When creating a book, the thought of it being a ‘living thing’ is something that I believe is felt by those who sincerely love books. They see books as not just a thing that provides knowledge, research, controversy, comfort, escape, stability, and more. These simple pages, that are neatly kept between the hardened covers that constrict them in place with glue and bindings. A book becomes a constant presence in a home until it finds itself longing to find another home, and so on it goes from hand to hand, heart to heart, sharing itself with others. There in the hidden corners of the book store, they wait to be discovered by another human to whom it will display it’s hidden secrets.
As a publisher, handling these secrets it not just an honor and privilege, but it is a profoundly creative act. Most of my life, art was my escape. My hands being the weapon for my soul to unleash itself. I would pour into paintings, craft until I formed deep calluses that remained a reminder of each creation. I found myself in deep love with all kinds of art forms, spending time lost in a melody, or deep into some digital world that I could express my heart, my soul, my mind.
Writing for me, became the most common form to escape to. It became the way I could see clearly. I would begin writing, as just an exercise to get my mind off of whatever I was trying to escape from. The words became the buttress to deflect the pain that I had in my life. I would see these pages as the world to which I could live in, and thus, these pages became an extension of a thought that would eventually lead me to heal, to escape my trauma, and to see writing in a new and different light.
When I get my hands on an author’s words, I see my job to lift those words and create a universe for them to live in. The bindings and rules of each indent, margin, and column are the home in which the words will find themselves cozy and warm. Each stroke of the key that moves the text neatly into its compartments quietly lulls the words into a deep sense of stability. Whenever I get to add art, my mind jumps with joy as I find the words are able to express the deep and profound meaning of the words that lay between the lines on the page.
This combination of art and words makes my inner artist delighted, creating a deeper and closer connection with the words in my care. Something about seeing a book, visualizing it, allows you to move into the world in which exists between those words. It is as if you are part of it, your thumbprint neatly kept in the book, invisible, but present, if not just by you. This especially became true when working on The Happy Barn Cat. Sometimes, non-fiction books, in their nature, can have strict and more concrete rules than a fictional world in which you as the layout artist can bend some of the rules in terms of layout.
With The Happy Barn Cat, the desire to lift this book and place it among the cats to whom the book most poignantly was for, marked out their territory. Seeing the cats placed in there was not just fun, it was moving, and allowed me to share, even in part, with the wonder that Melodi was talking about. She took me away to a world that I could identify with, a place that I had missed for some time, she allowed me space to mentally be free to explore how to create such a masterpiece and spoke to that inner artist.
A book to me is more than its bindings, it is a piece of art, that is crafted with love, dedication, and passion. I live this mantra every day! Writing is my passion, publishing is my passion, building art, one piece at a time is profoundly connected to a world in which art is life, it is the expression of the heart, the mind, and the soul.
Whatever your life is, live it with passion! Embrace the world around you, see its beauty, and find places in your life that give you meaning. When in that bookstore, to which you find yourself aimlessly wandering, your fingers touching the spine of the books that are laid within the racks, perhaps you will find yourself thinking about these books, and not just a thing, an object, a piece of paper with glue, but a living creation that is begging to be owned and loved by a reader like you.