew and the Cabana Fire - Music by the Miami Dolphins

It is my great pleasure to introduce the Miami Dolphins to The Book of Bartholomew community. The Miami Dolphins are a surf punk/horror-surf band from Saint Paul/Minneapolis.  They write short fast songs that capture an abundance of energy and raw performance.  Patrick Larkin, the engine behind the band, also writes zines and creates the cover imagery for each of their albums.

Cover image from Neon and Foam by the Miami Dolphins

For this story, Bartholomew and the Cabana Fire, I chose the Miami Dolphins because I think they aptly express Bartholomew's inner environment when he is around Geraldine.  He is unsettled and careening down the tracks without much time or space to think.  The Dolphins frenetic pace and seemingly "train of thought" lyrics fly at the listener and pull them into a roller coaster ride of sound.  There's no getting off until they're done.  But, these frenetic rides don't last long with the average Miami Dolphin song lasting about 1m 30s. 

Cover image from Capri Sun by the Miami Dolphins
The Miami Dolphins play around the Twin Cities regularly.  Check them out.  And check out their songs Venice Beach Widowed and Fruit Salad at Bartholomew and the Cabana Fire.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Bartholomew and the Cabana Fire - Art

It is with great pleasure that I get to introduce you to Tim Jennen's illustrations for story #7: Bartholomew and the Cabana Fire.  These images just crack me up!! I can't help but laugh when I see the image of Geraldine and Kyle in their towels being caught by Bartholomew.  Tim's twisted brain so effectively has captured this moment. Tim's bold characters are wonderfully contrasted by the soft interior of the cabana.  His representation of Geraldine launching herself out of the smoke is a nightmare image!  Her desiring eyes and claw-like finger nails are as threatening as any Medusa!

Tim's main visual art interests are comics and cartooning, particularly superhero comics and satirical work, but also figure study and portraiture. He practices art on a daily basis as a means of personal self-expression. He is currently engaged in a Facebook-centered art project where he makes drawings of scenes from movies.

Bartholomew and the Cabana Fire will publish this Friday, November 16.


Monday, November 12, 2012

Bartholomew and the Cabana Fire - Story

“I…uh...just came by to apologize about the dinner and my cat,” said Bartholomew. “I feel just horrible.”

“Oh, that’s very sweet of you. But really, I had a nice time. It’s a shame it ended a little early,” she said as she eyed Bartholomew’s crotch. She then turned to Kyle. “Did you say you were done with your hose for today, Kyle?”

“Yes, yes, I’m done working here today. I will be back again on Tuesday to clean. It was nice meeting you Bartholomew,” Kyle said as he offered his hand to him. Bartholomew didn’t shake it and simply stared out the window of the cabana.

Kyle walked out the door, picked up his swimsuit and exited out the back gate.

“Now Bartholomew, I don’t want you getting the wrong ideas about Kyle,” said Geraldine. “Your cat was not very friendly, but you are the sweetest and kindest man I have ever dated. YOU ARE GREAT! I’ve been telling The Nanny about you and she thinks I should hold on to you.”

“You have a nanny?” asked Bartholomew.

“Yeah, she’s an angel,” said Geraldine. “Besides, Kyle’s not my type; you know - all muscle, tan, great hair. Do you think I’m shallow?”

Bartholomew looked at Geraldine. He couldn’t help but notice her turned up nose with her large nostrils. In one of the nostrils he could see a couple of hard dry chunks of mucus attached to some nose hairs. Behind the mucus he could see her nostrils disappear into darkness inside her head. At that moment, Bartholomew was slightly repulsed by Geraldine’s looks and felt that maybe he was a bit shallow.

“No, I don’t think you are shallow. If anyone is shallow, it’s me. I’m sorry Geraldine,” Bartholomew said as he moved closer and gave her a hug.

Geraldine held onto Bartholomew for a long time. Then she pulled back and asked “Did you bring me anything?”

“No,” said Bartholomew, “Should I have?”

“Oh, I just thought maybe, to make up for your cat, you might have brought me something. You are such a thoughtful and kind person that way,” Geraldine sighed as she glanced out the window of the cabana to the gate where Kyle had left.

Bartholomew and the Cabana Fire is maybe my favorite story from the first volume.  If you thought Bartholomew and Geraldine's previous date was crazy (story #5: Bartholomew and Geraldine), it just gets more so when Bartholomew interrupts Geraldine and Kyle, the pool boy, during an interlude in the pool-side cabana.   Will Geraldine confess to cheating on Bartholomew?  Will Bartholomew listen to his inner-voice?  Or will Geraldine and Bartholomew be engulfed by their flames of passion?  Find out on Friday, December 17 when Bartholomew and the Cabana Fire is published at The Book of Bartholomew.

