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1000 Black Lines

:: digital coffee stains on the paper of the blogosphere ::

Designing, publishing, printing... [part 4]

hotel room
Book-- One thing I don't like about business trips is the lack of family. After a great day of business meetings and developing new relationships I rest in a quiet, lonely room. I'm used to the clamor of children and wife. The hotel room, with its modest luxury, offers nothing like the comfort of home.

The iBook stores work I need to do in these hours before my return flight. I forgot my Ethernet cable and had to borrow one from the front desk. Once online and accessing emails and sending reports I realize I could really use a snack or something. To my surprise, I realize its 11 PM and the only thing available is the snack machine which ask $1.50 for a soda pop and $.75 for a bag of nacho chips. I should have packed a healthy more affordable alternative.

press floor samples
On the hotel room desk I spread out an unbound copy of the book I've been developing during the first quarter of this year. I wonder if people will like this book as much as I do. The business associate I am traveling with told me of a book he really enjoys reading and rereading, Come Spring by Ben Ames Williams. It sounds like a book I would like to read. There are so many books available to Americans that I wonder if the book on this hotel desk will get lost in the shuffle.

I hope the book becomes a cherished gift that people love to share with each other. I hope this for the sake of the author and for the sake of generations of readers. Did I do everything I know possible to introduce the book to the public in a manner that will be well received, I ask myself as I try to fall asleep in a bed that is not my own. Only time will tell.

PART: [1] [2] [3]

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Tractor breaking the soil for planting

New prose at Write Stuff: Breaking New Ground.

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Fine dining at The Common Grill

Supper at The Common Grill provided a fantastic culinary experience. By evidence of a couple tables with smartly dressed adolescents it was prom night. The Common Grill clearly attracts an affluent crowd--at least a dozen men wore blazers or sports jackets.

For an appetizer I chose the Firecracker Shrimp with Hong Kong Salsa. The jumbo shrimp was lightly coated in a chili powder sauce on top of a salad/salsa mix that proved to be quite a nice start to the meal. At the advice of the waitress I used the Hong Kong Salsa, which was in a small metal cup off to the side, to dip the complimentary bread pieces.

I noticed Leinenkugal Red was on tap and ordered a pint of that. Leine Red is only available in expensive brown bottles in Asheville. So, this was a fine treat to have it on tap.

The entree was The Common Grill's Oven Roasted Chicken Breasts. The dish is stuffed with goat cheese, sun dried tomatoes and something else of a citrusy persuasion. A sprig of rosemary garnished the plate that included white cheddar mashed potatoes and honey glazed carrots. The entree's delicious feast provided a rich yet modest meal.

Since I'm not in the habit of eating out often, the meal satisfied me with no room left for The Common Grill's dessert selections. Maybe next time I visit I'll skip the appetizer.

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Designing, publishing, printing... [part 3]

Book-- I am sitting in a hotel in the Upper Midwest with an unassembled sample of the book I have developed over the last four or five months. The unassembled sample looks like fresh puzzle pieces that I don't know how to join.

The company that is manufacturing the book provided a tour of their plant this afternoon--very impressive operation. There were so many interesting books being printed, folded, cut, bound and packed.

The text pages were printed early and I have three folded and cut signature samples. Each signature represents 48 pages. The final manuscript includes 144 pages. A bale of neatly collected signatures rested upon two palettes waiting for their covers. The cover (hardcover or casebound) will be applied later.

In the bindery portion of the plant I say a sign which read that 27,000 books were bound in 8 hours. This book company is a small operation, but the efficiency with which they manufacture books is fantastic.

I'm off to supper. I'm told The Common Grill is a great place to eat.

PART: [1] [2]

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Blind Date with Poetry

Malaprop's Bookstore/Cafe
April 27, 6:30 PM

free to the public.

Blind Date with Poetry with host Matt Moon and featuring poet is Cynie Cory.

