If you want to know what crowd to get in with, I recommend conservators. They are immaculate in their methods, and wonderfully quirky in their personalities. I always look forward to those days I am tasked with escorting the conservation ladies post-security at the airport to sit close by while they slowly and meticulously clean and repair the seemingly impossible. Every now and then I will start chatting with them and get all the stories. For example, did you know that spit is the best way to clean a painting? Spit and a Q-tip. Who knew?
It was over a year after I started working with the team of conservation ladies, that I discovered they all lived and worked in my neighbourhood. Once they discovered another art lover close by, I was invited to a dinner, then given hand-me-down clothes for my son, and finally, the pinnacle, I was invited to join them for an informal book-making workshop. I looked forward to it for days!
This blog post is about learning how to make a book, but it’s also about something more. Making books always seemed to me to be totally outside my realm of possibility. I never thought about the mystery of what sat behind the paper covering. But when someone suggested that I might be able to make one, and with not a whole lot of effort, I got really excited. Dreams of self-publishing my first auto-biography ran through my head. The world was my oyster; I was going to learn to make books.
The “more” that this blog post is about, is possibility. You probably won’t be able to make your own book by reading this blog post. You might, if you’re really crafty and can fill in the gaps, but probably not. This blog post is about realizing how much of a possibility making a book is … and in a parallel vein, how much of a possibility anything is. We are all just waiting for someone to reveal the inside of our dream so we can say, “Oh, is that all? I can do that!”
So here it is:
How to Make Your Own Book (more or less)
First you build the pages:
Then you glue the cover together:
Next you secure the binding on your stack of papers:
And finally, you glue the cover onto your stack of paper:
Now, admire your work, drink wine, eat cake and smugly watch as the paper conservators take 45 minutes longer than you to finish their book. Until, that is, they present their final product, free of flaws and glowing with perfection.
Life, like books, has about a gazillion layers. Each year that goes by, I realize more and more that all it takes to get to a deeper level, is to turn the page. One page won’t get me all the way there, but if I keep turning the pages, and keep reading what the book has to tell me, one page will turn into many and soon I will be in the place that seemed impossible. It just takes a little patience (like the paper conservators). Bringing home my very own book, that I had made, filled with blank pages, was so inspiring. I realized that I had so much I could fill it with. I have so many things I want to tell people about, so many things I want to inspire them with. So here I am, filling the pages of my metaphorical book and hoping the click, click of my keyboard inspires someone else to start opening the pages of their own book.