Wednesday, March 6, 2013

It’s the Journey

I was asked to write an essay about traveling for Paper Tigers. It is titled It’s Not the Destination. It’s the Journey. The essay will appear after March 11, 2013. Their web address is

Image ©2001 by James Rumford
from Traveling Man, Houghton Mifflin.

I have to say that, as far as journeys are concerned, writing and illustrating Scrapbook has been a journey that I have enjoyed. It is also about a journey, a quest to find the fantastic animals and places John Mandeville described centuries ago. Because John Mandeville probably never even left England, but gathered travelers’ tales and turned them into a “personal” account of his voyage, his work is largely of the mind. It is a fantasy. This aspect is the intriguing part. It has allowed me to invent my own story based on his, to imagine a world of dogheads and centaurs.

Below is the next installment of Scrapbook, which I began on September 30, 2012. Because much time has passed, perhaps this synopsis will help recall the flow of the story.

Introduction: When Kenneth Dore’s grandmother dies, he finds on the kitchen table the scrapbook he and his sister had found in the attic several summers before. The scrapbook was intriguing and recounted the life a Rozelle G. Hodges, adventurer extraordinaire. Kenneth decides to reread the scrapbook.

Chapter One: Rozelle recounts her childhood and her and her brother’s fascination with Mandeville. Once she meets an Indian man who seems to corroborate Mandeville’s tale about finding the well of eternal life. Rozelle decides that she must find that well one day.

Chapter Two: Rozelle obtains a degree in anthropology and in 1929 sets out for Egypt to investigate a dog-headed people. There she meets Col. Lamont. The two fall in love, but he must return to England, where they plan to meet in a couple of months. Rozelle decides to take this opportunity to go to India to find the well.

Chapter Three: In India Rozelle goes on a wild-goose chase. Before she can do any real investigative work, the stock market crashes. She must return home.

Chapter Four: Col. Lamont, unable to wait for her, marries another. Dejected, Rozelle decides to go to Paraguay to search out Mandeville’s garsynts, long-necked llama-like animals. She is caught up in a war. She escapes and makes it to Brazil.

Chapter Five: In Brazil, she is almost lost in the Amazonian jungle looking for Mandeville’s cocodrylles. She falls in love with a Col. Lamão, but nothing comes of the affair. She returns to America and involves herself for a short time with actors and actresses in Hollywood.

Chapter Six: Tired of Hollywood, she decides to go to the southern Soviet Union in 1937 to look for griffins. She meets a Russian Col. Vasily Lamontov. The two fall in love, but he is sent to Kamchatka for fraternizing with an American.

Chapter Seven: Rozelle goes north into Siberia in search of Mandeville’s green-skinned people. She meets a Jewish family going east. She helps them enter China.

Chapter Eight: Rozelle goes into China to look for centaurs. She stays with a Col. Lai Man-t’e. In late 1937, she decides to go to India to look for the well again.

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