Tony Fouhse's first book Live Through This showed up on a Monday. Sitting there in the mailbox amidst junk mail and credit card statements, a package from Canada.
Oh, wow, it's really here.
I guess it's done.
Can't be more done than this.
Strange the way this hit me. It was almost sad. Kind of like something was over. I had watched this thing evolve...but at an internet distance/closeness. Gone are the days of a project being worked on in silence, then being sprung on an unsuspecting audience seeing it fully formed. Looking back, I can't believe anyone ever cared when things where done the old way.
Why did he call this project Live Thru This?
When I first heard the title, I assumed it was a reference to Hole's 1994 album of the same name. Then of course there was the idea that Stephanie McDonald literally did live through this. She didn't die, she survived, he life continues after the book is long gone and the project is done. Staring at the book in my mailbox and and calculating when I was going to look at it, I realized what the title really meant.
We the viewers got to see the project begin, fumble, get serious, get solid, grow and get intertwined with Fouhse's life on his regular updates on his blog Drool. Honest about his intentions and honest about the challenges before him, Fouhse and McDonald openly shared the this thing for all to see. We had the blog, a fundraising video on Rockethub, a video commercial, and somehow at some pivitol juncture of the project I found myself friend requesting Stephanie McDonald on Facebook. Here I could see into her life without Fouhse's lens getting in the way, or cleaning things up, or however you'd like to phrase it.
The next step was Fouhse creating Straylight Press, an indy press publishing the book version of Live Through This, as well as various publications large and small of other artists he feels an affinity for. For anyone following the project as I have, the last few months have been focused on sharing with the readers the process of the completing the book and certainly singing the song of and spreading the word of Straylight Press.
Witnessing all of this, from the beginning of a small series of portraits to a life engagement to the creation of this publishing company....well, I think that was the project for me. That was the thing that I got emotionally involved in and got the various payoffs from, visual rewards and storytelling rewards from. All of those good things, well I think I may have already gotten them. Did I need to look at the book? Didn't I already Live Through This?
Live Through This is beautifully produced with a booklet at the final page giving the last word to Stephanie to tell the story, in her words. Subtle and quiet with a blank white cover , it's hard to see who the author of this book really is. No one is grandstanding, no one is slumming it, Stephanie McDonald kind of comes to life and the relationship of she and Tony brings this human element to the harsh reality inherent in any junkie story. The human story sticks with you and is what you remember when you let go of the book.
And the title? To me it refers to you, me, the universal reader. If you bought this book, you most likely already have lived through this, in some small way.
Buy Live Throught This HERE.