December 10, 2014 § Leave a comment


Listening to the rain, Clara brushed the day’s work from her hair. She 
surveyed the house again, looking for anything left undone. Baxter,
the old spaniel trailed her, restive.

She bathed.
Dressed with measure.
Heated a brandy.

“Time to go now,” she said, turning off lights.

By midnight the river was in the parlor.

collaborating and the art of it

December 1, 2014 § 2 Comments

In one of the many conversations about her (Lindy Low Le Coq) illuminating the V, I said she could spread out all over the page, that I didn’t care if it migrated into what might otherwise seem like the margin or the binding space, which is in fact what I meant,

b u t not e x a c t l y as it turned out since I didn’t want to poke a stitching hole into some very important part of her drawing, as if it were some kind of mistake, or disrespect, or not knowing what the hell I was, (or she was, or we were,) doing

and as the magic of it would be, the serif on the V was smack right kiss my ass exactly where the top hole was supposed to go, ack! or so it seemed at first glance, as in wrong,

until I realized that was a cross-X-purpose, which is to say once headlong into a project there is at some point no wrong, just another set of problems to embrace and to solve, and a forcing of ones hand at that whole business of other ways to look at it


and after ‘ohmygod what am I going to do?’ I decided since the pages were printed only on one side there was no reason they all needed to be recto (on the right side), and if I were to bind it as a verso page (on the left side) it would completely alleviate the problem of poking a hole in the V’s serif,
butand it would mean coming up with a facing page so it would sit as a glorious two page spread, which would give it some sense, and balance in a book that otherwise was completely one sided (!)

meanwhile also going on in the background was the book in its entirety still didn’t seem a cohesive whole,  and I had been looking for, or waiting for, just the right I didn’t know exactly what to tie it all together without it then seeming like I was telling a reader what the whole book should be saying as if I weren’t trusting you to get it, or trusting that I’d successfully gotten my ideas across, so

how exquisitely sweet it was then to come up with a just and unassuming solution to do both, which had I been oh so perfectly clear in the first place I would have missed

oh the art of it all




cross purpose

November 30, 2014 § Leave a comment

though each project is designed to incorporate new skills and so new problems to solve, it’s the same old fundamental things that keep surprising me:

like how hard it is to tell someone, in a word, or twenty-five words, or the famous elevator pitch 30 seconds what a book is about, even when it is finished, which is not to say one doesn’t know what it’s about while working on it, or that I didn’t have a certain underlying sense of what I was setting out to explore and intending to say, it just means it’s most often a treacherous path from beginnings and overstatement to endings and finding just the right balance of heft and substance & slight of hand and nuanced magic; you know, the art of it
and of course then how hard it is to title a work, which again doesn’t mean there isn’t a title right from the start, it just means finding the one that sets a tone, that stays the course, that supports and comforts is exquisitely important, so

it was fantastically pleasing, and not just a little elegant, the last time someone asked what my book was about to, finally and simply, say, “Cross purposes!”


and that old thing about no matter how many mockups and dummies you work, it’s not until you go ‘live’ and for keeps that the decisions you make (or have to make again) take a meaningful shape, the rest is only preamble and ambling and certainly helpful but not the real deal

so, the first set of covers I printed (after of course dithering for days and countless possibilities), were perfect but not right, not the right color even though I thought it was, and not the right configuration,  turns out I wanted flaps, and then wasn’t it just so sweet that having flaps allowed me to print the colophon on the flap, and that as magic would have it the flap recapitulated the flapp that the book is, not to mention that since the spine of  books which have coptic bindings is wider than the body of the book, the flap added some needed dimension at the front of the book


and arithmetic and rulers are your friends: if each hole is 1/2 inch from the edge and the thread covers the distance on both sides of the page; and the loop around is let’s say 1/2 of an inch; and you need 2 inches on either end; and another 2 inches for the needle; and there are 22 pages; how much thread do you need?
one of those really obvious things that I completely missed until the middle of another sleepless night after many mockups and dummies not to mention the fact, but at least I wouldn’t need to get so tangled in thread for the next four books.

and for the moment, last but not least: each time something seemingly goes quite wrong, it’s not quite right, or it’s at cross purposes to conceptualize it that way; a story for another day

cross purposes; context, crux

November 30, 2014 § Leave a comment


cross purposes (from back to front)

November 19, 2014 § Leave a comment


a handmade letterpress book
with single-page coptic binding
about cross purposes

original text, design, handset and hand printed by judi goldberg
and an illumination by Lindy Low Le Coq

so much became clear just at the end, so that is where I will start.

sunrises on the road

October 11, 2014 § 3 Comments

I’ve lost count
of the sunrises on the road and walking

as if to the river but to the infirmary as if on the path but
in the hall as if from my kitchen but from the cafeteria as if
with my favorite morning mug but a styrofoam cup instead
as if medicine woman grandmother curandero nurse

the sun paints my face

& I smile as how short is the distance or long
from one vision to the next

PenHouseInk vol 3, 2004


On turning sixty-five

September 21, 2014 § 3 Comments



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