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The Sun always shines above the clouds

I'm not sure if I'm courageous or stupid. I submitted a personal essay to The Sun's Readers Write this week. I figured that it's a submission to the Readers Write section which is sort of like a letter to the editor. If my personal essay is rejected it won't hurt as bad as if I had submitted a "real" essay. Does that make sense?

The topic was Nine to Five. The content of the essay relates observations of how graphic designers are undervalued by their internal clients. There is a common misconception that anyone with a computer and some design software is a graphic designer. In the essay I explore some of these ideas in a very personal essay. It's my first essay I've submitted to The Sun.

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Designing, publishing, printing... [part 2]

Book-- A couple weeks ago I mentioned that the first print ad for a book project I'm introducing were placed in a national magazine.

The strategy was to place two "teaser" advertisments in a magazine to create reader anticipation. The ads announced that a book by a certain writer would be available "soon" and in "May 2006."

The third ad was released last weekend and included a 800 number to pre-order the book. Consider that the national magazine that carries the ad takes three to four days to make it to subscribers' mailboxes. Now consider that it may be a day or two before people read the ad and respond. That being said, I didn't expect any book sales until next week. However, as of last night, a dozen books have been sold already.

I know. Not exactly a bestseller book. More exciting is the fact that these are pre-orders (i.e. the book hasn't been printed yet). I'll be visiting the plant which will produce the books later this week.

Magazine-- Yesterday I had a meeting at West End Bakery with a local magazine publisher. The magazine will focus on Asheville's "cuisine, entertainment & lifestyle." The publisher is really excited about the sample comps I've designed and said I could begin promoting the magazine here on 1000 Black Lines.

The design work isn't complete yet. So, I'll start with this: the fonts used in the magazine come from the fantastic folks at T.26 Digital Type Foundry and the photos from photographer Chris Chromey.

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Reading by candlelight

New prose at Write Stuff: When The Lights Go Out.

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One cup of coffee before I go

As I mentioned earlier, one of the things I gave up for Lent was coffee. Today I had my first cup in over 40 days. It was good, dark, smooth and bitter. After living without it for Lent, it wasn't great like I thought it would be. Need revealed itself as a desire. This is just one unexpected result to participating in Lent. Other things I learned during this period of 40 days I may reveal at a different time. For now I plan to enjoy a beautiful day here in the mountains.

April showers and birthdays

It is the birthday of writer and naturalist John Muir. From the first chapter of Steep Trails: "Azure skies and crystal waters find loving recognition, and few there be who would welcome the axe among mountain pines, or would care to apply any correction to the tones and costumes of mountain waterfalls."

Michael Timmons
[photo source]
Today is the birthday of Michael Timmons, guitarist for Cowboy Junkies. From his song "200 More Miles": "That I've got 200 more miles of rain asphalt in line/ before I sleep/ But there'll be no warm sheets or welcoming arms/ to fall into tonight

They say that I am crazy/ my life wasting on this road/ that time will find my dreams/ scared or dead and cold

But I heard there is a light/ drawing me to reach an end/ and when I reach there, I'll turn back/ and you and I can begin again"

On a cool, rainy April morning I blanket myself in their words. I reflect upon the poetry reading in which I participated last Wednesday night and wish I had half the talent as these two fine craftsmen of letters. Maybe if I wrap their words around myself tighter the inspiration will soak into my body and course through my blood.

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Do I look stupid?

Divine wrote an great post on the KISS Method of writing. It important to write concisely and clearly. Show your readers you respect their valuable time and articulate your message quickly.

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Do you love dictionaries?

Discovered this list here.
- Do you read poetry on a regular basis (and we don’t mean your own!)?

- Do you ever study the mechanics of poetry? (We don’t care whether you’re perfectly conversant with all of the technical terms, but would you at least recognize and understand words like “verse,” “stanza,” “meter,” “metaphor,” “simile,” “alliteration,” “end-,” “slant-” and “perfect-rhyme?” The difference between a poem and a ditty?)

