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Are We Our Own Worst Enemies?

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Thursday, August 20, 2009

Are We Our Own Worst Enemies?

Earlier this year, I decided to send something to the We Love Your Books show that was to take place, this time around, in Milton Keynes. I'd already been in two previous ones. Each year a theme is set (last year's turned out to be a bit problematic—I will write about that in another post). The set topic this time was "Closure." For a long while I'd had a line running in my head that I knew needed to be turned into a book, and this was the time. A friend had said to me, after I'd told him about a traumatic part of my life, that "That's the sort of's like, closure is for books. It's not for a situation like that."

Unfortunately, by the time I started acting on my impulse, the deadline was growing close, and I was in the middle of getting ready to fly out of town for a medical appointment (not a sign that things are going well...). Other deadlines were looming, mayhem was erupting (but when doesn't it?)... But I decided I just had to do this. So, in a burst of inspiration, I laid out the pages for a case-bound book in InDesign, did up the covers, bound it...The thing was, I wasn't intending for it to actually be read. What I like about We Love Your Books is the emphasis on "altered and experimental." I glued and sculpted my book so that it never closes. The pages are permanently pushed up and glued into place. But in the midst of figuring this all out and gluing and sculpting, the pages that were to function as end pages wound up crooked and not evenly placed. I could sort of fudge it—it was, after all, meant to look like an open book, and so the pages weren't going to look straight. But I was mortified. If I'd had the time, I would've done it over. I anguished over it. Maybe I shouldn't send it....but I want to be in the show... I packed it up and sent it. The book itself had been somewhat therapeutic to make, in its way. I decided, given the topic of "closure," I was going to let this one go. And so it went into the mail. If the curators gasped in disgust when they unpacked it, they just wouldn't show it. But then I'd had sender's remorse. It just wasn't good enough. I'm embarrassing myself....

And so imagine my surprise when I got an email the other day from one of the curators. A bookbinding supply place had sponsored an award for the show, and here were the two winners plus six shortlisted pieces. And I was on the shortlist. 

Are we our own worst enemies?

Pictures of the show and opening were posted online.

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