Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Printy frenzy


At least 18 months after I blogged about starting the planning process, I've FINALLY started print production on my poetry books, and it's all I can think about right now. I can guarantee that my blog presence will get more erratic than usual over the next few months. Apologies in advance!

Luckily Bumblebee is with his dad for this week of the school holidays, so I can wake, eat breakfast, jump out of bed, shrug on some clothes fresh from the floordrobe and run out the door onto my pushbike. This week (starting from Sunday) I've been at the Book Studio by 8am, and I don't leave until 5.30 or later. A quick lunch that includes catching up on my scrabble, and I get a hell of a lot done in a day.

It's so much fun to be producing something for myself! I love the element of problem-solving that letterpress provides at every stage, and within every stage. Especially with the resources I've got, including type which seemed plentiful when I started, but turns out to be quite worn and irregular, so that at least two hours of the day is spent proofing and substituting letters before I can edition.

I'm completely obsessed. If I look the way I feel, I look saggy tired around the edges, with a core of wild-eyed excitement. All wound up, and impatient at distractions and delays. I'm going to my parents' farm this weekend with a gang of mates, and I'm not sure if it's a good or bad thing that I'll be forced to leave the press. Good for the social time, bad for my sense of urgency and energy! Healthy, is what Best Beloved says. He's feeling a bit lost at the moment as I wizz around him in ever increasing circles.

I'm going to document my print production as I go at flickr. If you're interested, you can find the flickr set here.


Poppy Letterpress said...

I know the feeling: really should be doing other stuff as well (I think this is called a 'life', I've heard about it a little), but there are typographical problems to solve, and ink to sniff. Gosh, I'm only getting started and I've already got the bug.

Zoe said...

Well, I saw you at about 8 this morning and you looked great. Perhaps a slight touch of the Crazy Eyes, but very well,

Bernice said...

go go go - vicarious buzzinesssssss. But think of the enforced weekend break as a time to wash thoroughly, sip rather than gulp tea, & smile quietly to yourself. A lot.

Ampersand Duck said...

Thanks, Zoe. It must be just on the inside, then!

Actually, yes, B. I'm looking forward to the weekend.

And Poppy... sigh. Enjoy.

Mummy/Crit said...

Wow, what an exciting project. I rerally like your photo set.

fifi said...

how wonderful. may the force be with you.

whose poem is that? i love it. Must have it.

it seems to have erupted out of somewhere in my own mind.

greetings from russia

Ampersand Duck said...

It's by Nan McDonald, and it's not complete because it runs onto the next page. The final stanza reads:

I was that child, who now
Am child no more,
not the white nor the sooty feather
can heal my heart,
No flotsam of the shore
Is treasure now--but still, great
gales gone over,
To that long coast my stumbling
feet yet tread
Comes the strange guest, with the
wild morning foam--
Oh, in the storm-beat breast the
wings unfolding!--
Sea-hued, heaven-hued, that is dead
Before I bring it home.

I love Nan's poetry. She has a melancholy wildness inside great formality.

genevieve said...

You have that poetry in a nutshell, &D, as well as on your press. It is very fine. No wonder you're excited :)
There's a nice bit in the Glendinning bio of Leonard Woolf where she says he was often terribly irritated by what he was printing, being a very impatient person anyway and also because of the repetitiveness of it, but did not feel like that about seven early Eliot poems he printed in 1919:
"I never tired and still do not tire of those lines which were a new note in poetry and came from the heart of the Eliot of those days." (He was self-taught though, wasn't he. Probably made more mistakes than you studio artistes.)

It must be rather beautiful to print poetry most of the time.

Ampersand Duck said...

It would be, G, if I was printing it all the time instead of the other crud I'm forced to do for money!

I love Leonard Woolf. He sounds like a very kind, intelligent man. I love the way he thought setting type would be soothing for Virginia's nerves.

genevieve said...

It's a terrific bio. I feel a bit better about the whole caring gig for having read it. He was not afraid to take time off and do interesting stuff, either, which is heartening.
Heard Glendinning at the Writers' Fest too, with Sophie - she's a really nice woman, the book must have really stuck it to some of the scholars who think he was a control freak.