Is it March already? ALREADY? Wait, wait, let me hang on to February awhile…no, here I go, getting swept past February, into March, downstream fast…
So we’ve got our May release, A GALAXY OF IMMORTAL WOMEN: The Yin Side of Chinese Civilization, by Brian Griffith, all ready for the printer, and have already started happily fielding requests for copies. I was particularly pleased to get a cover blurb from Riane Eisler, since her book, The Chalice and the Blade, was uber important to me in my earlier days. One point that always stuck with me–you can see it did if you had a look at our Spring 2011 book, SNOTTY SAVES THE DAY–was that even though there was plenty of archaeological evidence of early cities that were not patriarchally and hierarchically organized, the evidence just got ignored. Not through a conscious effort to suppress fact, but just because, as Paul Simon once said, “A man hears what he wants to hear and disregards the rest.” There is a lot of research being done about just this quirk in the way we parse reality. It’s the same as it is in a personal lifetime: you can only see and hear what you’re ready to see and hear. Which should always make us very modest about our ability to make judgments, I think. And give us a sense of our own duties along a continuum of increased human grasp of reality.
Speaking of SNOTTY SAVES THE DAY, we’ve been working with the terrific people at Constellation who do all of our digital work: galleys printing, ebook conversions, and now, apps…and a great pleasure it is, since I’m now based part of the year in the same town. Which means, I bet you can guess, that we can do a lot of our work at local Happy Hours (and I’ve never seen a town take Happy Hours as seriously as Boulder does). They’ve done a new enhanced ebook version of SNOTTY, with our three trailers embedded in the proper places in the book, as well as all of the footnotes hyperlinked. A beautiful job, and it really got us thinking about what else can be done creatively with all these new platforms surging all around us in the literary sea. We’re developing an app for the HISTORY OF ARCADIA, of which Snotty was the first book. The second, LILY THE SILENT, comes out in October, and we’ll see what we can do to connect to Arcadia and open the channels to their scientists and the Arcadian Great Queen, Sophia the Wise, using every bit of technology we can possibly manage to master…stay tuned.
For the one year anniversary of the Occupy Movement, in September, we’re excitedly putting together PARK SONGS: A POEM/PLAY, by the poet David Budbill, whose latest book HAPPY LIFE is a bestselling book of poetry from Copper Canyon Press. (Appearances aside, we haven’t poached David from Copper Canyon, this is all being done with their blessing. Thanks, CCP!) It’s a different kind of book for him, more like his earlier JUDEVINE, which has been produced as a play internationally, than it is like his particularly elegant meditations on the tensions between an artist’s life lived on the margins of an empire, and the accepted cultural product of that empire. We love those poems. But this is something a little different, a real picture of the poignancies of every day life the way it’s lived by every day people, to either be read as poems or performed as a play, a bunch of voices, of the type that get overlooked, denigrated even, by the imperial world around them. There will be some performances of PARK SONGS at various venues around when the book comes out, and we’re working on making the book look as accessible as possible to people who don’t normally veer toward the poetry section of the bookstore. And the photos we’ve found to go with the book…a partnership, really, where the pictures developing the themes rather than just illustrating them…are unique…as our own Molly M. of A Literary Light says, they’re ‘absurdist and nostalgic’, which R. C. Irwin, the photographer, now claims is what he wants written on his tombstone.
We’re looking ahead to 2013 already, because that’s what you have to do, time rushes by so quickly, all we can do is dive in and swim like crazy to keep up. So look for our pirate mashup GREENBEARD, by Dick Bentley (and where’s that final chapter, Dick, eh? WHERE?) in Spring 2013, along with Mike Madrid’s collection of interviews with people about how they orient themselves in the world, how they explain the inexplicable to themselves: IS NOTHING SACRED? And after that, experimenting with a book written by a partnership, four hands with but a single voice.
And all of it, all the different subjects, coming from a similar place, struggling to illuminate alternatives to our stated cultural default setting which is, as Milton Friedman says, that the only way to live is to dominate or be dominated…
What are the alternatives the rest of us, except for Milton, live by, anyway? We need to get a little louder in speaking about them, for sure.