On June 30th, 2016, I lost Mr. Starshaped following a nine month battle with cancer that I attempted to process through print here and here. As we pick up the pieces and wade into our next chapter, we're grateful for the unwavering support shown us by so many.
Over the winter, unbeknownst to me, Mr. S and his psychologist, Stacy Sanford, at Northwestern Memorial Hospital, documented a series of thoughts that he wanted to leave with Jo before the inevitable separated them. I discovered this when Stacy reached out at one of his appointments and gave me a copy. I was blown away; this short list included things he repeatedly expressed to Jo but couldn't write down. I knew immediately it needed a better format than a sad Word print out.
Kooks, by David Bowie, was the first song Mr. S taught to Jo and she could sing it at the age of 2. It's been a touchstone for the two of them over the years and given the weird things her parents do for a living, Jo has always loved it. Bowie mentions giving his child a 'Book of Rules... what to say to people when they pick on you.' This seemed a perfect description for Mr. S's list.
I created a simple structure that would serve as a sort of chapbook for Jo to keep close. I looked at the delightful work of W.A. Dwiggins for ornamental inspiration that would appeal to a nine year old so she could interpret the images as she liked. Everything about the simple design kept this audience of one in mind.
Printed in an edition of 75, many have been gifted to family but a number remain and are available here. There are 12 rules, with a brief intro and colophon on the inside covers.
At the risk of adding too much of my own verbiage, I'll let Mr. S's words take it from here.
Images from July 2015 and June 2016. The appearances of my two loves may have changed but the intangible between them never did.