Go Forth and Make: A Magical Summer Camp


Hey, Readers. This post is sticky. It’s going to be at the top of my blog for a while, goading you into action.  If you want new material, you have to scroll down.

It’s been a while since I talked to you specifically, but I have a summertime task for you  Maybe you’ll take me up on it, maybe you won’t.  But it’s important, and I’m going to give you a chance to back out — but once you begin, forever shall it dominate your destiny. More

Make Summer Camp Update: Book Block Revision

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This post is part of the Make Summer Camp Series: It’s specifically an add-on to yesterday’s post about laying out a book digitally.

Draw to think: book blocks//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.jsOf course I got it wrong. I only realized in the middle of the project that it was wrong.

If you take a look at the diagram at left, you’ll see six sheets of paper making a signature. So far so good.  Each page then gets folded. Again, so far so good.  Six folded sheets get stacked inside one another, so far so good.

When you’re bookbinding a notebook, this much is easy.  When you’re trying to create a book-block, a set of pages paginated in order from beginning to end, this gets trickier.

Because in a book-block, you have to think both digitally and printer-ly, and bound-ily, all at the same time.

So, the printed sheet 1 is equivalent to digital pages 1 and 2 on the screen — but it’s also pages 1 and 2 and 23 and 24 in the book.

Except that it’s NOT.  This is what screwed me up last night.  Page 7 and 18 are going to come out of the laser printer on the same sheet of paper, and pages 8 and 17 are going to come out on the second sheet, and then both get run through a copier to make it double-sided.  But both pages come out of the printer in the same orientation — they don’t get backwards-ified until they’re made double-sided.

Which means, that on the first of these printed sheets, book pages 18 and 7 have to be printed on the page in that order — 18 on the left side of the page, and 7 on the right side.  And on the second of these printed sheets, 8 has to be printed on the left side, and 17 has to be printed on the right. Getting them to come out of the copier correctly is a completely different kettle of fish, of course.  And with a clean copy.

And so I have some substantial revision of my book block to do tonight.  I’m going to have to invert every other page.  I hope I do the right pages.  Clearly I have some more figuring out to do.

Tai Chi Y4D168: First Day of School

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Today is the first day of school.  I did two tai chi forms, 20 push-ups, both qi gong forms, and then ran out of time to work before I need to be in the shower to get ready for the day.

It’s going to be a very busy day.

Make Summer Camp: Book Block

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This post is part of a larger series called Make Summer Camp. As part of this series, I’ve done a good deal of paper-craft, working to produce origami and notebooks, in addition to things like boxes and scarves and tunics.

There are no pictures for this post, which is unusual.  It’s hard to produce anything physical for this one, given that I’m first making something digital in order to make something physical.

I’m making a book block.

In bookbinding, a signature is a collection of pages.  Usually there are six to ten pages in a a signature.  I tend to do six pages, because I find it hard to punch through ten pages accurately and cleanly, and because it makes the mathematics a little easier, and because the mathematics is also numerologically pleasing.

So each of my signatures is a stack of six pages, folded in half, and then bound into a book along the folds.  Got that? This means that my signatures actually have 6 sheets of paper, twelve sides of paper (2 per sheet), and four ‘pages’ per sheet of paper or 24 pages per signature.  This might be easier with a diagram, but oh, well I’m tired of looking at computer screens for tiny, fussy detail and getting these things right.

Over the last fifteen years or so I’ve written a lot of poetry.  A lot.  Some of it was in honor of the Sun and Moon. Some was for the decans of the Zodiac, and some for the Planets.  Some was for Celtic saints, and some was for Greek gods and goddesses. Some was for stars.

Recently, Sam Block had to start rewriting his vademecum, his enchiridion — his collection of prayers and ceremonial texts and rites and rituals.  And recently, I came to the end of my poetic journal book after several years working on the same project.  And it became time to produce a fair-copy, and I thought, wow, I should do what Sam is doing. Only I should make it harder, really, by producing a digital edition that I can then hand-bind and sell to interested parties.

 So that’s what I spent the day doing.  I created a digital layout of a 216-page book.  Not a PDF, you understand — not something you can read in order from front to back.  The layout of a book. In signatures.  This was (not to put to fine a point on it), a royal pain. A seriously painful process, and seriously annoying.

