I have to admit: as much as I love to read and to hold actual books in my hands, I have never really explored the world of the art book. But on this, a long weekend in Detroit, I had the chance to check out the Detroit Art Book Fair at Trinosophes. It was kind of mind-blowing to see the ways folks tell their stories or re-conceive of parts of other narratives and put it all together in a beautiful container – the artwork, the covers, the placement of words and images on the page or poster, piece of wood or bookmark. This got me thinking more about my own work and how one piece in particular doesn’t seem right as a traditional essay. It’s on the long-ish side, but not long enough to be a book. I’ve been envisioning something in between – a chapbook. Until the past few years, though, the chapbook seemed to be reserved for poetry collections. Lately I’ve noticed more small presses doing nonfiction chapbooks, and I think that’s the way to go for this particular piece.
But going a few steps beyond that, I’ve got some ideas bubbling up about cover art – that I might be able to do myself. I love the idea of hand-crafting a book myself, even though I don’t feel I have adequate visual art skills (or much of any at all, if I’m really being honest.) But then, yesterday. There were all these people putting themselves into these authentic works of art and words and putting it out into the world, sitting on the other side of the table, engaging with possible purchasers of a little piece of their souls. How many times I regretted moving on without buying something! But I think I want to jump into that pool. Before making that leap, though, I first have to finish my memoir proposal. Just want to be clear on that!