- Do you know what kind of verse you want to write? (“formal,” “free,” “blank,” “prose poetry”)?

- Do you understand that good poetry is only in part a function of inspiration? That it’s much more about craft – about practicing, making mistakes, recognizing why something is a mistake and not making the same mistake over and over again?

- Can you take criticism of your poetry, direction, failure, and repeated rejection? Can you work for long periods in silence and isolation – and with little more reward than your own sense of satisfaction?

- Do you love dictionaries and hate clichés – and both with a passion?

I answered yes to all the questions.

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Three books, three reviews with take away points, and one book I may not finish and why

[ 1 ]

Road to Reality
The first book, Road to Reality by Melvin Tinker, is a small book that I got at a book give-away last fall and have been casually reading it. The subtitle says it all, Finding Meaning in A Meaningless World.

A few weeks ago I decided to finish reading this book in part due to a community tragedy and part due to getting through some tough issues of my own. Melvin Tinker reveals an astute understanding of modern society and addresses the heart of religion and philosophy: where did I come from (origins) and who am I (identity)? In nine chapters, the book presents a road map to understanding reality. He begins in the preface with this:
"[T]he sense of lostness [permeates] the lives of many people living in the post-modern West. Listen to these words of a fourteen year old: 'Why am I here? What have I done ... Who cares for me? I am me. I suffer because I am me. Why do I live? For love, for happiness? ... I hate this world. I hate my parents and my home--though why, I don't know. I searched for truth but I only found uncertainty ... Where can I find happiness? I don't know. Perhaps I shall never know.' ... Plutarch wrote: 'The soul is in exile and a wanderer.'"

Often I find myself going from day to day on autopilot. The routine of life provides a way to cope with "what" is going on around me, but never addresses the "why." Most people don't want to know why unless there is a tragedy. And even then, they really don't want to know why tragedy happened they just want to blame someone for it. Road to Reality provides a different perspective on "why" by addressing the search for meaning, origins, identity, order, forgiveness, goodness, life, mercy and future. I've reread several chapters and plan to read it again when time allows.

My take away: This is a very well written, concise, smart exposition of a Christian worldview. If you don't know what that means--read Road to Reality.

[ 2 ]

Marked for Life
I read Marked for Life by Crystal Woodman Miller in a day. It's a roller coaster ride of a book. Crystal is a survivor of the Columbine massacre (April 20, 1999). The book begins with her narrative of touring Beslen School No. 1--the school where more than 30 terrorists were responsible for the death of 330 people. As a survivor of the Columbine shootings she is aware that there are Columbines everywhere. The majority of Marked for Life relates the horror she experienced of being in the library that tragic day (the library was the scene where the most students were shot) and how she traveled through those dark days, months and years of coping, dealing and living with the pain and suffering of that event.

Two chapters that really got me (almost to tears) was the chapter, which recreated that day in April, which found her under a library desk praying for her life and one of the last chapters in the book where she had joined a team sent to Indonesia to help recovery efforts after the tsunami. From being a victim of an American tragedy to helping victims of tragedies across the globe, Crystal's book is a powerful story. The "issue is this," she writes. "We can't just move on, because each one of us has aftershocks from our own bouts with suffering ... I've chosen to invest myself in serving the world around me."

Marked for Life is written in a conversational tone and could be disregarded as a feel-good inspirational book. However, it intimately details the anatomy of grief and suffering that really challenges the reader to dig deeper into the reality of pain--whether it is your own or someone you love.

My take away: Often what someone in pain is not telling you what is hurts them the most. But there is hope.

[ 3 ]

I have risen early today. Far in the distance, a faint glow paints the horizon. Dawn is coming, gently and full of prayer.

