29 October 2011

Updates of Various Sorts

This was going to be a long long post will all kinds of exciting things (and pictures!), but I'm coming down with some form of sickness and I want to get in some fiction writing time before I fall asleep sitting up. So here's a quick rundown of what I've been up to (with a couple pictures).

I finished reprinting the fox-catching-snowflakes and the blue jay cards (my two biggest sellers), and got a brand new design done, which I've titled "Misquoth the Raven" (anyone want to guess where the title comes from?

I also printed a menu for a client, a photo of which you'll find in the next section (I only have two to show you, so I have to spread them out).

I still have two more cards to reprint (the Pirates Santa) and one to print that I have plates for, plus two more I have film but not yet plates for (the rest of the seasons). I would still like to do a calendar, but it's looking less and less likely. I have a grand idea, but no actual designs, let alone film or plates. I suppose I could see if I can re-use a past year's number plates and do a basic wood type with numbers and maybe add images if I get time.

My intro letterpress class has ended, and my pop-up book class (not letterpress, but I won't have a bookbinding update section because I haven't done much of any recently) just got cancelled. Poo.

My experiments are progressing slowly (slowly because all my time seems to be taken up with doing things for other people) (yes, I get paid, but still). I've had some success with recycled printmaking rag paper, on which I printed the menus for a recent awards gala.

And speaking of said gala, I was there in the reception area for a while, demonstrating papermaking. I have a photo of my set-up (and also of paper-marbling-demo-er Rhonda Miller), but it's still on my phone and I'm too lazy to go get my phone and plug it in (didn't I tell you I'm *sick*).

For the demo, I used a mix of recycled paper pulp and the all-new goldenrod pulp. The goldenrod didn't break down as much as I hoped with boiling, and I was beginning to think I might have to buy some lye (I might still, to do this as a proper experiment). But once I ran it through the blender, the big twiggy bits were minimalized, so maybe I don't need lye. Of course, my blender is rather new (thanks, Canadian Tire, for your fake money that I saved up until I had a huge fat wad that the poor cashier had to count), and therefore sharp, and probably cut up the pulp more than it should have. So another future part of the experiment will be filing the blades dull.

Oh, and a trip to Value Village on the way home from Halifax one day netted me the most enormous canning pot I've ever seen (and my mother has been canning since before I was born, so I've seen canners). It is now my pulp-boiling pot and is currently full of boiled, wet goldenrod waiting to be blended.

The paper resulting from the recycled-goldenrod mix isn't dry yet--maybe I'll take an iron to it if I feel less lazy later--but it's quite dark, and really a rather nice mossy green. I was expecting paler, and golden-browner, especially after seeing the dark gold-brown liquid I poured off after boiling. But it has stubbornly remained quite green through drying and boiling and pulping and papermaking.

Maybe tomorrow, if I am feeling more capable, or less lazy, I will photograph some of this.

I seem to have stalled with Aeryn Daring and the Scientific Detective. I have chapter five waiting to be edited and had hoped to have chapter six written and edited by now. If I can get editing-for-other-people done quickly, maybe I'll get caught up before, well maybe not before the end of the month, but soon.

So Calliope Strange is lazy, and Niko Silvester is anxious to get A Madness of Kentaurs formatted and covered and out at least as an eBook, but that is also stalled, mostly due to lack of time. Sometimes I feel guilty that I am too lazy, but then I actually list all the things I get done in a day and realize that I don't really take any time off except a few times a week to watch TV (even my videogaming is mostly for work these days), and for an hour or so before bed to read. (I rather feel that read should be capitalized. Read. It's very important to me.)

Nic Silver, on the other hand, while not caught up to where he should be (yes, alter ego Nic is a boy--didn't I mention that?), has been writing a fair bit. Brother Thomas's Angel (which will soon have a new title, once I can come up with one) has become insanely long (considering it was originally meant to be a short story), and is still not done. I have about one and a half sections to go, but each section has been around 10 to 15 thousand words. Well, the ones word processed, anyway. The last several are in longhand and will have to be typed. Also he has begun writing "A Pearl Beyond Price" which will be the spooky story the winner of this month's giveaway gets, assuming it is done. I think it's about halfway. Or at least 1/3. I hope. Also it's not so much spooky as kind of creepy. And it will get more creepy, and maybe not in such a good way.

Okay, this ended up being pretty long after all, so I will stop there and apologise for the headlong blather. I have a books to finish now. One that I'm reading, and also one I'm writing. Or several I'm writing.

Oh, wait, one more thing. I have decided that by the end of 2012 I'd like to be making a living solely from writing fiction. Or, rather, making enough from my fiction that I could at least scrape by. Because I don't intend to stop letterpress printing or bookbinding or papermaking or teaching all of the above, but I do intend to stop freelance editing and freelance writing and freelance reviewing and freelance whatever-elsing  and the sooner the better. Yes, it could all go wrong, but I have to try. I've always thought of myself as a writer--a fictionist--first, and a maker-of-things-related-to-books second.

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