When we moved, quite recently, I rediscovered a book of poetry that I had written for a school project back in high school. I called it My Random Thoughts, so original... Seeing it all at once brings happiness and makes me cringe. I'm gonna level with you. Back in high school I'm pretty sure that I thought my angsty teenaged poetry was all that...and sometimes a bag of chips, too.
I mean, I was going through a lot. Being a teenager isn't easy. There was the usual trouble with parents: didn't appreciate my mom, estranged from my father. Crushing on all the boys...all of the, like, 3 in my classroom that weren't related to me, at the tiny private school I was attending. Swinging between feeling super self-conscious of my severely skinny and boyish figure to appreciating my many personal quirks. Suffice to say, I was definitely an emotional mess, but I wouldn't change a thing. Got me here. And, some how I made it.
It's funny to think about all this now. It's been so many years and so much growth since then, but I am amazed by my creativity. Especially now, getting back into creativity after a terribly rough patch. Specifically in this poetry book. So, I wanted to share it with you, in a few installments with some commentary from myself reading this, all these years later.
My Current Thoughts
I've done quite a bit of work with typesetting books over the years. I started laying out books for my husband, the author, then quite recently I've been working as an official typesetter at a local publishing house. I've also always been a huge fan of reading. I love books in any form.
This assignment was to create a book with a certain number of poems, a couple of which needed to be religious in nature (it was a Christian school, after all). It needed to be, after a fashion, a book and had to be original.
I think the name was me being lazy, I didn't want to have to spend precious brain power on a name when I had to write and share poetry for a school assignment...hence the name that gave me a lot of liberty in content. Once I had that settled, it was easy to lean into it and make something that was a unique picture of my own style. At the time this involved a lot of black, red and white. I was kinda going through a phase where everything had to be in this scheme...something that I'm not proud of, but it was only a phase. The creativity that still brings me happiness is the use of construction paper, cut into pieces and arranged to create the imagery. Still like to include this in my favorites of my work.
This project was long before I truly understood the parts of a book, or how they should be arranged, but there is a lot to be proud of:
- decently bound
- has a title page
- has a table of contents
- pretty cohesive design sense
I love the ingenuity I put into this assignment; I knew my limits and I worked with what I had. I think I used cardboard from a shoe box to create the cover, then plastered it with the construction paper, using the red to cover the edges and hide the fact that I wasn't exact in my measuring. This is something that has followed me through my career. I take stock of the parameters, assess what I have, and make a plan that often involves winging it. I think this is something that I am trying to relearn, as it seems to be a key part of my creativity.
These days I'm surprised by my ability to make something like this happen...because I can just imagine my thought process now. And it gets very mired in the process and detail before creativity...no winging it. Like I said, working on it!
Some things that make me cringe after gaining my graphic design degree, learning typesetting and all the personal growth I've seen in, oh wow, about 13 years:
- the font choice/typesetting
- the table of contents
- the word "by" on the cover is unnecessary
- I actually put "The End" on the last page and numbered it
The title on the front is noticeably squished; this physically hurts me. I probably thought the font was a cool choice. I am just grateful that it's not Papyrus or Comic Sans...those would be soooo much worse. My table of contents page is not terrible, but it should have been on the right (recto) side with a blank page on the left (verso). Also, I am quite sure that a 12 page poetry book probably doesn't need a table of contents, but that's OK. Overall, it's really not that bad. It is something that I'm willing to show friends, and now I'm willingly going to share it online...where everyone can see it.
OK. I'll share the poetry with you soon, and you'll get to see just how terrible my poetry was...or maybe, I don't know, someone might actually like it? I'll at least let you know how I feel about it with the angst of youth now turned into the stress and anxiety of adulthood.