Small Graces
Small Graces by Kent Nerburn resonates with me on many levels. First, after reading chapters The Gift of the Dawn and The Eloquence of Silence I realized he writes from a portion of America that I claim as my homeland--the Upper Midwest (specifically Minnesota). Writers from that region seem to tie their literature and lives to the land where they live. Maybe it's the solitude or the long winters that bring out such meditations. Second, he is very knowledgeable in the ways of the native culture. Since my youth I studied native culture around me--Chippewa, Ojibway and Sauk and Fox. I have abandoned that study over the last decade for reasons I will not relate here. But as I read Small Graces, I realized I deeply miss the Northern woodlands that rest at the edge of the prairie.

Kent Nerburn writes prose as meditations and observations. One Amazon.com reviewer said it this way: "It is so unassuming and poetic." Each chapter is a lyrical journey through various themes: awakenings, passages, gatherings and departures.

I borrowed a copy from the library and I just may have to go out an buy myself a copy because I really like this book. And yet in some respects I don't like this book. Much like my review of Blue Like Jazz, Kent Nerburn beat me to it and therefore I question whether or not my own writings have a marketplace. Much of my essays, which have been published, have a lyrical quality that is present in Small Graces. Though I have never read Kent Nerburn's work before, I will probably search out his other books.

My take away: Don't let the small moments of the day escape. They are a gift.

[ 4 ]

Okay, so the book I'm not sure I want to finish reading is Wild at Heart by John Eldredge. I put the book down after the first 30 pages because of his nauseating writings. Clearly he has a personal agenda--American men are wimps and need to be "dangerous." WTH!? John Eldredge presents a nonfiction book that takes his agenda and injects it into the Holy Scriptures as a way to validate his premise. Okay, that my be harsh which means I may have to force myself to read the rest of the book in hope that it gets better and not worse.

My take away so far: The book might work better if presented as a personal memoir of how the author approaches his own masculine identity.

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Party at Malaprop's -- be there

Malaprop's Bookstore/Cafe
April 19, 6:30 PM

free to the public.

Poets will be reading poems from their collections.

6:30 - Matthew Mulder
7:00 - Megan Hislop
7:30 - Walter Dinteman
8:00 - Pasckie Pascua

If you heard 103.5 FM WPVM's Word Play broadcast this morning at 7 AM, you would have heard them announce tonight's event! Woo hoo! Thanks for supporting local poets WPVM!

Last night I rehearsed the poems I plan to read tonight. The selection includes published and unpublished work as well as a few poems from Late Night Writing. Since I have a 30-minute spot I chose 12 poems arranged around two primary themes: journey and perceptions of reality. If I have extra time I'll read a serial poem tentatively called "Elements of Design." I debuted selections of this collection last year and have added quite a bit to it since then.

The first part of my reading will include six poems about life's many journeys--both internal and external. It is my belief that one may experience spiritual journeys without out physically traveling abroad. Finding contentment and understanding the nature of truth through common, shared knowledge and revelation allows the soul to return home to establish a personal sanctuary.

The second part of the reading includes four new poems--two recently published this year and two unpublished. These poems explore the perception of reality. What one may view is often a distraction from reality. As a visual artist who daily examines the details of visual language (i.e. colors, symbols, graphic design in general) I challenge that communication. Delving into that idea I focus each poem around an enduring image and then question that image and idea.

If I have time, I'll read "Elements of Design." It's a serial poem that takes a list of art composition terms like value, line, proportion, harmony, color, balance, etc. and juxtapose those elements of visual composition with an artist's relationship people in his life (girlfriend, other artists, critics).

If you plan to attend, come early as parking downtown can be a bit tricky. Hope to see you tonight.

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Ani Difranco is hot

Ani DiFranco
[photo source]
A couple months ago I reviewed several books [here]. One of those books was book by this fella. Anyway, looks like some "former president of a seminary" got really frosted by the book and author and has some harsh criticism. Donald Miller defends himself and his book, Blue Like Jazz, here.

