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Archive for February 2017

Story About a Story ~ Ep. 154

AbacusCover.pngWhile writing one novel I got frustrated so I thought I’d write a quick story about strange people and ended up writing another novel. The second novel is called Abacus Longing. It’s about an app developer who thinks she’s being stalked. She finds a thin book and the book has too many incidents and conversations from her life to be a coincidence. The book she finds has two high school characters: a math genius and a manga-artist/graphic novelist. The manga-artist is writing a book about an alien visitor to earth and the homeless scientist she meets. 

Three stories interwoven in one 50,000 word / 200-page book:

  • The app developer story,
  • the high school math genius/manga-ka story, and
  • the alien & scientist story.

Naturally, they all come together at the end when the developer discovers who the stalker is and the nerds discover their true purpose in life. What happens to the Alien and her Scientist buddy? I believe that’s another novel in itself. 

Abacus Longing is currently on my InDesign program being readied for printing out and possible e-book publication via iBooks and, maybe, Amazon. I’d love to get a manga-artist to draw the pictures for the manga part of the book (the alien & scientist bit) before making the ebook. 


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The Accordion II ~ Ep. 153

Accord_Merch_1_2Open.jpgBecause of a class I
took on the history of Japanese bookbinding, I have become more interested in accordion books which in Japanese are called orihon -folding books; much like origami is folding paper (gami being from kami meaning paper.) So I am making a larger book with writing on both sides. The writing hasn't been decided yet, but it may well be a related series of drawings because a short story on an accordion is hard - well, not hard, but clumsy - to read.

It is similar but different to the pictured accordion book in that the new one - still not finished yet - will, hopefully, be larger and better aligned with better paper.

I cased in four books last week and sold three of them this week. That is an amazing feat for me. If I keep it up, I may make money doing this. Ha! Keep it up. What a fluke this week was. But it made everyone happy.

Next: I have only nine or ten books to case in now. And I finished InDesigning two more. If I were making money, I’d hire me an assistant. That’ll be the day, to quote Buddy.

Next time: A story about a Story called Abacus Longing



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Semi-Tunnel Book ~ Ep. 152

Another Getting-Out of the Zone called Comfort. As promised: a Semi-Tunnel book instruction Without Pictures! Good luck, I hope I explained it well enough. 

I'm gathing my wits about me to attempt another challenge for myself ~ approaching a small coffee shop to allow me to teach simple bookbinding in simple English (or more complex depending on the students' English level) for a couple of hours. My current plan is to teach a variety of folding structures. They don't require glue or thread. And then a couple of pamphlet books that require only thread. The idea is not to improve their bookbinding skills but to improve their English skills through bookbinding.

But first! I must approach the owner to see if he will allow me to use his shop for a couple of hours during a slow time. The shop only fits five or six people comfortably. If I teach there, he will only be able to sell coffee to my four or five students. If I get that many. 

Let me know if you succeed in making a semi-tunnel book. Or if my explanation was too off to understand.


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Accord_Merch_Cover.jpgI just finished a three week listening course titled Japanese Culture Through Rare Books put out by FutureLearn and it was both informative and inspirational. One style of book in Japan is called the Orihon (折本) which is a folded book. In English it's called an Accordion book. I've never made an accordion book to my knowledge so this course inspired me to make one. Then, not being satisfied with the first one, I made a second one. My second orihon/accordion book is better than the first one.

The first one used blank scrap paper. Just to see if I could do it. The second one uses two of my short stories: The Merchant of Venus and Monkey, Dick, and I. To make an orihon/accordion book we first need to glue individual papers together, then fold it however we want, and add covers. Nice process and fun. The final book is also fun to read. I mean, you can read it while flipping rapidly through the pages.

 The book is about 115 mm wide and 160 mm tall. Slightly larger than A6 (about very roughly 4.5 inches by 6 inches for our north American Accord_Merch_Open.jpgcaptives.) It is about 220 cm long when completely folded out. (Again, about 7 feet for those who aren't conversant in the metric system.) And a whole lot of pages (see what I did there? If you’re a Zeppelin fan). It has a thin pinkish strap around it to keep it closed. The front part is the Merchant story and the back part is the Monkey story.

The Merchant of Venus, by the way, is a love / horror story set in another universe where females are created from the fingers of males.  (Not unlike making a female from a rib? Maybe?). The main character is a man who makes females from the fingers of his clients. He has made two wives for himself. Each female, however, as an expiration date: 20 years after creation. To make things livelier, they are born 20 years old. Having made two wives for himself, he has eight fingers. He retires but is blackmailed into making a woman for a government syncophant. But the woman created isn’t interested in the syncophant; she’s interested in the main character. So he has to make another woman from his own fingers, leaving him with seven.

Accord_Merch_1_2Open.jpgMonkey, Dick, and I is a con artist story about Monkey, a young girl (maybe 11 years old), who has fallen under the tutelage of the homeless and poverty-stricken ex-Navy narrator, the I in the title. Monkey and the narrator convince an old Navy friend (Dick) that Dick is the father and needs to take care of Monkey from now on because she needs a real family, an education, and consistency in her life that homelessness cannot provide. It is unclear in the story who is Monkey’s real dad: the narrator or Dick.

Making these books was a challenge but it is the Year of Getting Out of Our Comfort Zone so it is to be expected. While taking the Rare Book Japanese Culture course, I also learned about the tatamino-mono book (たたみもの) - a fold out book. I made one of those, too.






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