Catch up on Bartholomew's other adventures at The Book of Bartholomew:

Friday, November 9, 2012


Claire is the sixth story in The Book of Bartholomew.  This is an introductory story for Claire, who sits down and has a heart-to-heart talk with Henrietta, the chicken.  Henrietta isn't quite as supportive as Claire would like.  To read Claire: CLICK HERE!

The story is illustrated by the author, Mark Granlund.  The cover is an oil painting of a Dominique chicken.  The centerfold ink illustration is titled: Chicken Melee.

At the end of each story are links to the artist.  If you like the story and The Book of Bartholomew project, there are links to support the printing of the stories or write comments.

Next story is Bartholomew and the Cabana Fire - expertly illustrated by Tim Jennen.  It will be published on November 16, 2012.


Thursday, November 8, 2012

Claire - Music by Dalia

I think Claire and Dalia are a perfect match.  When I first heard Dalia's music, I thought of Claire.  I had to wait for this story to make this happen.  Dalia's songs appeared in the first story of The Book of Bartholomew.  This story shares the songs Light Years Away and Every Bird Sings.

Dalia is part of a local collective of artists called Last Triumph. Last Triumph includes musicians, artists, multi-media-ists (word?), and designers.  Dalia shares the bill at Last Triumph with people like St. Paul Slim, Chuck U., and they even have their own parkour artist.  How rad is that?  I met JR at an art opening.  JR is the contact for Last Triumph and a really great guy.  Last Triumph is always looking for opportunities to collaborate.  Check them out.

As mentioned previously, Dalia is an independent singer-songwriter from Minneapolis, MN. Determined to not be pinned to any one genre or stereotype, her songs bridge musical gaps from folk to hip hop to ambient. She has been actively performing around the Twin Cities since 2005, and released her debut album, Treetops and Telephone Wires, in late 2007. A true DIY artist, she writes and records all of her music, designs all of her own artwork, and does all of her own booking and promotion. For her second album, Abstract Habitat, which was released earlier this year, she personally hand-screenprinted 250 limited edition copies on recycled packaging. Keeping an arms length from the commercial music scene at all times, she is committed to making music that is real, organic, inspiring and fresh.

Dalia's websites:

The Book of Bartholomew provides two songs from Twin City area musicians with each story published.  To listen to the songs, go to that weeks story at and click on a story cover.  When the story opens, click on the symbols:

To listen to the first song or second song.  Click on the symbols:
to stop the songs.  You can listen while you read or afterward.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Claire - Art

Chicken Melee is the centerfold illustration for the sixth story in The Book of Bartholomew: Claire.  I had fun making this illustration of my neighbor's chickens.  Thank you Meghan.  I discovered that taking close-up pictures of chickens is near impossible because they are in constant motion. I had more chicken out of the picture than in.  But I was able to pull together this illustration before being all clucked-out.  Chickens are funny because they don't have much regard for each other: they walk over and into each other, poop anywhere, freak-out when other chickens are acting odd and will even peck each other to death.  When the situation is right, perhaps when they are shut into a small area and a disturbance happens, the you can have a chicken melee.  All feathers and cackling and crowing and feet scratching and pecking.  It can be quite a sight.

I used images of the chicken's heads for background to the text pages.  This is the first story that has a colored background behind the text.  I may do more of this in the future.  Here are some images of an initial sketch for a chicken illustration for Claire.  The final (above) is in ink and available for purchase as part of a Kickstarter Campaign to print The Book of Bartholomew.

Claire will be published on Friday, November 9, 2012 at

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Oliver the Cat Drawing Contest

Oliver plays a very important role in Bartholomew's life.  Yet, there are only two drawings of him in The Book of Bartholomew.  As you can see below, the drawings are not very descriptive, although I thoroughly like Mary Esch's attacking Oliver.  Oliver's species, coloring, etc. are not identified in the stories.  Oliver needs to be properly represented here at The Book, SOOOOOO, I'm having a contest

Here are the details:
- Submit a drawing of Oliver by NOVEMBER 12, 2012.  You may either post it on The Book of Bartholomew Facebook Page or email it to me
- On November 14, 2012, five final images will be posted on The Book of Bartholomew Facebook Page
- At 5pm CST, on November 19, 2012, the image with the most "likes" and comments will win $100 and appear in a story.

There are only three requirements of the image:
- It must be a short-haired cat
- it must be artwork, no photographs
- It must represent Oliver's general attitude, which is very cat-like (see Story 1 and this week's story)

Here are the two existing images of Oliver, the first is by Mary Esch, the second is by Mark Granlund:

Start your, pencils.

Bartholomew Asks... When Did You Know it Was Time to Leave Your Parent's House?

Bartholomew is wondering how people knew it was time to leave your parent's house and move out on your own.  Bartholomew is in the unenviable position of living in his parent's house after they had died when he was seventeen.  The house is comforting to Bartholomew, it's the only home he's known, but he wonders if he would still be living there if his parents hadn't died.

