Friday, January 29, 2016

The chaos. And the glory, sure, but: the chaos.

I'm teaching the Publication Studies class for the first time in three years.

A brief historical overview:

Here is a post from when I first taught it--the very first time the course had been taught ever.

Here is a post (from the second year I taught the course, the very second time the course had ever been taught) when I thought things would be easier because I had already taught the course previously. Which: ha.

Before that, there was a massive delusion of grandeur borne of the 'how hard could that be?' credo of my kind.

Anyway: flash forward to now. In the intervening years, Dr. Write taught the course beautifully, and then The Charlotte taught the course twice. I feel that, collectively, we know a lot more. For instance, the course has, I think, been quite improved by several innovations the intervening instructors introduced, and by greater expertise in InDesign, which I am praying will pass on to me via, like, osmosis. PRAYING, I tell you.

Anyway: today, we undertook a grand design and printing project. In not very long at all, the very first reader in SLCC's very first reading series will be visiting.

Click to enlarge. I tell you,
these events are going to be HUGE.

In my by now signature style, I have grandly planned to do a beautiful broadside, using a photopolymer plate of an InDesign design, to be inked and printed on our honey of an etching press, of one of Tarfia's poems. None of which we have precisely 'done' before, if by done we mean 'ever tried it, even once.' Yep, that's exactly what we mean.

But dammit, what's a Publication Studies class for, if not to try things that we haven't done before but which various credible sounding pages on the internets promise are doable? Nothing, I say. Playing it safe is for suckers.

Today, we began designing this broadside. (Of course I thought we would have an almost finished design by the end of class. Which: ha.) It was one of those times when the time flew--flew!--by. Total absorption. It's the best feeling ever.

Soon we'll meet with the student author of the winning chapbook, and we'll start laying out and designing a book. It's the sixth chapbook in six years. We actually have a fairly tidy track record at this point. Before that, though, even now begins the process of eking out extra hours to finish the work that cannot be contained in mere class time, complicated by the fact that the work needs to be done with and by students. Because learning, you know.

It's a mess, it's magnificent, it's art. We are having, and are going to have, a blast.

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