Stress relief with the print word: Part 2

PRINT

During this time in our history and this season [COVID, vitriolic disunity in our country, sadness & anxiety] I find that I am able to read literature during the day time. The evening is reserved from pure adventure as far from real life as possible ( See, Part 1).

The craft of writing beautiful memoir, fiction, and narrative non-fiction is one to which I aspire. My pithy blog scribbling pales in comparison to what I share here. The titles with an asterisks * are the only ones I have read thus far; I am looking forward to reading the rest during July and August. I hope you find at least one of interest during this season of hard living, my friend.

LITTLE FREE LIBRARY FINDS

NOTE: I did leave these on the porch for two days and then wipe down each one with disinfectant before reading

DAEDALUS BOOKS

With this source I tried ever so hard to stay away from mystery as they offer an abundance. Sometimes, I need to stretch beyond the whodunit genre; I have with these:

The following titles I chose for the husband, as he prefers non-fiction. Know this, however. I chose titles I would like too!

ADDENDUM

Dark Water is especially one I look forward to as a few entries on my Zia Clara in Italy blog speak of this horrific flood while my zia and sister were living in Italy in 1966-1967 : The devastation  and No water.

Art: a book and a broadside

This time of COVID-19 during our #stayathome orders* has afforded me an enormous amount of solitude, thereby a substantive amount of space for art. All this to note a very circuitous route to re-creating a letterpress broadside printed in 1995. It has taken me months to get to the point where I feel satisfied with this last reincarnation (which is good, as I am running out of prints!) 

Credit is given to staying home, but more importantly to a book published in 2000 that I cataloged this year for a small art library – Picture This: How Pictures Work by Molly Bang. For those of you who recognize the name, yes, she is the children’s book author.

In 1995 I wrote this short poem, made the paper and using a Vandercook proofing press, printed about 50 copies. I was never satisfied with the results.

Original broadside, 9″ x 11″ on handmade paper with flower inclusions

In March of 2020 I pulled out the remaining copies to re-design. Below are some of the additions and attempts; some never panned out:

Chose the words that I felt gave the sense of frustration during the COVID-19 news, White House reports, newspaper articles. Overprinted using fading shades of gray with my HP inkjet printer. Each broadside needed to be printed one at a time.
Graphic attempts to direct the eye from the original phrase in the poem to the “garden” below, expressing hope.
FINAL PIECE: trimmed all edges except the bottom which remains deckle; use larger triangles in a less random manner; added a triangle in gold, symbolizing hope.

The point I hoped to reach is one where I can say to myself, “I can live with this.” It took two months of off and on viewing and re-making. It was Bang’s book that give me direction.

C’est fini.


*Let me say this straight out – I know how fortunate I am during this time of COVID-19. I am currently reading Madeleine Albright’S memoir, Prague Winter: A Personal Story of Remembrance and War, 1937–1948. My sets of grandparents both escaped living under fascism in Czechoslovakia and Italy; my parents and in-laws lived and fought in the U.S. during World War II. I get how fortunate I am even during this pandemic during 2020, living where I do; being who I am.

Spring break, used books & annuals

This combination will cheer anyone after the very long and dismal winter.  It is 70℉ in Takoma Park today, on this Irish feast day of St. Patrick’s, and even though I am Italian-Slovak American, I will accept this gift. Yet, I digress.

flowers
Our front yard, on this lovely day, is a carpet of croci!

To celebrate, I spent my morning “weeding” my book shelves – home to a hefty collection of children’s books – books that once were integral to teaching, reading aloud, especially to very wee-ones, and for the enjoyment of the illustrations.  As every gardener knows, it is as important to weed, as it is to plant!

Of course, the afternoon was spent at a favorite used book store – trading one box of books for another. But, this stack was for me! I always feel like the proverbial “kid in a candy shop.”  My eyes grow large and my palms sweat with expectation of grabbing the delicious volumes off the shelves as I move imperceptible from row to row of these affordable goodies. Throughout my years of second-hand shopping, I have come to appreciate that the best approach is entering the experience with an open mind – expect nothing, and everything is wonderful.

Cradled in my arms was a small & exciting grab bag of treats.I departed with a youthful delight because I am so looking forward to reading these titles for myself – my spring vacation with paper and ink.

Titles gathered

A Duty To the Dead: A Bess Crawford Mystery by Charles Todd

The Prime Minister’s Secret Agent: A Maggie Hope Mystery by Susan Elia MacNeal

Silent in the Sanctuary: A Lady Julia Grey Mystery by Deanna Raybourn

Rosewater and Soda Bread by Marsha Mehran

Espresso Tales: The New 44 Scotland Street Novel by Alexander McCall Smith

With the last two titles on the top of my pile, and being easily influenced, I stopped by the local Starbucks for a short latte and treat, compliments of my dear students (from whom I have a two-week break, thus I am able to visit the bookstore and coffee shop)!

Just like my small but stunning croci, this time of year is one I look forward to annually.  I feel young again, renewed, and happy.  I am home. I have time for my husband, family, cats & friends. I have time for music. I have time to read for pleasure.

It is a season to bloom and I am grateful to have this season and this year once more, dear readers.