codex 3 confessions 2 vignettes

February 12, 2017 § Leave a comment

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The wherewithal wear with all and ware with all of it is no small matter but like any good junket by which in fact I mean outing feast banquet trip excursion expedition jaunt or simply good lay bad movie boring job best day ever worst day ever bad hair day going along to get along or bucking with full intent the camaraderie or any system it still boils down to the doing of it.
And either way, that is on either side of the table it is not for the feint or faint of heart. Which isn’t to say it’s not delightful, but it is opulent. It is obscene. But in its forbearance, annoying though it may be, lies its success, and its provocation, well at least to me.
This was the second time for me, there as an exhibitor as part of a gang of by and large experimental letterpress artists and printers, fine in some cases though our printing and execution may be, or thoughtfully short of fine on all counts the finished codex may be it is artful and full of heart and risk just the same, make no mistake.

Each time, and for each who enters there, no matter which side of the table (1000.00 or 30.00 or whatever the four day entry fee was) you are on, to succeed you must know why you are there. You must know what you are doing there, otherwise you are doomed. Otherwise you, one is not up to the rigors of withstanding the onslaughts, and there are many. Fine books to be sure, fine people to be sure, fine views, and conversations and ideas, and community and camaraderie in equal measures. But on the flip side the downside of up, and being called out every which way you go, are you good enough? Smart enough? Right enough? Rich enough? Literate enough? Bookish enough? Hip enough? Conversant? Artist? Writer? Poet? Able? Young? Old? On the list?

And there is no kidding oneself, there is no it doesn’t matter to start with. One can and over a lifetime (artist or otherwise) one does make it to ones own sensibility of mattering, and the aesthetic of it all, but one doesn’t start there, and many with names and experience, many who taught the many who are now the upandcomers were painfully  adrift and feeling out of sync and measure somehow not properly given their (sense of their) due, or proper admiration. Never mind their work.

And on the other side of it were those drifting and lingering, those loitering and amazed and those with spinning eyes and minds. It’s easy to lose track of the choices to be made. Not everything is grand. Nor the best in spite of the billing. Some of it is perfectly boring once past its cleverness, and so too the hawkers. That is part of the splendor.
All of this said, and grapes sour or otherwise, I am glad to have been there. For a variety of reasons. I hate being left out and I had an opportunity to be included. Or perhaps better said, I had an opportunity to be in included and I hate being left out when I have something to offer, to learn, to say, to stand up and in for. Or, more simply said, (there are times) showing up is fundamental.
That was a ha!
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2 vignettes
A fabulously striking young woman, piercings in her upper lip under each nostril dressed in black wearing a black leather jacket, sporting a half shaven head with perfectly straight and black part line black giving way to long rubine red hair draped over her shoulders and back who stood for some time looking carefully at my books. After turning the pages she looked up and said, “I never would have thought to use different papers in one book.”
I confess to having with delight laughed.
An older than 30 younger than 50 year old woman with her two sons in tow was caught by the red strip of paper at the edge of my display. She stopped, smiled, and picked up the red strip of red paper that said
black & white and read all over
and made sure to point out the not black and white of it to her nodding boys. I asked the older of the two boys if he knew the answer. He looked blank, I looked to the woman who was also at a loss. “It’s a riddle,” I said, “what is black and white and red all over?” They had no idea. Never having heard such a thing.
When I gave them the answer the older boy asked, “red or read?”
I confess to having smiled. “Well, that’s just the point!”
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