Yes, let’s picture Prince. His blue suit, the white clouds, that impish grin, big brown eyes drawing you in….
One, Two, One, two, three, four.
I was working part time in a five-and-dime. My boss was Mr. McGee. Seems that I was busy doing something close to nothing But different than the day before. That’s when I saw her, ooh, I saw her. She walked in through the out door, out door.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~
[lyrics from Prince’s Raspberry Beret]
[This is a re-post. Prince passed away five years ago, a genius lost much too soon.]
Absent-minded, I look outside, and my brain works to pair long lines, from trees, with vertical panes, from the window. I like it when they’re perfectly parallel. When I take pictures in the woods, I angle the shot so trees naturally slanted to the sun come out straight up and down in the picture. Flowers too. And within the compulsion of these mental confines falls the nuisance and distraction of utility lines. Struggling to aim up over the lines so they don’t pull your eye from the clouds, or the sun, or the trees on the horizon. Sometimes, though, lines are inescapable. Sometimes you can’t take out the lines and have the same picture.
What can you say about the woods in December? At the start of winter? It feels soothing. Muted, beige and gray. Soft, gentle on the eyes. The birds who stay the winter sound less urgent, as if life is a routine. Patches of living green scatter here and there, the ivy, the pines, the hollies. Fallen trees on the ground where they came down. No one comes out to straighten up in the woods, to pick up the leaves, to clear away the thorny bramble. It’s solid and calm. It’s tangible. It’s genuine.
There it is … the sun … at eye level. And I know it’s a race. A race I’ll lose.
It sits there aloof. Tenacious. Bigger and wider than ever, I think. Like, in your face, dear. It’s super moon size, bright white explosion size. Spanning the vertical lines of the tallest, strongest, finest, trees size. Bold, teeth clenched strong, you just try, size.
And before I can get out the door. It’s done it’s thing, and it’s saying, bye, bye. Try again next time, my dear. Not even a wink.
The sky was gray, almost white. Dismal and perfect at the same time. The air was cool and chilly, and the birds were noisy, busy doing whatever birds do in the afternoon. Fluttering around in the bushes now, not high in the trees like they were in the summer.
Every bit of my surroundings shouted (very quietly) ‘late November’.
The words we write are part of who we are. That was my motivation, I think.
I decided early this year to work on collecting my bits of writing in some sort of permanent way. Not to publish it, but to have it for myself. Also to have it for those in my life who might care to read it, and maybe keep it.
My goal was to assemble it all in a way that would make turning pages a pleasure. Something with sturdy covers, good quality paper, etc. Nice enough to wrap in tissue paper and hand to someone as a gift.
It started old school with printing copies and storing my work in a three-ring binder. Functional, but certainly not gift worthy.
Eventually, I decided to use the formatting from one of those companies that produces photo calendars, photo cards, and photo books. And chose their simplest style 8 inch by 10 inch photo book product, which includes stretchable text boxes.
I selected about 25 of my written pieces and some of my photos, and set to work. It was tedious. There was no ‘cut and paste’, so it took a lot of ‘delete and re-type’. Start overs, and of course, proofing. It was a project to make everything fit and have a sequencing and flow that made sense and looked good. I enjoy that sort of work, but it’s not something you can throw together in a couple of days.
Ta da … I completed one collection in the spring, and I just finished another for the winter. This isn’t an ad for photo companies, but their production and the paper products they use were more than I hoped for. Coffee table book quality materials, glossy pages, attractive covers, and nice binding. It optimized what I had to offer.
The costs were reasonable, and I’m happy to have a personalized keepsake to gift this Christmas.
For me, for myself, I get to leaf through the pages and feel like the words I write matter. And see that they have a little bit of permanence.