We are in the final stages of production on Paul Bunyan Wears a Face Mask: a curated collection of writing by Mainers during the COVID-19 crisis. The profits from this project will benefit the United Way of Eastern Maine’s COVID-19 relief fund.

As of this writing, the formatted book is in copyediting. That means we’re looking for grammar, spelling, style, and layout issues to make sure every writer’s contribution looks as professional as possible. 

Editing an anthology brings some unique challenges. Each writer is unique. Their terminology and style are as diverse as they are. Our contributors come from Portland, Bangor, Fort Kent, MDI, and everywhere in between. They range in age from nine-years-old to 73. It takes a careful eye to make everything flow together. 

What’s next for Paul Bunyan Wears a Face Mask?

Paul Bunyan Wears a Facemask cover artWhen our final quality checks are complete, we’ll send the book to a print on demand service. Although we could theoretically order a book at a time, batching the orders keeps shipping prices down and helps us maximize the donation to the United Way. 

All of you who have already pre-ordered books will be part of that first print run. We hope to be able to deliver them to you at the beginning of September. I write “hope” because the printers have been affected by the pandemic as well. They might be a little slower to respond, but the quality of the books will be worth it. 

Paul Bunyan Wears a Face Mask will be 130 pages of writing by real Mainers. We’ve chosen a matte paperback, again keeping costs as low as possible, with a custom design by AHD Design. The dimensions will be 5.25 x 8 inches, so it will fit neatly next to other trade paperbacks on your shelves. 

A short bio of each writer precedes each piece. You’ll meet veteran writers with dozens of published works, new poets submitting for the first time, and emerging voices with a few publishing credits to their name. Our writers are elementary and homeschool students, new graduates, business owners, and retired healthcare workers. One is the former professor who gave Stephen King a C on his first college composition. Another moved to Maine after a long career in editing for the Boston Globe and the New York Times.

Why this project now?

Although Maine’s infection rate has been low compared to other parts of the nation, Mainers are still feeling the economic, emotional, and personal impacts of the pandemic. Businesses are struggling, employees are being laid off, and the fear of illness looms in everyone’s mind. 

Paul Bunyan Wears a Face Mask won’t solve any of these problems, but it will help ease the burden on Maine people and Maine families. The United Way of Eastern Maine has already helped fund more than 85 organizations that support people in Maine communities. 

If anything, I wish I’d thought of this sooner. The official start date of this project was May 18. That was the day I walked away from the chores I was doing so I could map out a plan for this crazy idea I’d just had. I emailed the United Way that same day. 

By then, we were already about two months into the crisis. Now, after two and a half months of work, we’re days away from sending this book to print. I’d love to donate thousands of dollars to the United Way. But I can’t do it alone. Thirty-three writers stepped up to help their friends and neighbors. 

Now it’s your turn. Pre-order your copy of Paul Bunyan Wears a Face Mask now.