When did you know?  Share on The Book of Bartholomew Facebook Page.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Claire - Story

The sixth story in The Book of Bartholomew is Claire.  This story introduces Claire, who is going through some tough times; she can't find a job and she is still living at home with her parents.  She decides to consult with Henrietta, one of the chickens in her parent's back yard.  The story begins with Claire sitting in the coop with Henrietta.

I just can’t imagine what I want to be doing in three to five years!” she said as Henrietta scratched at some scratch.

I guess I should have said I wanted to still be working for his company in three to five years.”
Doesn’t matter, cluck,” said Henrietta.
Claire, normally a pleasant person, was in a foul mood. She petted Henrietta. Henrietta stooped her body to flatten her soft feathery back. It felt better that way when someone petted her.

What a jerk. As if I would want to be scoring psychological profiles for the next five years. Myers-Briggs my ass,” said Claire.

She picked up some scratch and let Henrietta eat out of her hand. Claire dug her toes into the straw, dirt, wood shavings and chicken shit that covered the floor of the coop. She kicked it about here and there, drawing shapes unconsciously. Henrietta finished the scratch in Claire’s hand and moved to the corner of the coop to scratch and peck a little more.

Are you moving, (peck) out here (peck) with me?” asked Henrietta.

Henrietta, you have such a nice house. You got a bed, food, a ladder and most important of all, it isn’t my parents’ house.”

Yes, (peck) but I don’t think (peck) that you would want (peck) to go to the bathroom (peck) on your floor (peck). Besides (peck) it is in (scratch) your parent’s (peck) backyard.”

Claire is one of my favorite characters to write about because she has a way with chickens and birds.  There is also palpable energy to what she does.  She is not shy or a wall flower.  Sometimes she is a little abrupt, argumentative and snippy, but you always know where you stand with her.

The story of Claire will be published on November 9, 2012 at

Friday, November 2, 2012

Bartholomew and Geraldine - PUBLISHED TODAY

The fifth story in The Book of Bartholomew, Bartholomew and Geraldine is now available at

This is a riotous story about Bartholomew's first dinner date at home with Geraldine.  Oliver, Bartholomew's cat, is not sure about Bartholomew's new girlfriend.  All Bartholomew wants to do is have a nice evening with Geraldine eating the food he loves.  But in true Bartholomew fashion, chaos gets in between him and his food.  

I must mention that the sound effects in this story were provided by the participants in a couple of week long workshops at Mallard Island. Thank you one and all for a riotous time making funny noises!

I hope you enjoy this story that is wonderfully illustrated by Mary Esch.  Fine art prints of the illustrations from The Book of Bartholomew are now available.  Check out The Last Chapter, the place to purchase The Book of Bartholomew items.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Bartholomew and Geraldine - Music: Brian Laidlaw and the Family Trade

Two songs accompanying Bartholomew and Geraldine are by Brian Laidlaw and the Family Trade.

Brian Laidlaw is a poet and songwriter from San Francisco. He studied Creative Writing as an undergraduate at Stanford, at which point he began setting his own poems to music; after graduating in 2005 he toured and rambled throughout the country for several years as a solo folksinger.

In 2008, Brian moved to Minneapolis to earn an M.F.A. in poetry at the University of Minnesota. In the last year he has received awards and honors from the Loft Literary Center, the Weisman Art Museum, and the Jerome Foundation. His lyrics have been featured in American Songwriter Magazine and his poems have appeared or are forthcoming in New American Writing, FIELD, VOLT, Quarter After Eight, The Iowa Review, and elsewhere.

Brian has released numerous full-length projects, most recently the CD No Horse Town and the hybrid book/album Wolf Wolf Wolf. A dedicated wordsmith and instrumentalist, he collaborates and co-writes with ensembles from coast to coast, and continues to perform regularly in the Twin Cities and greater Midwest. He also teaches songwriting at McNally Smith College of Music in St. Paul, and poetics at the Loft Literary Center in Minneapolis.

Brian and The Family Trade are members of the Yes!Let's Collective, a cohort of Twin Cities musicians, artists and organizers. With an ethos of unwavering enthusiasm, they seek to unite ‘performer’ and ‘audience’ through events based on community building and collaborative art-making.

The words to so many of the songs by Brian Laidlaw remind me of my musings while writing Bartholomew stories.  I try to think of large world experiences and universal feelings that can be encapsulated in a moment or in a snapshot of a person.  Brian does this often in his work.  As my old art history teacher might say, "his phrases are pregnant with meaning."  An odd phrase, but it fits.

And here is a great article about the band in Paper Darts.  If you don't know Paper Darts, you should.  It's a great online magazine.  One of the founders, Meghan Murphy, is an illustrator for The Book of Bartholomew.  Unfortunately, her story won't be out until next spring.  

I have to especially thank Ashley Hanson for introducing me to this band and getting the songs for me.

Bartholomew and Geraldine is published tomorrow at The Book of Bartholomew.