Sunday, January 16, 2011

A New Imprint

Clearly the book world is a bit topsy turvy these days, like a Chagall painting.

Still, listen to this: The Pub Lab at the University of North Carolina in Wilmington, has a new imprint. Lookout Books.

Under the direction of Emily L. Smith, the imprint has published its first book, a collection of short stories by Edith Pearlman. Never heard of her, right? A glowing review landed on the front page of the Sunday Times Book Review.

This is rare, for an unknown spanking-new publishing venture to hit pay dirt with book number one.

I remember the Pub Lab. I worked with it a few years back to publish a posthumous book of poems I co-edited by Sue Versenyi. A student helped with layout and production. We met in part of a prefab trailer-ish building. The lab's function was to teach students about publishing. I saw a bunch of Macs in a messy space and listened to the then-director complain about not having money for projects.

Writers take note: Many of the authors Lookout Books plans to publish will have first appeared in the UNCW journal, Ecotone.
“We want to publish poetry, essays and debut novels,” Smith said.

Thursday, January 06, 2011

A Thorny Undertaking

"It is a thorny undertaking, and more so than it seems, to follow a movement so wandering as that of our mind, to penetrate the opaque depths of the innermost folds, to pick out and immobilize the innumerable flutterings that agitate it."

I read this Montaigne quote sitting in a pub at the airport yesterday waiting for my flight home from Philadelphia. I had traveled to the City of Brotherly Love because my mother was dying and indeed did die with me at her side.

Where to begin with the jumble of thoughts, images, and feelings all vying for air time. Finally I had time to sit and reflect. But where to start amidst the flutterings? I knew it didn't matter where I began--I just had to begin. Something my father said burst into my kaleidoscopic mind and lingered long enough for me to tackle it.

When my sister told him that her Episcopal priest was coming to deliver (or is it offer?) last rites and pleaded with him to be civli (my dad is a Quaker with little tolerance for religious traditions) he said:

"Hell no. I'm gonna punch the guy in the nose."

Aha. Go from there, I told myself. And I did. Sometimes a line of dialogue offers an excellent springboard into writing.