Wednesday, October 20, 2010

In Other Words


In Holland and other international circles, today would be notated as 20.10.2010.  I wonder what numerologists would make of that?  Should we be demanding a recount for the Mayan calendar?
I had a dream.  I was gonna buy the old fire station in Dormont, PA, and convert it into a three floor artist’s dream.  First level would be a gallery for local amateur artists to display their work.  Second level would be a gourmet coffee house with an in-house bean roaster and professional sound and light stage for local, amateur musicians to have a venue to polish their acts, and poets once a week.  The third level would be, well, ya gotta live somewhere.  I’d tear down the three stall garage that used to hold fire trucks and turn it into parking for gallery and coffee house customers.
That was the dream.  Life intervened, and I’m helping my wife care for her mother in Florida.  As far as I know, the once and future Dormont Sound, Soul and Bean Shoppe is still just a big empty building with a 3-BATruck garage.
I’ve spent the last few days trying to put together a 48 page chapbook of stories and poetry all having a December/Christmas theme.  This is comprised of pieces I’ve already written over the last five or so years.  No writing in this project, just compiling things I’ve already written, and I even had some great feedback on how to produce/publish it in time for a gig I’m doing in just a little over 6 weeks.  I’ll be setting up a table with everything, but especially the new bit, and doing a 15-minute presentation on writing.
To paraphrase Bill Cosby (who I’m certain was quoting idioms from my mother), if you think writing isn’t work – you’ve got another think coming.  Even just polishing this little publication – little more than a pamphlet – is a lot of work!  Think about it – twelve sheets of 8 ½ x 11 paper, folded in half to make 48 pages and one more sheet for the cover.  And I’ve been wrestling with it for two days and parts of two nights.  Coming up with a cover idea, placing the text, formatting it.  I used a template for Microsoft Office 2007 Publisher designed expressly for chapbooks, but even with that,  I had to manually place every sheet of text because Auto Flow has a mind of its own.
Now, that part of it is done, but it still has to be printed, copied, collated, folded, covered and stitched, and if possible, have the end trimmed to it looks even on the opening edge.  The only actual writing I did for this was the acknowledgements page, TOC and Author’s Bio.
And to tell you the truth?  Writing is the easy part.  Then you have to edit it so it makes some sort of sense to the reader.
This is my job now.  I write and hope it sells or gets noticed.  I polish, buff, wax, shine, and perform delicate cosmetic surgery on the faces of the characters, and sometimes have to cut their hearts out.  As a writer I do it whether I get paid or not.  But it isn’t easy.  Fun, yes, but easy?  No way.  A writer friend says of potential authors, if you’re waiting for your grant to write, you’re not a writer.  A writer writes.  Period.  Sometimes if we work hard enough at it, and get just a little bit of luck, maybe we get paid.  But a writer makes his own luck more often than not.  It’s not a thing for the faint of heart.
I’ll have a double shot ‘Irish’ espresso, please.
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