Her memory had grown incontinent with age; and she knew very well what place it was she was to go to. It was the place where, eighty-some years ago, or yesterday, August Drinkwater had run off to; and the place also where she had remained when he had gone. It was the place all young hopes go when they have become old and we no longer feel them; the place where beginnings go when endings come, and where endings go too when even they have passed.
— John Crowley
“Only pretending”, Little, Big 6.3
By the time I posted our last major Project Update to the site in mid-August, we had finalized Books One, Two, and Three of Little, Big. Since then, as reported in six brief updates sent out to the Email Announcement List over the last four months, we’ve finalized Books Four and Five and are currently working on finalizing Book Six. I’ve now proofread 6.1, 6.2, and 6.3 for the last time, sent the final text queries on those three chapters to John Crowley and received his final approved text changes.
Book Six is the longest of Little, Big’s six books, and 6.5, the final chapter, is the longest chapter in the entire novel. But the most troublesome of Book Six’s five chapters, and indeed of the novel as a whole, has always been 6.1, which contains more art reproductions (forty-one in 32 pages, most of them relatively small tarot-card-proportioned details appearing in the outer margins of the text) than any other single chapter in the book, and consequently has consistently had more than its fair share of art-related and text-flow problems.
On New Year’s Eve morning I received John D. Berry’s third execution pass through the lockdown changes to 6.1, and I am relieved and delighted to report that we've found good solutions to all the art and flow issues, nine of John Crowley’s late text changes have been incorporated into the text, the final corrections have been made, and 6.1 is now final.
That’s 22 down and 4 to go!
I’m also happy to report that 6.2 should be final in a matter of days, and 6.3 not long after that -- and before 6.3 is final I will have already gotten a good start on finalizing 6.4, since whenever I get a chapter off my desk and onto John Berry’s desk or John Crowley’s desk, I start in on the next chapter in the queue. I will send the next brief email update when 6.2 and 6.3 are both final, and post the next major Project Update here when the entirety of Book Six, the new Crowley short story, and the Bloom essay are all final.
In other good news, John Crowley has approved our making another sample chapter from Little, Big available on the LB25 website, as a PDF download. Book One’s first chapter has been available here for a long time, but now we’re going to put up a chapter from Book Six, 6.2 in fact, the complete text layouts with art.
Finally, I was recently invited to contribute to a new Brooklyn-based webzine called Seat of Perception. My first post there was about divination and the nature of storytelling, with more than a few nods to our very own John Crowley, who later posted a thought-provoking reply. My own reply to his comment mentions the Little, Big quote at the top of this update.
Wishing everyone a safe and happy New Year,