Welcome to everyone who has just subscribed to this newsletter.

First, a little bit about me. My name is Rose Vines. I’m an expat Aussie, a writer, techie, and human rights worker. I’ve lived in New Orleans since the mid-90s, worked with Sister Helen Prejean since 2002, and have been her online “voice” for much of that time.

I am the scriptwriter of Graphic Dead Man Walking, and I’ve been collaborating on the book with our illustrator, Catherine Anyango Grünewald, since early 2019.

While this newsletter follows my own journey in creating Graphic Dead Man Walking, it’ll also include exploration of wider themes, such as literary adaptation, graphic books, criminal justice, and art as a vehicle for social change. I’ll include interviews with Sister Helen, Catherine Grünewald and others. I welcome your thoughts and questions, too, so please share them in the comments.

Note that several of these early newsletters are lightly edited reposts from Facebook. I’m including those older posts because I want to preserve a record for Sister Helen’s archives (which are housed at DePaul University in Chicago). You’ll receive a short series in daily succession, and then things will settle down to a more sedate publication schedule.

Immersing in graphic novels

Originally published February 11th, 2019

Sister Helen and I have been getting deeper into graphic novel immersion. I spent the day reading articles online about the emerging success of graphic novels and the literary awards they’ve won. Given the diversity of offerings and the publishing success of so much graphic work, it had me wondering, is the future the graphic novel?

I finished Scott McCloud’s Understanding Comics. So fascinating. I particularly enjoyed the section on words and pictures working together, as well as his Picture Plane pyramid, which is stupendous. One of the things I love about graphic books is the amount of time you can spend on a single page. That’s certainly the case with much of Scott’s book.

I’ve started reading the next Scott McCloud book, Reinventing Comics, and I’m diving into Totally Random: Why Nobody Understands Quantum Mechanics by Jeffrey and Tanya Bub, which has me trying to fathom quantum entanglement via ‘quoins’. The Bub’s book has a great graphic style.

Quantum entanglement

One of the pleasures Sister Helen and I share is a fascination with cosmology and particle physics. We recently read Carlo Rovelli’s wonderful Seven Brief Lessons on Physics together.

I finished re-reading Dead Man Walking on the weekend and started putting my outline, highlights and notes into Scrivener. Once I have that completed and have done a bit more reading, I’ll start on a draft of Chapter One. One of the most daunting tasks will be figuring out what I can leave out—Sister Helen’s gripping writing makes that difficult!