Making It Up


  The proper way to do a reading

 

I have friends in New York City, and I’ve spent a bit of time there off and on over the years. Enough to know it’s a very different place. I grew up in the South, after all. It’s a place unto itself, for sure, not so much a part of America as in spite of it. And so, quintessentially American. But it ain’t Kansas, Dorothy.

A friend on the west coast, a fellow writer and small boat sailor, contacted me about a new project the other day. We met through a mutual love for writing over 20 years ago, and he went on to publish one of the first online literary journals for the web, The Blue Moon Review. It’s been dark for some time now (kids, life, etc.) but he’s been writing again, and got the bug, so has decided to fire it up again as The Blue Penny Quarterly.

We think a lot alike, and I’ve offered to design and produce the digital downloadable version of it. Should be fun, with lots of experimentation and pushing the limits on things. There’s so much you can do with this medium that you can’t do with print alone. Some will fail, no doubt, and some will hopefully work in wondrous ways. It’s all part of the process.

The video above is part of the promotion for a gallery show of Letterpress Art Show opening in NYC called New York Writes Itself. (I have other friends who are practitioners of this arcane, impractical, outdated craft, and this is right up their alley.) I like the untraditional twist on the author’s reading. Hope they do more like it.

If you’re a writer with a literary bent, the submissions line is open. If you know someone who might be interested, pass it on.

 

 

 

Fairing

 A job well done.

 

(to start of project)

I once had a job digging up the bones of dead monks for room and board. The pay wasn’t great, but it was a good job, and I liked it.

On the first day, a portly, pompous Frenchman named Bernard, the foreman, lined off a big grid on the ground with string, making six foot squares separated by one foot borders. Each digger was assigned a square. The job was simple: Dig the six foot square eight feet deep. You could not, however, use a shovel. The only tool you could use to remove 288 cubic feet of dirt was a small mason’s pointing trowel, which you had to supply yourself. Furthermore, you could not dig with the point of the trowel – doing so would be grounds for immediate dismissal. Instead, you had detect and carefully scrape away slight variations in colored layers of dirt with the edge of the trowel, a thin skin of soil at a time, like peeling an onion, scoop that into a pail, then empty it onto a spoil pile 100 feet away. We had three months to finish.

Continue reading “Fairing”

Boats of Guatemala: Lake Atitlan Cayucos

Dugout Canoes on the beach at Santa Catarina

 

(to start of project)

The boats native to Lake Atitlan are the cayucos, a unique form of dugout canoe. You see these boats all over the lake, from dawn to dusk, though usually near shore where the fish are, as fishing is their primary use. Rows of them are pulled up on the beaches of every small village and town along the shore. Continue reading “Boats of Guatemala: Lake Atitlan Cayucos”

Boats of Guatemala: Lake Atitlan Launches

The Mayan crew, pounding the boat across Lake Atitlan, just ahead of a storm.

 

(to start of project)

I’ve started on the toe rails, and hope to have progress to report soon, once I get it figured out.

In the meantime, here’s some boat related reporting from our trip to Guatemala. Coming from such a car-centric culture, the widespread use of boats for transportation there was fascinating; not only the extent of it, but the types and their construction, as well. Continue reading “Boats of Guatemala: Lake Atitlan Launches”

Batteaux

 Batteau Anchor and Sweep Oarlock

 

(to start of project)

Scottsville is over 150 miles from the coast. The western horizon is rumpled by the Blue Ridge and, beyond that, the Alleghenies. It’s a small town of about 500 people, give or take, situated in horse country at the northern edge of what was historically a tobacco growing region. Not exactly the kind of place you’d expect to find a hot bed of traditional boat building. Continue reading “Batteaux”