I wrote my first poem — about a broken alarm clock — when I was five. I’ve has been writing about life, the universe and everything ever since — in novels, poems, short stories and, in the past few years, hundreds of blog essays.
When Village Books in my home town of Bellingham WA acquired its magical Espresso machine for self-publishing small-run books in the store itself, I collected some of my blog entries for a new book entitled, Shoes & Ships & Sealing Wax.
The essays include more than five years of thoughts and feelings, laughter and tears, triumph and tragedy. I write about rivers, and stars, and dolphins, and cats, and words, and love, and growing up and growing older. In short, shoes and ships and sealing wax.
I chose self-publishing on the Espresso Machine because I don’t expect to have the same readership for my essays as I do for my fantasy novels, published in the US by HarperCollins. This book is a labor of love and requires a different approach.
Watching the Espresso do its thing is exciting. You can watch the operation through the clear plastic sides of the machine. At first you see only a photocopying operation as the pages are spit out. But then things get really interesting.
The photocopied pages are clamped together, a glue roller is passed along the spine, the bundle of pages are brought down onto the pre-printed cover, a clamp holds the cover and the pages together for a few moments while the glue sets, and then the the book is turned around smartly three times while a scythe cut it down to size.
Then the finished book is spat out. Still warm. Hot off the presses.
It’s just as exciting as opening the box from your publisher and pulling out your latest book.