The current phase of research his focussed on letters written to Bob Richel, and letters he wrote to others. These letters quite often hold information that can lead to new sources, and with the archival research around the corner, it could be best to study these documents first. Not only letters are important, but other documents, like Bob’s notebook on magic or even his personal memories of his youth in Rotterdam are very important. In the personal memories he mentions the street where his school used to be, which will be an enormous help in finding this school and ultimately to retreive some records which will provide the necessary information.
Once all letters are read, the notes will be chronologically be entered in a word-document, which will eventually serve as a source for the writing-process, which will eventually start once all the archival research and interviews are done. It is then a phase of compiling information, and start to evaluate the relevance of the found information. That Bob had a cold in winter 1947 might be informative, but is rarely relevant. Him working at a certain company is relevant. We could start digging up more information about the company he was working, and it might be possible that there still are some records left, which contain information about income, duration and the reason why Bob left this company to apply for a job elsewhere.
Another aspect of the Richel-family is humor, which allows me to make the narrative a bit less dry. I am currently looking into a writing-style that might connect these family-tales with his work as an artist, and a more creative, loosely written narrative might be an answer to how this book should come into existence. I already experimented with that for the first paragraph of chapter one. The version to my liking has been saved, but do not underestimate the power of editing: it might not survive in the final manuscript.
When the book is ready, I can’t tell in this stage of research. Bob’s life is far more complicated than that of Jan Eldermans, so there are lots of darlings to be killed. Again: what is relevant and what is not? Should every little detail of his life be described? I am not a fan of such an approach. I do want to keep the focus on the influence of the occult on Bob, because that is something people would love to read about. I want to find the fine balance between Bob’s life, his art and his understanding of the occult and witchcraft, to make it into a better book than the previous one. I still haven’t peaked and there is a lot of inspiration what to do when Hermaphroditus. The Occult Life of Bob Laurentius Richel does roll of the printing press… But first things first: continue the research and start finding some hard evidence to support or deny tales told about Bob’s life.
© 2018 Wilmar Taal