I’ve held out on you. Stable Relation wasn’t really my first book …now that I think about it.
The memory that came back to me at that special time in the afternoon, between two and three p.m. Some call it tea time and some, nap time. I call it the-night-of-the-living-dead time because I’m a very early riser and my IQ starts to drop about then.
So, I was blindly folding laundry and thinking about this next book, Horse Prayers, because the interior is complicated. That’s when I remembered why photo layout challenges felt familiar.
I don’t like to brag but I was the editor of my high school yearbook. Yes, I was that girl. And no, we were not the cool kids.
Instead, we were weird kids, before the geek moniker entered our vocabularies. There is a distinct advantage to high school weirdness, in hindsight. You could move under the radar. So, we broke rules. We were artistic. We were political. We were given time during morning announcements to sell the yearbook but instead, we did parodies of Firesign Theater (and sold out, without ever mentioning yearbooks.) In other words, we were weird kids who were never going to be cool, but we knew it and that made us a different kind of cool. Or that’s what we told ourselves while everyone else was dating.
Which brings me to the photo layouts in the new book, not one football player anywhere. Amen to that, (not that I would say no to a marching band.) When my friend found out I was working a poetry book, she suggested it be a mini-coffee table book. I usually keep books like that in my bathroom, so I liked the name right away. And this friend was my friend back when I was the yearbook editor, forty-six years ago, so why not?
Here’s why not: In the book world, Amazon is the Man and the Man doesn’t print color. Could a poetry book with photos be made remotely available to people? The process is more complicated, which means it costs me more money, but the answer is a resounding, “I think so.” So, I came up with a plan and my designer said sure. The cover is amazing. I’ll show it off soon.
Then last week, I stopped at a brick and mortar bookstore, don’t tell the Man, to look at other mini-coffee table books. I didn’t find any. Instead, I found some beautiful slim paperbacks, poems nestled in the middle of the page, small enough to fit in a pocket. Precious, and I thought of my worn-out tiny volume of Edna St. Vincent Millay sonnets. Now that’s a book of poetry. Yikes.
Tell Mary Oliver not to worry. I’m still not one of the cool kids.
THIS WEEK: For new readers, I started this blog to have a place to talk about books and writing, separately from the place I continue to write the horse stuff at annablakeblog.com. Things have stayed in neat piles exactly like they do in my underwear drawer.
Horse Prayers, Poems from the Prairie! I’m done editing, re-editing, sorting photos, and then editing some more. Done!
Cue the Rocky theme, I’m leaping from one foot to another, both fists raised above my head, my muscles glistening with oil, my six-pack…
I lied. That isn’t how it went at all. It was Monday at the-night-of-the-living-dead time. I’d been tweaking punctuation for days. Fiddling words. Cutting deeper. I’d been fighting with software, trying to compile the manuscript into Word without losing my margins. Then editing it some more in Word. That’s writer-talk for floundering.
Finally, my glazed eye-balls dispassionately watched my finger move to click the send button. I slumped back, three black teas to the wind and still mashed. Or something. In this sterling moment of accomplishment, the dogs didn’t even wake up. Photographic proof.
Other news: I’ll be on the road, traveling to Washington state and Alaska in May, and then off to Scotland, England, and Sweden in June and July. I’ll be giving horse clinics, writing more ironic travel blogs, and there are three writing workshops woven in. I’m really looking forward to sharing time with writers. See the schedule and join us if you can. Or contact me for a clinic or workshop at your place.
And sometime in the middle of the travel, Horse Prayers will launch. I’ll let you know. I’ll even wake up the dogs for that.