Happy 99th Birthday Jane!
Today marks what would have been Jane Russell’s 99th birthday. While I haven’t been particularly active on this site, I am pleased to report on this notable Jane day that I have completed my book on JR and submitted the final draft to my publisher, the University Press of Kentucky!
I was in the final stretch of the manuscript when the pandemic really hit and quarantines began. So yes, completing it was a fairly grueling experience, mainly because it was so hard to concentrate with increasingly bleak news pouring in every minute. Closures of physical spaces did impact my ability to tie up some minor loose ends in a couple of archives, and there was one photo I could not get permissions to use because of staff furloughs. Still, those who have reviewed the manuscript so far have given it positive feedback, which is a huge relief.
So, why the rush to finish it? I really wanted to have the book released in time for Jane’s centennial which is next year, so that is what drove the contractual deadline. With everything going on right now, this seems less pressing than it once did and I obviously have no idea what the world is going to look like a year from now. No matter what the book release looks like, I am still grateful for this deadline which probably staved off some depression and stress-eating for a few weeks! I am also excited to share Jane’s story and films with folks, particularly the work she did on behalf of orphaned children through her WAIF organization. Ultimately, I had started working on this project five years ago, so it was time to finish it.
So, what happens now? I have a meeting with UPK’s marketing team tomorrow, so my time with Jane is definitely not done. As a compulsive collector who seldom finds Ann Dvorak (my true love) items anymore, I really dove in with Jane and now own 3 times more photos than I ended up using in the book. Now that the book is done, I’ll be spending more time on this site, sharing some of the extra photos & ephemera. Since this experience was a bit different from working on the Ann Dvorak book, I though I would highlight some of those differences as well.
In the meantime, wishing folks a safe and healthy Father’s Day and JR birthday.