Day: January 21, 2010

Getting ready to print

Our printer called us this afternoon. They were worried about us because it has been over six months since we printed books with them. The call was to see if they could win back our business. We assured them that we are completely pleased with their services and that we intend to be printing again come the end of February. I shot off a formal request for a bid via email once the call was over. And so the process of printing Resident Mad Scientist begins.

We seem to be chronically behind our intended releases for books. In theory we’re releasing 2-3 books per year. We’ve never yet managed three. Tub of Happiness was solo for it’s year because I had to learn how to do layout to put together the book that followed it. That took time. Teraport Wars shared a release year with Hold on to your Horses, but then Howard had to re-color before he could release Scrapyard. Last year we did put out two books, but one of them was XDM, not a Schlock book.

I feel like finally we have a system down that will work. Finally we have Travis doing the re-coloring so that Howard can focus on bonus materials and cover art. I have high hopes that we can finally maintain that 2-3 Schlock books per year which will allow books in print to catch up with the online archive. This is the brass ring we’ve had our eye on ever since we first printed a book. Every year I do some math and think that we could achieve it in two years if we really work hard. Then we work really hard, but the goal is still about two years away. Life kept throwing us unexpected obstacles and opportunities. Our plans shifted. Looking back, I can see that we’ve walked the right path. We’ve made the right choices. There is nothing to regret. But I still want to grab hold of that brass ring.

I opened up the InDesign file for Resident Mad Scientist which has lain idle for nearly two months. There was no need for me to spend time on it while we were waiting on Travis for the coloring. My attention was needed elsewhere. But the time has come. I need to pour creative energy into this project. I need to find the right margin art. I need to construct footnote boxes. I need to organize and copy edit. It feels good to be picking up these skills again. They are familiar now instead of stressful. I’m looking forward to getting Resident Mad Scientist done.

Roller Skates and Falling Down

My knee hurts today and it makes me glad. I scraped and bruised it while attempting a one footed turn on roller skates. The injury doesn’t prevent me from accomplishing anything I want to get done, which is good. Instead feel the twinges and think “Oh yeah, I got to do a fun thing yesterday.”

I didn’t expect the roller skate outing to be as much fun as it was. I was one of three adult women shepherding a dozen girls ages 8-11. I expected to be bored while watching the girls skate. But then we walked in and the rink was almost empty. And the music was playing. And sitting still seemed like a silly choice. So I ponied up my dollar and put on a pair of skates. Then I rolled.

I had a roller skating party for my fourteenth birthday. My three friends and I huddled and giggled while examining the teenage boys who were also present. We even spoke to the boys once or twice. I remember rolling on the skates, feeling beautiful in my new peach colored sweater. I skated carefully, so as not to fall down in front of those boys or my friends. I gave one of the boys my phone number when he asked for it. He never called.

More than 20 years later I rolled skates on concrete again. I didn’t have pretty new clothes or anyone to impress. Other than being available to pick up a fallen girl, I had no obligations. So I rolled. And when the music was good I danced a little while rolling. And I attempted tricks I would not have dared do at fourteen. I am far more confident in myself and my body than I was then. I have figured out that half of looking good is not being afraid to look silly. So I did some tricks. And I fell down and scraped my knee.

That moment, the falling moment, was a bit of a reality check. I over balanced. I could not catch myself and I saw the concrete coming. Uprighting myself, and examining my knee to assess the seriousness of the damage, I realized that there are other differences between fourteen and thirty-six. Children and teens are far less likely to be seriously injured after a fall. Their bodies have elasticity and resilience which fades with the years.

I’ve been skating several times in between my fourteenth birthday and yesterday. I’ve been skating several times in the past couple of years. Our elementary school has monthly skate nights and the kids frequently beg me into going. So I went. And I wore skates. And I skated carefully, slowly building confidence. And I was pleased with myself for not falling down at all.

I stood up in the rink and flexed my injured knee. I could tell it was not broken. I knew it would be colorfully bruised. Only later did I discover that it was scraped under the pants. I had been given a reality check, and I had a choice. I could skate to the side. I could stop attempting tricks. Or I could accept the fact that falling down is part of learning. My body is no expert on skates. I have not had much practice perfecting basic skate moves. If I want to get that practice, I have to be willing to fall. Then I have to be willing to get up and try again. So I did.

I fell once more before the evening was over. I spared my knee by bruising a hand. I did not seek to fall down, but I did not let fear of falling prevent me from trying new things. I did better with each thing I attempted. When the time came to leave I was tired, but triumphant. So each time my knee twinges today, it reminds me that I got up and went on. It reminds me of the graceful flying moments which were all about the wind and the wheels and the music. The true measure of triumph is not in avoiding the fall, but in getting up to try again after it.