Along with the newest book in the catalog, Protons and Fleurons, we’re introducing a new kind of offering from Thornbush Press: the Palimpsest Guide series.
A palimpsest is a piece of vellum or parchment that’s been used for writing, then erased, effaced, or scratched out and used again for new writing. It reflects a time when writing surfaces were expensive and rare, so re-use was the best way to conserve a limited resource.
It’s a great metaphor, too, because writing is exactly that—trying something out, rereading it, deciding it’s no good, rejecting it, and starting over. Nowadays we never need to see our previous versions if we don’t want to, thanks to the handy delete key. Or maybe we preserve every single distinct edition of a work in progress, a redaction historian’s dream come true.
Whether or not there is physical or digital evidence of it, though, all writing undergoes versions and revisions. It might happen mostly in the mind, as the seed of an idea sprouts enough to grow into a transcribed piece of work. It’s never just right on the first try.
The Palimpsest Guides will not give you tedious versions 1.0 through 8.7 and everything in between, fear not!
Instead, they are for fans of a work who want a deeper dive into the background of its coming to the page. Where did you get that idea from? What does this name mean? Is there a special significance to this detail? Does an underlying theme or conviction shape the work?
In the Palimpsest Guides, we’ll scratch the top layer of the story to reveal what’s hidden underneath. You certainly don’t need a Palimpsest Guide to enjoy the works they accompany; the works stand on their own merit. It’s only a bonus for superfans who want to dig deeper.
Our very first Palimpsest Guide accompanies the short story collection Protons and Fleurons. All twenty stories are linked by each being named for an element of the periodic table. There are subtle connections between them, as well as Easter eggs of meaning embedded within them. If you enjoy the stories, you’ll probably enjoy finding out more about them.
Palimpsest Guides are available only as epubs or pdfs, and only from Thornbush Press. As both thanks and incentive for giving this new offering a chance, the Palimpsest Guide to Protons and Fleurons is free to all comers—just download direct from our Payhip store!
Image: Enhanced multispectral imaging of palimpsest fragments composite images