Weem Adrift at the Rabbit Room

This last weekend was the Rabbit Room’s annual four-day feast—Hutchmoot. i brought a hundred books with for the book tables, and those that remained at the end are now in the Rabbit Room store. You can always order direct from the publisher, of course (click Weem Adrift in the menu above), but i would love for you to support the organization—ministry—family i love so much. Each purchase through their store supports their general fund, from which they birth all kinds of goodness into the world—including concerts, a podcast and blog, Hutchmoot, and over thirty books of their own. Click over to their storefront to find paperback and hardcover Jubilations, as well as paperback Budge-Nuzzards.

North Wind Manor Campaign:  As a glad inhabitant of the Rabbit Room, i am thrilled to join with them in putting down roots. The 130-year-old farmhouse that has been their base of operations for the last three years is in desperate need of renovation, and with that renovation is coming, finally, the embodied place for events and community they’ve been dreaming of since the Rabbit Room’s inception. To support this effort, prices at WeemAdrift.com are seeing a minor increase, and a corresponding portion of every purchase will go directly toward North Wind Manor’s renovations. For more on this campaign, click here or watch the video below.

Thank you, Rabbit Room, for being my place in the world.

Christmas at Weem Adrift

As of yesterday, all outstanding Weem Adrift Publishing orders have gone out and all are expected to arrive by Christmas. This makes me happy.

i love that so many of you placed orders. i love that i got to bind you books with my very own hands and then send them out into the world. i love that you will be able to hold in your hands the poems and robiderance which mean so much to me. i love knowing that some of you bought copies as gifts and soon not only you but people you love will get to unwrap them. i am still a little in awe at the idea that i get to publish A.S. Peterson. i get to hand-bind and sell my two favorite works by my favorite writer. Crazy.

My husband and i are taking a couple of weeks off to celebrate Christmas with family. There are a couple of paperback Jubilations in stock, and i’ll be binding more of everything after the New Year, but all orders placed between now and then will go out in January.

Thanks, everyone. 🙂 Merry Christmas.

I crept in an unlit night

Dear readers, Jubilations-purchasers, sojourners with me into words herein, i wanted your books to be perfect.

One thing after another has me feeling like something is preventing me from finishing the preorders. Tight hinges, slipping ruler, torn paper, printing errors. i don’t know why and i want it to stop. i just want to ship your books. i want them to be perfect, and i want them to be in the mail last week.

With this burden pressing and with a friend’s urging i left my materials on the table and went up to my prayer room. i cried out my fear and weariness and surrendered myself and this project, and in surrendering i received it back as a gift. These poems are a gift, to me and to you and even to the poet himself, as we are gifts to one another.

Your books might not be perfect. i don’t know why i’ve been having this trouble. But as i read over them again in prayer, i was reminded of the brightness of the Word unhid within, and of my need to wrestle myself down in stillness and quiet, to receive.

i am bookbinding today. Perfect or not, the binding of these books is a grace given to me that i might give it to you. i love them. And whether or not they are perfect, every book will be prayed over.

Hideously gnawed.

Jubilations released ten days ago. Preorders opened six and a half weeks ago. i started binding in advance—hardcovers, especially when the paper has to be hand-cut, take awhile—but i hit a production hitch right after release and everything ground to a halt. Now, instead of having everything shipped by the end of last week, i’m back to the drawing board, trying to figure out why my bindings are so tight and how i can recover all the work i’ve already done and fill the orders that are still waiting (almost half of them!). For a week or so i’ve been going to bed and waking up worried. People need their books. And it’s finals week—i’ve got homework hanging over me, too. But the good news is i think i’ve finally hit on what’s going wrong.

i hand-stitch all my books, hardcover and paperback, rather than relying on glue alone, but i learned early on that you can’t skip gluing them also. Sewing is what keeps the pages from coming out, and gluing is what keeps the signatures tight. So after they’re sewn, they’re clamped together and i apply glue over that stitched side and squish it into the gap between the signatures. Well. This works really well to insure that there are no gaps between signatures, but when i lay the text block down on the table and open the first page, the little line of glue that invariably ends up along that bound edge keeps the page from lying flat. Instead it has a curve to it. It’s a little pleasing curve, nice to look at. And that curve pulls on the book boards.

The solution to this seems to be that instead of positioning the back of the text block so that it’s aligned with the back edge of the cover board, i need to scoot it back a bit into the hollow spine so that the natural curve of the first page doesn’t pull. i’m reinforcing the spine as i go also, just for a bit of added stability. But i’m pretty sure that this slight repositioning means i can finally get back to binding and shipping.

Meanwhile, what happens to those copies that didn’t go together right? They took a lot of time to make. The cotton rag i’m using isn’t cheap. And the poetry is still exquisite. It’d be a waste to discard them. So i’m taking a page from Thaddeus Glapp, fixing the bindings, and then offering them on a discount as Hideously Gnawed.

Fixing them means cutting them apart, so Hideously Gnawed copies may have doubled endpapers where i sliced out the text block and pasted it back in, or if i had to cut the cover i’ll reassemble it with an extra strip of watercolor paper wrapped around the spine. They might have needed some hinge repair, in which case an extra strip of text paper will be pasted in. They’ll still be perfectly readable and they’ll still have their little hand-torn, walnut-inked J on the front. But you’ll  be able to pick up a Hideously Gnawed hardcover for what is essentially cost—materials plus the author’s cut plus about a dollar. i might, as we go along, add Hideously Gnawed paperbacks, too, if a copy’s cover paper wrinkles (as is its wont; i must watch it and weight it carefully).

Right now i’ve got to go write an essay for my Gospels & Acts class, and tomorrow morning i’ll get back to binding. If you’re one of the preorder customers whose books haven’t yet arriven, thanks for your patience. And if you don’t mind a bit of friendly gnawing, a copy in need of a home is waiting for you. 🙂

 

In the Year of Jubilation

Two years ago during Lent i discovered a poem cycle that has carved itself into my bones.

It appeared in the Rabbit Room’s first installation of their annual literary journal, the Molehill. i had been reading along, a piece here and a piece there—fiction, essay, recipe, poetry—and when i came to this particular work i could read no further. It was called “In the Year of Jubilation,” and was comprised of an introduction and fourteen poems. Somewhere in the reading of these poems i started crying. i had no idea why.

The next night i picked up the Molehill again, intending to read the next piece, but i couldn’t. i reread the Jubilations, and again i wept through them. i read those poems every night for a week. Every night the tears started at a different place, but they always started. Over the last two and a half years they have broken and healed me countless times. They inform my prayers. And i still cannot express what they mean to me or why i am crying.

This year at Hutchmoot i brought (and within a half-hour had sold) a little stack of paperback Budge-Nuzzards. i have been selling these for a couple of years now, at first by accident and now on purpose. But nustled within my sidebag i also packed a little handbound hardback of the Jubilations for the Mootmaster and Jubilations-poet, Pete. (Is it any wonder that he is my Patronus?) He marveled over it, called his wife over to see it, and then asked the question i had been hopefully and nervously wondering if he would ask: “Are you going to bind and sell these?” i fumbled through turning the question back to him. They’re his. The Budge-Nuzzard is freely available online, but the Jubilations are out of print. i wouldn’t think to sell them without his consent—but the world needs these poems. i need them. i will be needing them for a long, long while yet. And he gave me permission.

These perfect little flickers, these candle-flames, will not be lost. i am so grateful.

Coming in November from Weem Adrift Publishing

In the Year of Jubilation (from the Book of Found Verse)
by A.S. “Pete” Peterson