I'm really starting to like Donald--especially when he responds to a former seminary president's angst. Donald mentions in Blue Like Jazz that Ani DiFranco is hot and the former seminary president claims this endorses a "lesbian lifestyle." Donald Miller responds: "Ani Difranco is hot. How could he say that Ani Difranco isn’t hot? But I have a question ... can cats be lesbians? ‘Cause my friend Todd has a cat and I think it likes other girl cats."

So, I have more book reviews coming up later this week. Four more books ... sort of ... with my take on the books.

Listening to Neko Case singing "I know what I like, I like the way you love me strong ... " on All Songs Considered while I write this post.

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See you at Malaprop's

Malaprop's Bookstore/Cafe

Wednesday, April 19, 6:30 PM
free to the public.

Poets will be reading poems from their collections.
6:30 - Matthew Mulder
7:00 - Megan Hislop
7:30 - Walter Dinteman
8:00 - Pasckie Pascua


I'll be reading selections form Late Night Writing as well as uncollected, published poems. I was planning to debut new unpublished work, but I haven't decided if I want to read them publically yet.


Last night
I heard


for the
first time
this Spring.

Write Stuff

Every week I write an article for Write Stuff. This Sunday I posted The Poetry Keeps Coming.

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What Artist Should Paint Your Portrait?

Who Should Paint You: Salvador Dali

You're a complex, intense creature who displays many layers. There's no way a traditional portrait could ever capture you!

This is funny ... to me anyway. I've always admired Dali from distance, but never considered his work inspirational to my own art. Jackson Pollock has always inspired me. A portrait by Pollock would definately be unique in all the world.

Artist Jackson Pollock in his Studio, 1950, photograph. (source)

Hat tip to EM for the quiz.

Designing, publishing, printing...

Book publishing--Recently, I cryptically posted that I am working on someone's manuscript. The book is a collection of 30 previously published essays. I will not reveal the author nor publishing company, but I am excited to see the first print advertisment in a national magazine.

There is a sense of excitement among the customer service staff who anticipate orders as early as this week. My job includes planning the project, producing the physical product (book design), promoting the book, implementing distribution and book introduction. I'll be visiting the place where the book is scheduled to be printed and bound in a few weeks. The book will be released in May.

Magazine publishing--I'm developing design comps for a magazine publisher. I'm excited about this project because there's already a lot of buzz about the magazine in some circles. I showed the publisher three cover designs, three spreads and discussed branding this morning at City Bakery. The publisher is very excited about the direction this project is going. It may be too early to say this, but the magazine is going to be hot!

Thoughts about Lent

Yesterday was Palm Sunday according to the liturgical year. Jane offers her thoughts on Lent and some Lent lessons.

I have my own thoughts about Lent which I may share after Easter Sunday.

Reading Write Stuff

Every week I write an article for Write Stuff. This Sunday I posted Under the Holly. Every Sunday I'll contribute an article.

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Notes from last night's Fresh Air Reading Series

Last night was my first time attending the Fresh Air Reading Series at the New French Bar

As always, I had my composition book with me and wrote the following notes during the readings:
Mara Simmons--her series of poems reflect a serious study of the Israeli/Palestinian conflict. Each poem exhibits much research and passion ... bringing humanity to news stories which desensitize Americans. The theme is well born out through references in Hebrew and Arabic and native plants and streets. Really inspired by her theme-based poems.

Jeff Davis--the elder poet with long gray hair and soft voice at time almost a whisper ... brings a melancholy maturity to the round-robin reading. He offers love poems and poems heavy with nostalgia ... he is taller than the other poets and needs to re-adjust the microphone and still he leans down into the foam covered device as if praying ... his water poems are most excellent.

Kathy Godfrey--a bawdy poet with spunky, sensual, sensational poems. From what I overheard among the crowd, she teaches poetry at ABTech and many in the audience were her students ... ethical question ... should a teacher read a graphic poem about masturbation in front of her students ... among other poetic subjects include green beans, Tough Man contests

Autumn Choi--slam poet ... holds her own ... confessional style presentation. Sort of romanticizes the school-of-hard-knocks subject matters ... works well in this vehicle of drama.

