If you’re looking for a special gift this holiday season, you might look no farther than Symposium Books, where on Saturday you can buy a copy and meet the author of “Old Salty Dog – A Rhode Island Folktale.”
Seth McCombs wrote and illustrated the charming book, drawing inspiration from such folktale greats as Paul Bunyan and John Henry and the great challenges they faced. He will be at Symposium Books, 1000 Division St., Saturday at 2 p.m.
“The book is a tall tale of a quahogger who encounters all the sea monsters of myth and legend in his quest for clams,” said McCombs. “I grew up on Narragansett Bay and devoured every book on marine life I could find in the Warwick Library. The marina where my family kept their boat was also home to a lot of quahog skiffs … and I suppose the image of those boats is deep in my brain.”
He added, “The story itself was sitting in a notebook for a while when I decided to illustrate it. I write a lot of things down and my recollection of writing that story is that the first couple of rhymes popped into my head and then I just sat down and followed it wherever it went until it stopped. When I had an art show to put together for display at Chez Pascal in Providence I needed something to focus on so I pulled Old Salty Dog out and created pieces to go with it. The art style is what resulted from me having a deadline and no time to think about what it should look like. I just made each piece, to the best of my ability and was forced to do what came intuitively. I remember thinking it was the most honest thing I had ever done, in that way. Trying to look at the art from the perspective of someone who doesn’t know me, I think it’s obvious that I loved Tintin as a kid and that I spend a lot of time looking at nautical woodcuts and Japanese finger waves.”