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. 🙂

Release Day: Jubilations

Since announcing the upcoming release of In the Year of Jubilation i’ve been caught up in a flurry of learning, coordinating, stitching, binding. Now the first orders have been shipped and i can gratefully say that Jubilations is officially back in print. 🙂 Thanks to a thrilling number of preorders and the usual vagaries of handbinding, they’re not all in the mail yet, but the next few days will see me back at the post office repeatedly and they’ll all be out by the end of the week. 🙂

Here’s a view into the last month’s work, and a poem to tease you into purchasing, and a link to Goodreads (which is how you really know it’s official!).


To order: Weem Adrift Publishing

On Goodreads: In the Year of Jubilation

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

Henry and the Chalk Dragon (a review)

Henry and the Chalk Dragon cover large
Henry and the Chalk Dragon, by Jennifer Trafton (Rabbit Room Press, 2017).

i am not an impartial reviewer of this book. i’ve been agonizing over this, because i want to write a review worthy of the book itself, but the truth is that i adore Jennifer Trafton. She makes me want to be brave, and sometimes, with her whispered kindnesses in my heart, i can be.

Be brave. Be brave. Be brave, says Henry’s chivalry. It’s hard for him to be brave, too. He is a knight, but he is also an Artist, you see, and his wild imagination is hard to contain, and just as hard to let out. When he tries to draw nice brown bunnies calmly eating lettuce, the Work of Art inside him aches to draw bunnies that jump so high they tear holes in the clouds and land on Mars, or a rocket-powered bunny with laser eyes. His teacher and principal don’t know what to do with him. He has one best friend, but is afraid the other kids won’t understand—even his best friend doesn’t always. So when one day he draws a magnificent jungle-green dragon on the back of his blackboard-painted door and it runs away, Henry is more worried than anything, even though his dragon thrills him. Suddenly, the Work of Art he has been hiding is out in the world for everyone to see.

i don’t know what i love best about this book—the chivalry, which is often funny (“Don’t feed girls to dragons”) and often cuts right to my own fears as an Artist; the golden trumpets of Jade’s bardic songs; the way Henry’s conflict with his best friend, and his dragon, and his Art, and his principal, all collide and swirl toward and past and around each other to resolve into beauty (the one moment with his dragon—oh! i might cry right now); Oscar and his pet octagon; their wonderful teacher Miss Pimpernel with her beaver-teeth hair (she was a superhero, you know)… i could go on for days.

My copy of this book has already been colored in. i couldn’t help it. After reading Henry, the colors won’t hold still. i am going to stop writing and go back to coloring—and then later today, i am going to go back to my own writing. Because when i am tempted to think i can’t, Henry’s chivalry tells me Tie your shoelaces.

Illustration by Benjamin Schipper. Coloring by me and Henry.
Henry and the Chalk Dragon releases April 4. You can preorder at the Rabbit Room—preorders come signed, and with two free coloring pages (but i do definitely recommend coloring in your book!).

Jennifer is also the author of The Rise and Fall of Mount Majestic. At last count i had bought twenty copies of this book so far. i love it with my whole heart. You should read that one, too.

Heresy Revealed: The Capstone Paper

This spring semester i had the hilarious and deeply satisfying experience of writing heresy—Budge-Nuzzard fanfic in biblical Hebrew—for seminary credit. It was an immensely engaging and creative endeavor, and i took no end of pleasure in offhandedly mentioning “my heresy” in my advanced Hebrew exegesis class and citing Thaddeus Glapp in the biography of my capstone paper. It’s crazy to think that i was permitted to get away with this nonsense. Classical Hebrew spec-fic? Inventing words in a dead language? Graduate-level Budge-Nuzzard scholarship? Weench midrash? Gosh. i am the luckiest nerd alive.

Those of you who’ve somehow stumbled through a wormhole and into this website may already have fallen victim to The Yaunsi Heresy. If you haven’t, you’re about to. The attachment that follows contains the complete text of that heresy—with commentary, on both my work and the Budge-Nuzzard. (It isn’t all heresy. The first half of the paper teases an entire semester’s study on Hebrew narrative style and literary devices.)

Enough piffle and blather! With very great thanks to Deirdre Brouer, Hélène Dallaire, Thaddeus Glapp, and A.S. Peterson, i present to you:

Narrative Criticism in the Hebrew Bible: Capstone report

The Yaunsi Heresy is a new work of fiction in classical Hebrew based on A.S. Peterson’s lobidious tale of the Budge-Nuzzard. It will be published in serial. Click “Yaunsi Heresy” above to read from the beginning—or to hear the story read to you. 🙂

Yaunsi 18: Hello

וַיּאׁמֶר יָעוּנְסִי בְּלִבּוֹ אֲבָל זֶה הַבֻּד־נֻזָּרָד : וַיִּקְשֹׁר לָגֶשֶׁת לָאִשָּׁה כִּי אִוָּה אִתָּהּ לְדַבֵּר : וַיּאׁמֶר אֶל־הָאִשָּׁה שָׁלוֹם וַתַּרְאֵהוּ וְהִנֵּה עֵינֵיהָ יָפָה : וַתּאׁמֶר לוֹ שָׁלוֹם : ס

Yaunsi said in his heart, “Surely this is the Budge-Nuzzard!” And he conspired to draw near to the woman, for he desired her to speak. He said to the woman, “Hello.” She looked at him, and behold, her eyes were beautiful. She said to him, “Hello.”

