Friday, December 4, 2009

I love the smell of mimeograph in the morning.

What would it be like to start a 'zine today?

I'm on the verge of finishing a newsletter project and it's gotten me thinking about 'zines and underground comics...and screenprinted concert posters and small house t-shirts and book artists and taggers and skateboard punks and sticker artists and wheat paste guys all those folks who still believe in creating things with their own two hands.

People like Flying Guillotine Press with great slogans like: "We publish things."

Back in the far off distance past I had things published by a 'zine or two.

Back in the far off distant past I made comic books that weren't graphic novels because I didn't think such a thing existed.

So what if, with all signs pointing down the electric yellow brick road, someone were to do a 'zine in the here and now.

Because really - and you just need to click on that Flying Guillotine link above - as fantastic as a polished Chip Kidd designed book can be, there's something truly heartfelt about burlap.


The Literature Professor got a Kindle and was very excited to show it off.

She was far less enthused by my reaction to her new toy.

"I'm a literature professor! Do you know how much easier it's going to be to..."

"I know, I know," I said, before going silent.

Today she wanted me to take another look at it, noting as she did the irony of the fact that she was demonstrating the Kindle's real ink display and easy navigation with Joseph Conrad's Heart of Darkness.

With all due respect to the Literature Professor and her hardcover-broken back I'm still not convinced. In fact, I was actually kind of disturbed by the e-reader's very unreal appearance. By the book-like text floating on the thin little screen.

By the literal lack of weight to it.

Call me old-fashioned and destined for a brace, but I'm still not ready to say goodbye to paper.

Why no one will ever sing "To Sir With Love" to me.

[Scene: School library where students are (mostly) working to complete an in-class assignment.]

Student #1
: C'mon Mr. Artboy. Don't make me do it. There's not enough time for me to do all that writing. Can't I just take a break? C'mon. Look into your heart.

Mr. Artboy: I did look into my heart. It's a vast, cold, dark place. Barren and empty and without feeling.

Student #2 (who is sitting at the computer furiously trying to make deadline): Huh. You might want to have someone take a look at that.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Winging It.

Tonight I had one of those conversations with a customer service representative that begs the question, "Are you just making this up?"

Irony being that what got me into the situation of having to talk to customer service was following the instructions repeated to me over and over while I stood there on hold. "Visit us online. Visit us online. Visit us online."

Yeah. I did that. That's kind of how this all got started.

And that's what I kept explaining to the customer service representative who proceeded to tell that my situation could not be resolved because...wait for it...they were having issues with their computer system.

Um...could the computer issue your having have contributed to my to the computer-caused issue I'm having.

Oh. No. It just started.

You knew that was coming, right?

Monday, November 30, 2009

Maybe if they had gone with Bordours?

Borders in the UK has gone into receivership.

At least, I think that's what they mean when they say it's gone into "administration."

That sounds right, right?

The news has no impact on the American chain since they're no longer connected.

Here's the funny thing though.

Usually when I hear news like this I launch into a tirade about the slow demise of bricks and mortar bookstores.

But here's the thing.

When we were in England this past summer? I don't think I remember seeing a Borders.

Which might have been part of their problem.

Evil dread.

Books are evil.

But not that way.

Not "books have ideas and ideas raise questions and questions lead to revolution so let's burn the ones that raise questions" kind of evil.

And all books aren't evil.

Just the wolf-in-sheep's-clothing books are evil. Books that are really just glorified, hard covered press releases are evil. Ghost written books that pull resources and attention away from books written by real, live authors who believe that writing is both an art and a craft are evil (1).

Wondering what I'm yammering on and on about?

I'm yammering on and on about Michael Wolff's column "Books Are Bad for You" over at Newser.

Actually, it was published a week ago...making it old Newser...but I still think it's worth a read.

1. That's right. I'm looking at you Palin. I'm also looking at all you people that made transformed a woman who could barely string a coherent sentence together into a bestselling author. Way to go.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Try to remember those days of Mo-vember

One of the things that gets furiously written about at Furiously Writing is gratitude.

Which is something that I find both thoughtful and impressive. It's very easy to say that you are grateful for the things in your life, another to devote time and attention to listing out those things for which you are thankful on a regular old Wednesday.

Lately I've found that I've returned to a project that I had been engaged in which was looking at people who were putting creativity to work in the real world. That's kind of a ham-handed way of saying it but as near as I'm going to get this fine Sunday evening.

In other words, I'm grateful for creative people.

Yesterday Leopold and I hit Eastern Market with Finkelstein and came across these guys.

Better than the really amazing t-shirts that the guys at Fuzzy Ink are creating? The mustache shaped business card that I figured out how to balance on my upper lip.

Less impressed by this trick is Leopold.

But trust me. It's hysterical.