Jim Trainer

Emerald City Blues

In Being A Writer, Being An Artist, blogging, getting old, getting sober, mid life, middle age, PDX, poem, Poetry, Portland, publishing, publishing poetry, recovery, self-help, self-publishing, sober, sobriety, Writing, writing about writing, WRITING PROCESS on December 8, 2016 at 11:03 pm

What a week.  Feels like I lifetime since I last sat down with you at Ford Food+Drink, to wax on the political nature of everything.  I’ve spent days and days at the Independent Publishing Resource Center, a cold building just west of the Willamette River in Portland.  Saturday I took a 6-hour Letterpress workshop with IPRC Studio Manager&Letterpress Artist Caitlin Harris, and came away with some smart looking cards with a line from a poem on them.  Sunday, Caitlin and I got cracking on my cover.  Pre-production took about 3 hours, so, when I was inked and ready to go, I kept going until I had 300 covers and the center closed.

The book blocks I had travelled with, all the way from Austin, were useless and I really wish I’d been assured of the correct dimensions for the design because, other than the $679 I won’t get back, I spent the rest of my time in Portland designing file after file of the book in InDesign.  I was dispirited and out money, so I designed the book again, from scratch.  Once done, I was told the dimensions were off, the final paper size way too large for a 5×7 book.  I designed the book yet again, but was unable to open the file when it came time to print a mockup.  The final design was done last night.  I came back to Butch’s and was up at 8 this morning looking the copy over.

I got into the center today right before snow started falling, tweaked the file and printed my mockup.  Someone from the center would have to help me bind it.  If it looked good, I’d have to find a printer who could turnaround 150 book blocks by end of day, so I could bind them with Binding Steward Derrick, but have to fly back to Austin with the books uncut to size.  The IPRC shut down though, due to weather.  So, with the snow falling I loaded up my Uber with the covers, a ream of Eclipse Black paper and the polymer plate from September‘s pressing.  We stopped at New Seasons’ grocery and I got back to Butch’s, ate a frozen pizza and fell out in front of the vent on the third floor.

Sometimes I’m able to make sense of the torturous minutiae of everyday life. Sometimes I’ll take us fancifully away, to a place far from Heaven, and more honest.  I won’t lie, blogs where I can get some vengeance, go for the throat and bring down the beast satisfy me greatly.  The robust readership of this blog has silenced that impulse some, but I’ll never explain those kinds of blogs to anyone.  I like those kinds of blogs.  You do too, I gather-they weild us a little power and connect us, and cockroaches hate the light.

This post is the other kind-a factual reporting back, a checklist, a recounting of disappointing news.  I’m disappointed and I’m sorry.  But I laughed allot with Butch this week, and I was touched by a poem and a letter that came to me all the way from across the continent.  True friends only confirm the horror of having a heart in a heartless world, and laugh at it with you.  We should die laughing.  As far as vengeance is concerened, there is no more total revenge than laughter.  The fact that 2 former street fighting men can stand in a kitchen in pajamas on a cold night in the suburbs of Portland and laugh is uncanny-just twisted enough to be real, wracked and bent and salty with outrage as we are.

One of the best gifts of sobriety is vision.  Seeing clearly without delusion.  My eyes keep getting opened.  I don’t like what I see, but it’s better than being blind.  This is just a setback, a reouting.  Some of you are keeping me alive.  I hope to have copies of All in the wind available for you before Christmas, so we can celebrate that way, with each other and reveling in the heart’s work.

See you in Hippie Town motherfucker.

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