The Yaunsi Heresy is a new work of fiction in classical Hebrew based on A.S. Peterson’s lobidious tale of the Budge-Nuzzard. It will be published in serial. Click “Yaunsi Heresy” above to read from the beginning.

Yaunsi 17: Arrival

וַיְהִי כְּבוֹא יָעוּנְסִי בְּעִיר הָאִישׁ וַיֵּשֶׁב בִּבְאֵר כִּי יָמֵצ : וַיָּרֶם אֶת־עֵינָיו וַיָּרְא בַּבְּאֵר אִשָּׁה וְהִנֵּה הִיא יְפַת־תֹאַר וִיפַת מַרְאֶה : וַתֹּמֶר אֶל־הָאִישׁ שֹׁאֵב אֵת־הַמִַּים לֵאמֹר מַה תַּחְשֹׁב כִּי הָאִישׁ הַנּוֹדַע־לִי קָנָה־לוֹ נֶכֶד־רֶשַׁע : וַיּאמֶׁר הַשֹׁאֵב שָׁמַיִם טוֹבִים : פ

When Yaunsi had come to the city of the man, he sat at a well, for he was thirsty. He lifted up his eyes and saw at the well a woman, and behold, she was beautiful of form and beautiful of appearance.

She said to the man drawing water, “What do you think? The man known to me has gotten himself a wicked progeny!” The drawer said, “Good heavens!”

The Yaunsi Heresy is a new work of fiction in classical Hebrew based on A.S. Peterson’s lobidious tale of the Budge-Nuzzard. It will be published in serial. Click “Yaunsi Heresy” above to read from the beginning.

Yaunsi 16: Hanging around

וַיֵּשֶׁב יָעוּנְסִי מְסַחֲרוֹתָיו שְׁבוּעַ אֶחַד יָמִים וְהָאִישׁ לֹא יָצַא מִבֵּיתוֹ : וַיִּתְמַהְמַהּ יָעוּנְסִי שְׁלֹשֶׁת יָמִים וַיִּתְמַהְמַהּ שְׁנֵי יָמִים וַיִּתְמַהְמַהּ יוֹם אֶהַד גַּם וְאַז לֹא־יוּכַל לְהִתְמַהְמֵהַּ עוֹד : וַיֵּצֵא : פ

Yaunsi dwelt in his mercantile for one week of days, but the Man did not go out from his house. Yaunsi hung around three days, then he hung around two days, then he hung around one day more, and then he could hang around no longer. He set out.

The Yaunsi Heresy is a new work of fiction in classical Hebrew based on A.S. Peterson’s lobidious tale of the Budge-Nuzzard. It will be published in serial. Click “Yaunsi Heresy” above to read from the beginning.

Yaunsi 15: Gloating

וַיִּצְחַק בְּצֵאתוֹ : וַיּאׂמֶר הוּא תַּם וִיםִי כְּסִיל כְּסִיל לָרִיב בְּפָן כָמוֹנִי : וַיָּבֹא אֶל־מְסַחֲרוֹתָיו וַיְחַךְ לִרְאוֹת מַה־יֵּעָשֶׂה : ס


He laughed when he had gone out. Then he said, “It is done! Foolish Weem! Foolish to contend with such a Pan as i!” Then he went to his mercantile and waited to see what would happen.

The Yaunsi Heresy is a new work of fiction in classical Hebrew based on A.S. Peterson’s lobidious tale of the Budge-Nuzzard. It will be published in serial. Click “Yaunsi Heresy” above to read from the beginning.

Yaunsi 14: Verily!

וַיָּסֶר יָעוּנְסִי אֶת־שִׁנּוֹ מֵאִישׁ מִוִּים־תִי : וַיָּסֶר אֶת־כֹסֵה־רֹאשׁוֹ וְתַחְתָּיו רְבוּעַ־בָּד : וַיְמַלֵּט אֶת־הָרֶגֶל מִפִּיהוּ וְהוֹבִישׁ אֹתוֹ : וַיּאׂמֶר יָעוּנְסִי לָאִישׁ אֲבָל וְאֶל־עֲנָן־חֹשֶׁךְ וַיָּפָס וַיָּסָר : פ

Yaunsi removed his teeth from the Man from Vim-Ti. He removed his head-covering, and under it was a square of linen. He let slip the foot from his mouth and dried it. Then Yaunsi said to the man, “Verily!” and in a cloud of darkness he vanished and departed.

The Yaunsi Heresy is a new work of fiction in classical Hebrew based on A.S. Peterson’s lobidious tale of the Budge-Nuzzard. It will be published in serial. Click “Yaunsi Heresy” above to read from the beginning.