I spent this past weekend in July binding five complete volumes of THE CHRONIC DIARIES. I think I did a pretty good job with the sewn bindings, leather spines, and leather covers. A professional bookbinder might snicker a bit at my work, but if I had a large book-press instead of the make-shift press I cobbled together using plywood and C-clamps, they would look better. Having sewn sections does not hurt the bindings.
The five volumes are about two-thousand pages of essays I have written in the past eight years. Some of them are fun to read….even to me….and the best part of some of the others is this leather-bound volume that contains them. You can make your own decisions; though the essays are here for you to read, you’ll have to come inspect the bindings yourself. All I have to show you of the bindings is these pictures.
I am a committed blogger…an addicted blogger. Sometimes I am an inspired blogger. I always prefer my writing inspired, when I can get it that way. The uninspired writing, well, I don’t care much for it and you likely don’t either. Sometimes the uninspired is all I have. We go through the motions when there is nothing else, waiting, perhaps, for the else. It will come, eventually. It might even be unrecognizable, but others may see it. If they do, I wish they’d say so. Well, maybe not, because they may decide to say so when they encounter the more typical uninspired.
“Say, Chris, that was a particularly fine example of uninspired writing you published this morning,” a half-dozen or more e-mails may decry. I can’t say as I’d take much inspiration from that, though I doubt it would slow me down much. Persistence is sometimes its own reward. Sometimes, it is pure persistence that makes us wrestle inspiration out of its hiding place, not by coaxing, but in a similar manner as if trying to take a pork chop out of the mouth of the neighbor’s pit bull. There may be a scar or two if we get the pork chop. There also may be a scar or two if we don’t. Perhaps it’s the scars and not the pork chop that yield inspiration. I reckon it’d be a powerful flash of inspiration that would make me wrestle a strange pit bull for the pork chop clinched tightly between his teeth that he was adamantly persuaded was his. As long as he has the pork chop in his mouth, he can’t bite me. If I get the pork chop, I may get some repercussions. How bad do I want that dog-slobbered pork chop?
Hmmmmm! That deserves further consideration.
Inspiration comes in the most remarkable ways. It mysteriously overtakes you when you least expect it. These five bound volumes look good on my bookshelf, I think. While the volumes themselves are not much to write about, the inspiration that caused me to make them in a whirlwind of activity is. I made one, then was overtaken in a fury to do the rest of them. I got better at it as I practiced, with Volume V being much better bound than Volume I. Practice makes perfect.
At 90 years old, the late, great cellist Pablo Casals was asked why he still practiced five hours every day.
“Because I think I’m still improving,” he replied, taking another bite of his pork chop and waving it over my way as if to ask,”Wanna bite?”, then whacking my hand with his cello bow as I nodded and reached for it. He’s as bad as the pit bull.
If learning is improving, then I am improving every day since every day presents itself as an opportunity to learn something: if not about the world at large, then about myself, though I admit that some of the things I learn about myself are not so pleasant. For that reason, I think it is the things we learn about ourselves that are the most valuable, particularly if we do something with the things newly learned. And if we don’t?
Perhaps that is the very definition of foolishness.
©2016 Mississippi Chris Sharp