This is how I read the Sunday paper (New York Times, of course):
That’s a lot of cat on my lap. Cindy is the black kitty near my heart and that’s Lickety on my knees. It’s been chilly here on the north shore of Long Island so I was happy to have these feline warmers in the vicinity.
Last week Dear Reader Jeanie asked about the “dummy” books I make up to show publishers when I submit a book proposal.
Normally I only do the first three chapters for a dummy but since this book is so short, I am doing the entire book (which ends up being about the same size as three chapters from one of my usual illustrated travelogues).
First, I go to Staples and spend about an hour and a half/two hours making the color copies of all the illustrations I’ll need for the dummy. I must warn you, before we go too far, that making a dummy is incredibly, maximally, and moronically boring.
After I have all the necessary color copies (at 69 cents per scan, the cost adds up fast) I go home and get the paper cutter out.
I must cut down a pile of bond paper into the appropriate dimensions of my book, known in the book biz as the “trim size”. For this book, I’m doing an 8-inch x 8-inch square trim. (Cutting paper is really boring.)
I assemble omymaterials: the color copies and the print-out the text of the book, which will also be scissored into bits:
I work at my dining room table because it’s the biggest surface in the house:
About two hours later, when I have gone thru my original manuscript page by page, and replicated each page, page by page (which is very boring to do), I will have bits of illustration and text left over. This is because I will have forgotten to make a color copy of something, or I have changed my mind about an illustration and I will re-do it, or there is an error in the text that I only discovered at this late stage of the operation:
So, I will paint something new, and I’ll sit at the computer and fix the text, and I’ll print it out, and I’ll go back to Staples to get new color copies, and then I’m ready to finish this dummy.
Thank the lord for clear plastic sheet protectors. I buy them by the 100s, and they are what makes my “dummy” books possible. For this dummy, I have cut off the top three inches of each sheet protector so so that my 8-inch x 8-inch pages fit into them like they were custom-made.
Next, I load my pages into the sheet protectors:
You have to remember to load each sheet protector with two pages, back-to-back, so that they can assemble into a verso and a recto when it all comes together. This part of the operation is both fiddly and boring, but at least it means that I am near the end!!
When I cut down the sheet protectors, cutting off the top three inches, I was left with only two binder holes in each sheet protector. So now I have to punch a new upper hole into each sheet:
This dummy takes 41 plastic sheet protectors, and punching through that heavy plastic on the margin 41 times hurts. But I have to do this because I’m using a two-prong Duo-tang thingy to bind my dummy:
I have to fiddle with the prongs because they don’t exactly match the holes in my truncated sheet protectors, but that’s not a big deal:
In the end, I have a neatly-bound dummy:
This is what the dummy looks like from a side view:
All in, each dummy costs approx. $30.00 and takes four hours to copy, print, and assemble. If I knew how to do this electronically, I would — but I’ve never figured out how to use my scanner. And, since making these dummy books is how I’ve gotten all my book contracts, I’m not going to fix what ain’t broke.
And now let’s talk about The Wedding.
Harry and Meghan are a beautiful couple and everyone wishes them a lifetime of love and happiness, except, it seems, the bride’s siblings. Their lovely half-sister is about to “marry up” — way, way, WAY up — and they can’t stand it.
I know it’s crass to talk about class but that is the crux of this story. For the half-siblings (none of whom seem to have a job) the resentments must be long-standing, probably starting from the time when Meghan began to get some fame and money in her acting career. But now that she’s marrying the most famous prince in the world and leaving them far, far behind, the difference in their fates must be driving them crazy. Last I heard, one of them has even staged a car accident in order to get some publicity and sympathy.
I guess we all have embarrassing relatives — even the British royals have a Nazi or two in the family and the divine Kate Middleton has that nutty Uncle Gary.
Meghan and Harry seem to be gracefully handling the fall-out from Ms. Markle “getting above her raising” , as they say in Appalachia, and which I did the day I left Pennsylvania for Paris, so me and her we have that in common.
I think Meghan and Harry will be good to and for each other and I wish them a beautiful wedding day.
Have a great weekend, everyone, and I hope it’s filled with pomp and circumstance and kitties on the lap and good cups of tea.