5 cents

The Making of J'Lyn Chapman's Bear Stories Chapbook

It's been a while since I've made a chapbook or homemade book. I thought I wouldn't miss all the stapling and printing hassles, but in a sick way I do. The driving force of publishing for me is replication, in the sense of meme propagation. Making money would only be interesting if each dollar bill was hand-printed and distinguishable from all other dollar bills. It's too easy these days to replicate something by posting it on the internet or by paying someone to print ten-thousand copies. By taking a backseat to the replication process you take the human element out of it—the fingerprint smudges and frayed trimmings that remind you a human did this.

The latest Calamari Press project I'm working on is a chap by J'Lyn Chapman, appropriate not just for the serendipity in her name (though I'm the peddler and she the author), but the writing itself walks the line of being antique and modern-minimalist; organic yet inorganic. These contradictions—along with spanning the dichotomies of tenderness and violence, stories and poems, whilst living in their own nether-neither ether—are what make it intriguing to me. It's called Bear Stories, an animal dear to my heart, though it's not really about bears. You'll have to read it to find out what it's all about. But here's some swag to tie you over—some images I made to go in the book and a video of the making of it.

Here's the cover, fold it in your head...

Bear Stories by J'Lyn Chapman

Here's a video of the making of the actual chapbook object, from coming up with the cover design and art, to printing, stapling and belly-trimming it...

Here's another image from the book. No bears were hurt in the making of any of this. These particular bears are the ones that live next door in the Museum of Natural History.

Midlake of Bear Stories

Here's a "chabook trailer" made from the images. Perhaps it's the first ever trailer made for a chapbok. That's J'Lyn reading two of the pieces from it...

And here's a final image that recombines the others.

Bear Stories (art) by Derek White

This is the only one that survived the soaking in the stream in the name of art. If anyone is interested in having it to hold or hang on your wall, it's yours for $200. The water damage comes with it.

Bear Stories is now available from Calamari Press.


(c) 2007 Derek White

Five Senses Reviews