Sunday, June 15, 2014

The Lonely Office, of course, of course.


Welcome to this week's edition of the "Saturday" update.

Progress Report:

I'm working on page 35 at the moment.  Making pretty good progress, too.  I've also started researching places I can get a short run of books printed (100 or less), which is turning out to be a little more difficult than I had expected.  Mostly because of the size of the book.

I'm not sure if I've mentioned this before, but "Saturday" is 11" x 17".  Closed.  Open, the book is 11" x 34".  That's pretty big, even for a children's book.  It's like a coffee table book.  The size was a creative choice I made early on for the same reason I made every other creative choice: I'm making the book I would have wanted to read as a kid and also one I would want to read as an adult.  But those choices may result in some...hiccups in actually getting the book published.  Many printers can't or won't handle that size.

At this point, I have no idea what's going to happen.  It's possible that, for one reason or another, no publishers will be interested in picking up "Saturday".  If that's the case, I'll scratch together the money, have the whole thing printed by my lonesome, and get it to you by hook or by crook.

Ok, enough on that.

Regular Part:

Today (the day I'm posting this, anyway) is Father's Day.  And what sums up the occasion better than a super-depressing poem by Robert Hayden?

Those Winter Sundays
Robert Hayden 
Sundays too my father got up early 
and put his clothes on in the blueblack cold, 
then with cracked hands that ached 
from labor in the weekday weather made 
banked fires blaze. No one ever thanked him. 

I’d wake and hear the cold splintering, breaking. 
When the rooms were warm, he’d call, 
and slowly I would rise and dress, 
fearing the chronic angers of that house, 

Speaking indifferently to him, 
who had driven out the cold 
and polished my good shoes as well. 
What did I know, what did I know 
of love’s austere and lonely offices? 

I hadn't read this poem since the 9th grade.  That was...a while ago.  But I always remembered
the line "love's austere and lonely offices."  In the 9th grade, I didn't really understand the poem.
And I sure as hell didn't understand the thing the poem was talking about, in spite of Mrs. Murran's
best efforts.
Poor Mrs. Murran.  You can lead a horse to water, but this horse was way too dumb to understand
Robert Hayden.
It’s kind of an old-fashioned poem, but since we lived in an old-fashioned house with a wood
stove, my father did, in fact, get up early to make fires.  And even with a one-to-one DIRECT
comparison between my life and the narrator’s life, EVEN THEN I didn’t get it.  And, after building
a fire, he would then go to a literal austere and lonely office and work for 9 hours.
And yes, I spoke indifferently to him at times.  And no, I never thanked him.
My dad and India’s dad (Fred McGreevy) feel similarly about their office jobs:

 These days, I understand a LITTLE bit better about those austere and lonely offices (the literal and
the metaphorical ones).  So on this, the most fatherly of days, I'd like to say:
1.) Sorry about the speaking indifferently thing.
2.) Thank you for polishing my good shoes.  And for everything else.
3.) Happy Father's Day.


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