Because digital page one, you see, is actually book pages 1 and 24.  And digital page 2 is book page 2 and 23, because it’s the back side of digital page 2 when it gets printed out.  Digital page 3 is book page 4 and 22, the front side of printer page 2, and the back side is digital page 4, which is book page 5 and 21. And so on, and so on.  Until you get to digital page 13, which becomes printer page 7, and has book pages 25 and 48 on one side, and 26 and 47 on the other.

You cannot program a computer, it turns out, to lay out pages this way.  You have to do it manually. At least, you have to do it the first time manually. I did save it as a template, so I can do this again, assuming I ever want to.  So I had do do all of that math to figure out where the signatures’ break was, and where the boundaries were, and so on.

I then went through the elaborate process of laying out a pair according to the rules of good page design set out in The Secret Law of Page Harmony.  I set up those pages with top and bottom notes for page numbers, author bar, book title bar, and so on.  And then I made 84 pages, numbered them by signature numbers, numbered them again by book page numbers, and then began copy-pasting my text into the book.

I might have preferred writing it out by hand again, really.

But, the page layout is done, at least for the moment.  The first two and a half signatures are filled up with my text, and some filler text I wrote on the fly to fill out some page details of why specific poems in the series existed.  It looks like there will be enough space for all the Sun and Moon Sonnets, the hymns and prayers for the Eight Greats (Solstices, Equinoxes, and cross-quarter day poems), and the Planetary hymns.  There might be room for my poetry on the 28 mansions of the moon, never published, and the Behenian Stars (also mostly unpublished) Beyond that, I may have as many as 30 pages left, or as few as three. I’m not sure yet.  I can also add in additional pages, of course — I just have to do it in units of six sheets of paper — otherwise known as twelve digital pages, or 24 book-pages.

From the point of view of learning, though, it feels like a major accomplishment. I mean, at this point I feel like I have a grasp on the whole process of making a book, from the writing of the text to the making of the paper and ink, to the creation of the illustrations, to the management of the signatures and the cover-making and the bookbinding.  I’m not an expert at the process, but I’ve done all of the steps from one end to the other… and it feels like the creation of this book (assuming I can finish a copy in time for September 21) will be the major achievement of the 2015 Make Summer Camp.

Twenty-one days to go… What are you making?

Tai Chi Y4D167: A full set interrupted

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I did a full set this morning. But I did it in a very interrupted way.  First came the qi gong in its two forms, and then 25 push-ups. And then one tai chi form.  Then there was a break of several hours, followed by the second tai chi form all the way through the eighth.

As I said, interrupted.

The reason for the interruption isn’t really important.  But it does appear that doing tai chi in interrupted sets is probably not a good idea.  I felt ok after the first part, but now after the second set I feel like crud. There may be other stuff going on, of course.  But I feel like I worked up a lot of internal energy… and then I worked up a lot of internal energy again. And that combination doesn’t appear to sit well on my body.

Tai Chi Y4D166: Complicated Morning

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This morning I woke up, and got right into some complicated work.  I didn’t get going on tai chi until nearly noon… and by then it was clear that the moment for deep or heavy work today had pretty much passed. Alas.

I did two tai chi forms, and Five Golden Coins, and twenty-five push-ups.  And that was about what I could handle today, or at least so I felt.

Tai Chi Y4D165: What Did I Do?

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I have very little idea what I did today.  I mean, I know that I did 30 push-ups.  They were … not easy, but not impossible, either, even at the end. And I know that I did two qi gong forms. But other than that I know that I did something more than four tai chi forms, but probably less than 12.  And it took me forty-five minutes.

That’s what I know.  I’m not entirely sure how I lost track of what I was doing, but I did.  Oh well.

Tai Chi Y4D164: Typical Set

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I did a typical set today: two qi gong forms, eight tai chi forms, twenty-five push-ups.  It took 32 minutes. I think I’m now at the point where I can start slowing down my tai chi forms, and as I get slower with them, I’ll find the time it takes me to do my morning tai chi will lengthen.

That’s the hope, anyway.

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