Over the long weekend I closed out one writer’s notebook and prepared to begin using another. For me this process involves leafing through the pages of the filled book, looking for nuggets that might be left behind and eventually forgotten.
I was surprised to see that my old notebook, begun in early summer, is mostly filled with notes from KaBooM meetings. Here’s a to-do list, made as the manuscript neared completion. Here’s a list of questions to take to Larkspur Press, followed by a set of instructions on how to hand sew book signatures.
Here are thoughts for blog entries, made when our web site was fledgling. Here are ideas for the panel discussion we led at the Kentucky Women Writers Conference, and the descriptions for two workshops we’ll lead this winter at the Carnegie Center.
It’s a rich history of the process of creating and then taking public When the Bough Breaks. I’m glad to have it. Problem is, there’s more note taking than writing, more listing than generating.
This, I see, is the rhythm of a writer’s life: writing, then bringing to fruition, followed by reflecting.
I also see that it’s time to get back to writing.
One evening last week, several members of KaBooM led a Lexington Girl Scout group in the how-to of handmade book craft. We showed them When the Bough Breaks, certainly. But because our time was short and these young women deserved an opportunity to make their own books as places to set words to paper, one of our goals was to provide them a chance to make something beautiful they could take home. Soon, ten sets of hands were running fingers over paper choices; wrestling with bulldog clips and paper awls; pulling thread through beeswax; and enjoying success with Japanese binding—a technique very different from what we used for our anthology, but one just right for first-time book makers.
Bulldog clips hold multiple pages firm as they are worked into a book.
Coating thread with natural beeswax before sewing.
Of course we wanted them to take away more than just beautiful handmade books. We told them that publishing can mean many things, as setting words to one sheet of paper and presenting them as a gift to someone special is one way that writing moves out into the world. You have the ability to do this, we urged these young writers.
Scoring the cover folds with bone folders and rulers.
We made sure they knew that before we began our own project, we didn’t even know what we needed to learn to ensure our anthology became reality. Nonetheless here we are, at a particularly exhilarating part of the journey to print.
Book makers displaying the visual aspect of the evening's success.
What we took away was less physically tangible than the crafted objects they proudly displayed in this group picture. That evening my pockets were full with the energy in the room, the shared delight in accomplishment, the heartfelt appreciations. Since then I’ve reflected that the fierceness of purpose I took away has far more to do with the making of meaning than of making only a pretty object. The books we make are fine work because the freight they carry matters deeply to us. That, of all they took from our time together, is what I most desire those young writers remember and take to heart.
We’re still catching our breath from an exciting weekend! The book fair was fun, with so many readers and writers gathered in one place. Seeing old friends and meeting new ones made the day a real pleasure.
The book had a good day as well! We sold every copy we brought, gathered up all the others we could find at short notice, and sold out of them, too! We met a lot of people whose friends had recommended When the Bough Breaks. Thanks for spreading the word.
Here are some pictures from the big day:
Lynn sewing more books at the Ky. Book Fair
Wyn Morris stops by to chat with Leatha, Pam, and Susan
Pam, Mary, and Susan at the KaBooM table, Ky. Book Fair 2009
We’ll be at Table 10 for the Kentucky Book Fair in Frankfort this Saturday. Stop by and say hello!
So we’re a day into National Novel Writing Month, NaNoWRiMo, and more power to all of you who are making the words fly. But for those of us who aren’t up to the challenge of drafting a novel by the end of the month, (maybe next year…) here’s another possibility.
Dawn DeVries Sokol is offering a prompt per day for her version of this month’s excitement: NaNoJouMo, or National Nonstop Journaling Month. She’s a lettering artist who renders a word to serve as the day’s inspiration with style and personality. And if the thought of another writing project sounds more like an energy drain than a spigot for new ideas, this can be a journal for doodles and drawings—lines that convey emotion without using language. Sounds refreshing to me, like taking up a dowsing rod to locate a new well of creativity.