What Goes On Behind the Scenes. The Publishing Scene, I Mean.

This is what a hand-made, illustrated travel memoir in process looks like:

See that slip of green paper on the cover? It’s a note to myself, a definition of life that I read somewhere and wrote down:

Life: A length of time marked by periodic changes of luck.

Words to live by.

As I create each page, I tape in my text and my illustrations into the approximate positions that will have when they are printed.

The yellow stickies on the edge of some of the pages are there to remind me that there’s something that I to fix on that page; the little yellow stickies on the bottom of  sheet are there so I can keep track of the page count.  I use those sheet protectors because that makes it easier to move pages around, and keeps the schmutz off the art work.

Repeat 208 times, and you have a book!

19 Comments, RSS

  1. Marina W February 11, 2011 @ 4:09 am

    It’s great seeing your new book in it’s embryonic stages, and having you share some of the joys and trials of getting it to print. Can’t wait for it to be published…but guess we’ll have to be patient.

    And even with that huge folder it is still short on pages?…who would have guessed?

    Thanks for sharing

  2. Margaret February 11, 2011 @ 5:23 am

    Wow, that preview makes your book look so enticing – can’t wait to get my hands on the finished version!

  3. Deborah February 11, 2011 @ 9:18 am

    Fill those nine pages with this blog! I always enjoy seeing the story behind the story.

    It’s exciting to see several of the paintings that you discussed in this blog in the recto-verso form. (or is it verso-recto?) I am totally oooohhh-ing over the path through the woods. That’s one I remember.

    Congratulations on reaching this milestone. Hope you’re popping open the champagne, or at least brewing up a special cup o’ tea (or a grilled cheese sandwich): you worked hard for this & you deserve to celebrate.

  4. Phil February 11, 2011 @ 9:36 am

    Beautiful art work, Vivian. I’m entranced by the miniature versions of the forest and that reflective water by the small stone house. What a strange and alternate universe that art journal writers live in. It seems to be infinitely more laborious–to have to paint each scene as well as write the words.

    Best of luck with your production meeting!

  5. Jacquelyn February 11, 2011 @ 11:58 am

    my left coast brain is not quite fully awake yet….but my first thought as to the 9 more pages was the same as Deborah’s. Your cats could play a role in the unfolding story and creative process. I guess until the book is in front of us, it is difficult to separate the cardinals, champagne o meter, the cat’s window to the world from charcuteries, chateaus, cloches in gardens and cafes.
    Super quote. I love it!

  6. Janet February 11, 2011 @ 1:10 pm

    Just looking at this work in progress already puts me in France. I am so looking forward to your second book.

  7. Helen McHargue February 11, 2011 @ 2:35 pm

    It’s fascinating to see the work in progress. My God, I cannot imagine the kind of focus and dedication it takes to produce a book such as yours. I can hardly wait to see the finished product.

  8. Barbara February 11, 2011 @ 3:34 pm

    You have truly opened our eyes to the world of publishing. I am savoring When Wanderers Cease To Roam and am now lingering in August, not wanting the book to end. Am I looking forward to the Damn France Book?
    Mais Oui 🙂

  9. Barbara Finwall February 11, 2011 @ 9:08 pm

    I know we’re just seeing a teeny tiny version but it looks great. When can we put our orders in? Congratulations! Time for a good long rest or perhaps a trip to France.

  10. JOAN February 11, 2011 @ 9:57 pm

    Hopefully you can make up the 9 pages missing with some drawings of France? Seems that would be easier than trying to come up with 9 pages of words. But maybe that wouldn’t be consistent with the whole book. Thanks for the pre-birth preview of the book, labor pains and all. Hope you have a vision of what the next 9 pages will be. Can’t wait to see the finished book.

  11. Bobbi February 12, 2011 @ 5:46 pm

    Coool, I love seeing it this way. I am so excited for this book to come out likely the only one I will buy this year not in e-format. I really admire this work especially now that I live in France. There is so much to see and experience here and I think this is such a unique way to connect people to this wonderful and wacky place.

    When can we expect it to be ready for purchase?

    Bon Courage,

  12. Jan February 12, 2011 @ 7:33 pm

    I’m recovering from cervical spine fusion..and am re-rereading my Wanderers book! It’s my New Year’s gift to myself..to read it again starting in January. What a great way to start the new year. I can’t wait for the DFB to be in my grubby little hands!

  13. Cheryl February 13, 2011 @ 12:16 am

    it’s great of you to share this journey with us – how us would most of us ever know what goes into creating an art journal – or any book, for that matter.
    I keep my Wanderers book on my coffee table, with some others, and I always smile when I see my son-in-law gravitating to Wanderers. He’s a no-nonsense, practical kind of guy, but there’s something about your book that pulls him into a more sentimental, humorous, whimsical world.
    I can’t wait to own the new book!

  14. Gitana (aka G2) February 13, 2011 @ 12:49 am

    Vivian, your book looks great – félicitations! Do you know what you want to put in the extra nine pages?

    As someone who lived in France (Paris and in the Alps near the border with Italy) and loves Normandy and the Langue d’Oc region, I’ve been wondering what my personal France is (say, the way you created Pawsylvania) – what it means to me. Then I began to wonder what “France” means to your readers.

    Thank you for your work (books, this blog, the way you live life) and can’t wait to see you in Seattle!

  15. Gitana (aka G2) February 13, 2011 @ 2:05 am

    And I’m not the only one looking forward to you coming to Seattle. Nancy Pearl is too. From her Twitter: “So glad Vivian Swift’s coming to Seattle in May-When Wanderers Cease to Roam is one of my favorites-a real gem of a book. Check it out.”

  16. Mary February 13, 2011 @ 8:47 am

    NANCY PEARL ? Did someone say NANCY PEARL?
    Your visit to Seattle will be a great success. .

    Be sure and post on your blog your itinerary for us.
    Anyone living within 150 miles will want to come.
    Give us hint now, so we can plan.
    I, too, indulge myself a little at a time w/ WWCTR, so I can make the experience last. Every page is delightful. I will enjoy re-living the mud page again in March. Who knew we had 14 kinds of mud, and YOU could paint every one of them.?

  17. Vicki Abbott February 13, 2011 @ 6:32 pm

    I live in Portland, about 3 hours south (don’t know how many miles, though) and I’d definitely come up to Seattle to hear you! And bring a bunch of friends who’ve read and love your book.

  18. sarahsbooks February 14, 2011 @ 10:05 am

    Seeing your book in this form is fantastic. Particularly love the page with the chairs.

  19. Sandy March 1, 2011 @ 4:09 pm

    Oh Vivian I can’t wait to get my hands on My Copy!!

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