Monday, October 18, 2010

No world record, but letters...

Today was another one of those October days in Oregon, sunny, crisp, dry-grass smelly. While I broke no world records coming or going to school (my bike held about 20 extra pounds on the way to school because I brought leftovers from Hoda's catering the Friday event. YUM!), I broke through many different subjects: typesetting and letterpresses, novels and storylines, and biking.

Writing is so different if you have to think about setting each letter. Over the weekend 4 intrepid students worked with a most patient instructor, Michael D'Allessandro, and set a line or two of type and printed their very own creations. We worked with tiny presses which print on a 3x5 surface. I can't tell you how amazing it was to use the composing stick, load lead letters into the left hand, write upside down and backwards, lock the words into the chase, load it into the little machine, watch the doghead turn the ink plate, and feed the Rive paper in. It was magic.

As Joanna Rose said today, she was still "letter-y." No kidding.

And besides that this weekend, I spent an hour on the phone with Hannah Tinti, my good friend who has adopted my novel. She has sent me 7 pages, single-spaced, of notes, both line-edits and big ideas. She knows my novel better than I do at this point, and I am in this haze thinking of what to do, or how to do what she thinks I should do. Her comments and suggestions are brilliant. Rarely has anyone had such a friend. So, I'm letter-y and thinking about Kyle and Jack Song and Carla and their stories.

Interrupting this autumn euphoria are some odd people in cars. Today some workers in a big truck whistled as they passed me, not a hubba-hubba whistle, just one meant to freak me out. I was going about 30mph down a very busy 4-lane highway, and this time, it was more comfortable and easy to get my hand in the right position to flip them off.

All of these actions and stories were in the leaves my tires shredded. They were in the headwind, the warming fall of evening.
(for more pictures of the 24-Hour Story Jam, go here.)

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