Sunday, May 13, 2007

Finishing Capacious

After my first heady experience with the Arab press, I came up hard against the limits of my inexperience and lack of knowledge. Some pretty terrible printing ensued and unfortunately these examples will be enshrined forever in The Capacious Book of Powerful Words, which is close to being bound and done.

Why? Why don't I go back and reprint those pages I am least pleased with? Why am I not more of an obsessive compulsive perfectionist? (And why do so many people seem to assume I already am beyond the pale in this department- don't they see the flaws I see?) Truth is I've decided to cut my losses and move on to the next project. Capacious was always only my printing-learner-wheels book. It embodies in its imperfections all the struggle and frustration of that damn etching press. It also embodies in its ambitions (those realised and those not) a massive transition in my life; at the centre of which is my return to passionate book-making after a year and a half in the wilderness.

Right now I don't like Capacious very much and, nose to nose with it as I bind, all I can see are its agonising defects. Ideally I would finish it, put it away for a year or two and come back to it with fresh eyes and the indulgence that adults have for the cute and clumsy creations of children.

I recently rediscovered the last serious book I made before my long dry-up. While I could still see why I hid it away for so long, the sharp shame I remembered was gone. From my current vantage I am more interested in all the ways it succeeded in manifesting my intentions than in the ways it fell short. I hope to feel that way about Capacious eventually.

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