Sunday Stream ~ Books
Sometime in the mid-80's I purchased a Macintosh 512. Apple had a winner on its hands... a small compact home computer that set the pace for the future. Not all had shared the enthusiasm, of course. But I had one and with that little thing I wrote text in many choices of fonts and sizes... that hasn't changed almost 20 yrs later. But the 512 also had a paint program, the first of its kind where you could draw (much like you can today), like an advanced etch-a-sketch for those of us that grew up with the etch-a-sketch only much more control. I ended up making a book which came to be known as chapbooks, but I had a creative party with that! I called it "Altitude Descending - the Rhymes & Reveries of Cecil B. Lee", complete with some pictures and a collection of old writings mixed with some new ones - the reveries. I ran off the originals down at work on the office copier. What a thrill to see the pages spitting out of the machine, stacking one upon the other until 6 pages were finished, a little bit warm to the touch, I placed them aside until the next page, then the next, until all the pages were completed (much like we do today). I had six copies made up, stapled with a front page smartly showing my completed 'masterpiece'. I passed them around while keeping 2 myself. I received the comments "Neat!", "Cool..", and the raised eyebrows. I decided to do another run, 10 copies this time... go to Kinko's (much like we do now), faster machines, toner-full, and the selection of papers... ahh, this was just too cool, I was a little pup publisher. The Macintosh 512 changed my world! There was no internet in my world then. Just programs to open up new ideas, new tools to publish words and pictures. There was no color 'cept for the black & white and all the greys inbetween, and the process was quite slow by today's standards, but it was like touching the future, feeling the future course thru the veins like a good high. The possibilities were seemingly endless (much like today).
My second book was far different. I was at a local arts & crafts fair in 1993 when I came across a couple that had a really interesting booth, "Greenleaf Bookes". The fellow, Stitch, was the book binder and he'd sit at his table hand-stitching a high quality cotton paper together to wrap in their own covers, all unique, using various leathers and materials. Most books were small (4x6 inches, some a bit larger, but all of them were exquisite blank books that felt so good in my hands that I finally gave in and bought one.
In November of 1993 I put my first entry into my own finely-made, one-of-a-kind book... a far cry from holding a stapled 8x10 inch flimsy book. This was going to be a different book, this was going to be unique, something that was me (whatever that was..). My first entry was not on the first page, or even the second - no, I just held the book in my hands and flipped open randomly to a page and wrote:
but few seldom
I used the heavy cotton-based pages for using inks of my choosing, pictures that came from within me... stream of consciousness images, stream of consciousness writings, picking a page each time, randomly, as if the page would open as it needed to be revealed with whatevere was in my head at the time. A diary of my doings, wrapped in nice hard cover, to be preserved forever (!)...
When I finished the book, I had saved the very first page and the last page for the finale.... this is the title page of my 2nd book:
The name came from a picture I did:
The name just spilled outta me. It has no known meaning to it, just a string of words that popped out, like the image itself. But this was the second book, completed.
That next fall (1993), I returned to that same arts & crafts fair and 'Greenleaf Bookes' was there. I purchased a second book from Stitch and Judith, this one a different color cover, but still finely stitched and ready for ink and watercolors. I finished that one and once again, at the next fair purchased yet another book... a book I've yet to finish. A book that sits wrapped in a baggie with it's two companions yet to find its fulfillment in words and images. I have neglected its completion for far longer that I care to admit.
If we as writers, as poets, as artists do not respect what we have done, what we do, and what may rise out of us in the future, we do a disservice to ourselves, and may, just maybe someone in the future that may gain something of what we have left behind. Our words, our images, quite posssibly will mean something to someone down the line. It could happen... but it never will if we don't DO.
If we don't DO, we don't have anything to leave behind of ourselves, other than a possible headstone lost in time as people in the future stumble over our markers in route to see the burial site of someone they do know. How many headstones are sticking out of the ground in cemetaries world wide? How few, so few, have any memory of walking, talking, loving and laughing in the very world in which they were born and died... just carved whispers in rock slowly being buried by dust and dirt.
It is true that the tombstone may outlive the paper, but it is what is on the paper that someone may again read and relive a part of us that will give a purpose to our existence in the mortal cycle of life. It has been said that we are made in god's image - I take that as meaning god is a creator, and we too, as humans have the ability to create also. We create not only our offspring, but our potential, to make us whatever we are thru the creative process. The artist not only chooses but is compelled to create. It may not be for the future, but if our creative energy is utilized whatever it may be that what we create may just bring a glimpse of our now to a future that has yet to become.
Books are compilations of our thoughts, our stories, our loves and actions. We are all books standing in the Library of Life - we may not ever be read, but we are as complete as creation intended.
28 March 2004