So yes, I’m making a beautiful bookthing. It’s that wondermental thing known as: a labour of love.
Sometimes how it is when you make a thing is: scary. This has certainly been that. I’m a pretty fluid writer, by and large, but with fiction? Holy shit. I’ve been the opposite of that because? Scary. Hard. And did I mention scary? Because I realised that for all the writing I’ve done in my life, I’ve never been a writer of fiction; writing fiction, it turned out, worried the crap out of me. Plus and also, I’m doing this with a collaborator, so there’s that intimidatory notion of: “If I fail, I don’t just let myself down.”
But I’ve pressed on and my skin has been prickled with goosebumps, often, writing this thing. I’ve found thoughts and word pairings I never knew were available to me; seen and understood stuff about stuff in new and other ways.
What I’ve made is a story about a person, an odd dream-headed short-form bildungsroman
about a boy and what he does and what he loses and what he needs and what he learns and what he gains and what he understands and what he becomes. It’s an idiosyncratic piece of writing, that’s for sure, kind of poetic-y in places, kind of funny in places: and that’s as specific as I’m going to get.
I wrote the beautiful bookthing because my friend James Cook, the big daddy of the design house Roseander Main
, conceived a project nearly a year ago, whereby a writer would write some lovely words and James would illustrate them by making some delicious photographs and then take the words and photographs and turn them into a beautiful book; this project would be an art-making. So James dreamed this up and asked me to be the writer; I said yes. Then, bless his heart, he gave me carte blanche to write the way I wanted to write, all unconstrained, and he encouraged me to speak in my own true voice. That was hard, that speaking. I kept thinking there were “should”s involved in writing a fiction, that I should
toe certain structural or stylistic lines, but James encouraged me to play and take risks and let fly with all the Katymusic I wanted. Without the generosity of that encouragement, I would’ve played it safer than I’ve played it, been less out-there with word-choice and word-play, with cadencing the rhythms and rhythming the cadences, with creating the characters and mapping the marvels. And I would’ve made writings that were not the writings I wanted to make.
We’re only partway through the process; steps remain to be taken before we arrive at the place called: conclusion, the place called: finished books. But we’ll be there in awhile and the object we’ll have to show you will have been built by two people who are doing this for the sweet good joy of making a dear and beautiful thing. It will be quite something, it surely will. If you’re interested in acquiring one, we’ll make them available to you, yes, and I’ll let you know more when we get closer to that bit of the project. We’ll also have some interesting tributarial projects going on in support of our bookthing. I’ll let you know about those
when we arrive at the place where letting you know about them is where we’ve arrived.
Run towards the difficult thing. The older I get, the more I understand that to be one of the chief ways of finding and making meaning and joy for myself. I flinched sometimes, making the words of the beautiful bookthing, and I lay awake at night, roiled up by it. But I never left it, never forgot it, never didn’t love it. Now it’s written and I have that joy and it can never be taken from me.
Oh, there is joy. O joy, there is.