Wednesday, October 13, 2010
My First Chapbook
Making a chapbook is hard!
You'd think collecting one's own poetry would be an easy task, since the content is already written, and the format demands very little layout knowledge and skill. Chapbooks aren't like comic books, which consist of intricate layers of illustration, lettering, and coloring or shading to create a harmonious progression of images, which become pages, which become a story. So, I'm proud to have self-published a few worthy issues now (including my latest, Amazing Arizona Comics), despite my ignorance of programs like Adobe Illustrator that make the process easier. I've been able to do a lot with a little.
So, since a chapbook isn't a lot -- no panels of illustration, no linear story (seemingly), no need for layered lettering and shading -- why do I think it's so hard? Simple -- it's the naked word on the barren page. With the comics, if you don't like my drawings, maybe you'll like my story . . . or maybe you'll just appreciate that I took the time to put something that relatively complicated together in the first place. With the chapbook, it's just poems. Sure, I've agonized over every word, I've tried to establish some musicality in some of them, I've tried to ignite a memory or evoke a mood, all of which aren't simple tasks. The aftermath, though, is just poems. If you don't like them, they're easily discarded. If you don't like one, who know if you'll give the rest a chance?
Like my comics, I am confident that my best poetry is yet to come. For Whom the Recess Bell Tolls is a personal, thematic piece of writing that I'm grateful to share, but I have more coming that will take things to the next level. This is just the ground floor, and I hope you'll join me. It's the foundation . . . so it has to be firm.
It has to be hard.