Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Big Fat Press Tiptoes Out of Retirement

My poet pal, Regie Cabico, wrote me with great news: he has been appointed artist-in-residence for NYU's Asian/Pacific/American Studies Program and Institute for 2005-06. Way to go Regie! He is among the first people I published on Big Fat Press, my little chapbook operation, and long story short, he talked me into doing reprints of his 1997 title, I SAW YOUR EX-LOVER BEHIND THE STARBUCKS COUNTER. Here's a blurry photo of the 1997 book.

We decided to make it a 2005 edition, and since I couldn't find the plate for the old cover, we're doing a new one. I thought I'd share the process, since this is the proj-aholic's fun part of home-publishing. (The reason I quit doing it was the other crap--bookkeeping, distribution, etc., plus, I decided I had more invested in being a writer than being a publisher.)

But now I'm on a craft/nostalgia kick making the new books. I'll share with you the process so far:

1. Ok, the editorial stuff, well, we did most of that already. I updated copyright, bio, acknowledgments, and also-published pages. The rest I left alone. Had a nice meeting with Regie at one of the many Starbucks at Astor Place, where we congratulated each other for keeping it real.

2. The new cover. They are linoleum block prints, which I do on plain old floor vinyl. Cheap, fun. I decided to go for a look like someone drew a fake Starbucks logo in chocolate syrup. Kind of like a choco-monoprint. (Aside: I love the monoprint, especially when done in unorthodox media. Check out these "motoprints," made from used motor oil, by my old UCSD classmate Perry Vasquez.)

3. But I'm making a lot of 'em, and I ain't the draftsman Perry is, so I started with a computer. Designed the "logo" in microsoft draw/word and then tranferred it to the linoleum with a "blender" pen.

4. Then the carving. I generally do this while watching TV. I use a wooden frame so I don't have to hold the plate with my left hand and get bloody jabs all over it.

Suspense! The proof will be in the proof, which does indeed look like chocolate. I'll get my act together and photograph it, along with the binding process, soon, I promise.

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