I left immediately after the readings. I guess that was a bit impolite on my part for several people were in attendance that I knew. But I needed to get away--to think. I walked for several blocks pondering the poems and poets I heard Wednesday night. Why do I write what I write? Do I have what it takes to write poetry on the level of these local poets? Do I have the commitment to follow through with what I've started? Or am I merely dabbling in something, which I should leave to professional wordsmiths?

Some of this wondering is directly related to last weekend's event. Saturday afternoon I found myself at Barley's sitting across the from a local writer who has received well-deserved accolades for her work. Other local poets were in attendance with comparable merit and distinction. And there was me feeling very much like an outsider or poser.

After reading last night's notes again at morning light it is apparent that I am partial to poems with academic/intellectual substance. Not to disqualify the other poets mind you. Annie Dillard writes: "The writer ... is careful of what he learns, because that is what he will know." I know what kind of poetry I want to produce. So, I favor and enjoy hearing from poets who seem to exhibit attributes of what I'd like to write in verse.

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N A Sonje event poster

I designed this N A Sonje event poster a few weeks ago.

What kind of learner are you?

[listening to Fishbone's Party at Ground Zero on Radio Wazee. Nothing like a blaring ska horns to blow the cobwebs out of my brain in the AM]

Yes another quiz.

You are a Visual Learner. You like to see things for yourself, read the directions, and study the diagrams. You learn well through reading, and seeing pictures, models, and visual demonstrations. You notice minute details and are fascinated by the intricacies of the world around you.
Visit my Blog: Guilt-Free Homeschooling
Take this quiz!

Got Poetcast?

The Academy of American Poets released its first Poetcast over the weekend. From what I understand, the Academy will be podcasting selections from their Poetry Audio Archives throughout the month of April.

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I've been tagged by Huw with a Bible Meme. Actually, I think this is the first time I've every done one of these meme things.

1. How many bibles are in your home?
I have no idea. At least as many as Huw.

2. What rooms are they in?
Living room, bedroom and kitchen. Pretty much anywhere I have books

3. What translations do you have?
New Living Translation, Oxford's King James Version, Catholic New Testament polyglot (which includes eight translations), The Message, English Standard Version and Die Heilige Schrift (commonly called Luther Bibel).

4. Do you have a preference?
Not really. I'm rather fond of Die Heilige Schrift only because it challenges my reader comprehension von Deutsch. Recently I've been reading the book of James in both New Living Translation and English Standard Version.

5. Nominate an interesting verse:
Like Huw, I'll pick something from James as well.
Referring to the Churh, Saint James writes: "You adulterous people!"

So I guess I'm supposed to tag some bloggas... I chose Dismarum, Jeremy and Joy.

Read the Write Stuff?

By invitation, I've begun contributing to Write Stuff. I'll post new articles every Sunday. Here's my first piece: Below an Oak Tree.

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Join Poem-a-day

If you haven't signed up for Poem-a-day which celebrates national poetry month, then head on over there sign up. They, The Academy of American Poets, will email you a poem a day through the entire month of April. I've already received two great poems -- one by Louise Glück and the other by Joshua Beckman.

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It's national poetry month and I have a new poem published

The Rapid River just published a poem I wrote. It is featured in the April 2006 issue. I guess I'm on a roll. I think the poetry editor has published four or five of my poems in the last eight months. Furthermore, I have been invited to read some of those poems at a best of Rapid River poetry reading on June 22nd at Malaprop's Bookstore/Café. Details are pending, but it looks like six local poets will be reading their work that evening. I'll update the new EVENTS section (located in the left column) as information is available. Regarding the published poem, Values: II--it is part of a series of poems I'm tentatively calling Elements of Design. Surprisingly it stands well on its own, but I have a hard time reading it without knowing its sibling poems.

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