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Sunday, March 24, 2013


I do lists.  I've done tons of poetry projects revolving around The List (especially since the list-as-autobiography is a long-held concern)  So it seems inevitable that, somehow, I'd create a mini-book -- and, as it turns out, it will be a series -- revolving around the list. 

There's a particular type of list that interests me.  It's a list of mundane stuff that ends up being more than the sum of its parts, that ends up not being mundane.  It's a list that effects something that transcends its (lowly) material.  I'm in the midst of preparing right now for a year-long list project; I won't go into details of that yet, but just note it to say that lists are on -- and always on -- moi mind. 

So, my latest mini-book to discuss is the 2.25" x 2" Volume I of JOY, A GLOBAL PRIORITY -- a visual listing of the postage and other postal materials that brought me mails containing joy. (I don't always succeed but I always hope that joy is a focus of my work.) I enjoyed making the first book so much I decided to create a series around the concept. 

Volume I's impetus was three sources.  First, there was one of the holiday cards I'd saved for its useful cover card-stock:

I also decided to throw in at random a sticker floating around the studio (cough) which I long suspected would be useful for something related to mini-books.  I didn't know, at the beginning of making Volume I, how it would play a role.  But I like throwing in as many "random" elements as possible in creating.  So, I tossed it into the mix:

For interior content, I chose to use what I could from five mailed envelopes that brought me joy:

I ended up with a front and back cover as follows:

The message above is self-explanatory.  I believe joy to be a priority for the world.  But the front cover itself is not as obvious joy often requires effort, work.  So, by looking only at the front cover, I wanted the reader to not immediately know what is being posited as a priority for the world .

You'd open the front cover to see

Note above the repetition of the themes by utilizing the postal notations of "priority mail" and "For domestic and international mail."  Part of what I'd cut out from the same postal receipt was the section that stated "To" with a space for the recipient.  I turned that into the next page's dedication page ... and I confess it amused me to dedicate this mini-book to Moi!

You then turn the page to the first of the five pieces of mail that brought joy to Moi.  Throughout the book, I always glued in the stamps on the right-hand page.  Each stamp is faced by a reference to the sender and the mail's contents.  So the first mail is from Leny Strobel and it brought Moi joy for delivering two blank mini-books inspired by SitWithMoi (I later filled in/fleshed out one of the mini-books with THE WHISPERS OF SHE WHO CALLED ME HERE by Leny M. Strobel).

You turn the page to the next contribution, mail that brought "Happy New Year" wishes from some friends:

You turn the page to the next contribution, mail that brought an order for a book published by moi teeny press, Meritage Press, accompanied by a check!

You turn the page to the next contribution, mail that brought an invitation for an Easter lunch (this Sunday):

You turn the page to the next contribution, mail that brought the first mini-book by an e-peep, Tom Beckett's THE CHAIRMAN SPEAKS:

Last but not least, you turn the page to the next contribution, mail that brought an art monograph on Max Gimblett's latest exhibition.  I love this monograph -- not only are Max's paintings superb but the monograph contains one of the best monograph essays I've read in years, written by another artist Matt Jones. 

And, and, and!  The monograph essay features an epigraph of a quote I've actually been looking for (as I plan to use it as a monograph for my poetry collection forthcoming in 2014) -- a quote from Michelangelo, to wit:
Every block of stone has a statue inside it and it is the task of the sculptor to discover it.
So the above mail also was useful to me in helping cut down on the research time my forthcoming book requires.  I am appreciative for any type of help in living my life!  Moreoever, you may have noticed that the color of the interior pages is yellow-gold.  I chose the color since gold symbolizes enlightenment (recall what I said earlier about the sum of mundane details being more than mundane, i.e. uncovering insight) and perhaps discovering that long-searched-for Michelangelo quote is the resulting insight.  Also, I only had yellow paper around the studio at the time ...

Entonces, joyfully Moi asks: "Where shall we shelve Volume I of JOY: A GLOBAL PRIORITY?"  Well, I am opting to shelve it on this warm teak bench because the structure of the bench (i.e., the bench as a shelf) will be useful for holding a series of mini-books, which I am hoping for JOY.  Indeed, I am hoping for the sources of joy to be ... infinite ...

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