Homemade book

My brother doesn’t know it yet…

…but I’ve spent the past three days collecting all of the poetry he’s sent me over the past 2 1/2 years and compiling it into a book. Layout, graphic design, printing, and very primitive binding.

Every time I tell him, “You should write a book of poetry!”, he always brushes the idea aside. Claims he’s not a writer. Yet here I am with more than 50 poems that he’s sent me.

And a bunch of them are poems that I’ve put to music. So I decided to make an accompanying cd with 15 of the songs that resulted from his poems. The cd is included in a sleeve in the back of the book.

Is it perfect? No way! Although my new friend Emily (who teaches bookbinding) tried her best to offer guidance, I still managed to jury rig the binding. And the cover.

And although she told me that you can do layout of book signatures automatically with Adobe InDesign (they’re up to CS5 now!), and although I downloaded the 30-day trial, and although I spent about 18 hours struggling to figure out how to make it all print out correctly, I STILL, somehow, ended up learning the hard way. Every. Step. Of. The. Way.

Detail of binding

In fact, I liken my InDesign skills to that of someone who buys a fancy car and then pushes it around town because he doesn’t know how to drive it. I literally laid out the entire book–some 76 pages–about 4 different times. From scratch.

Didn’t sleep much over the past 3 days. But the tenacity has paid off; I dropped the book in the mail to my brother about an hour ago. He has no idea.

Now my only challenge is to resist the temptation to spoil the surprise!

How about you, Gentle Reader? When’s the last time you took a stab at something brand new, got frustrated but stayed with it, and ended up with something that you made with your own hands?

When’s the last time you dreamed something special into existence, imperfect though it may have been?



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2 responses to “Homemade book

  1. benny francois

    I believe the term you are looking for is “jerry built” not “jury rigged”as the
    later refers specifically to nautical equipment of a temporary nature and your construction is not intended to be temporary or set upon the sea.

  2. Nappy Birchard

    Can’t wait to hear/see what your brother thinks. Wished I had a brother like you!!

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