Monday, August 8, 2011

Little White Dress

On Creating a Book in One Day

When I was nine years old, while other girls were playing with Barbies, I used to create my own books, magazines and newspapers for fun. My mother would give me a sketch pad and some markers, and I would disappear for hours. Usually my self-published opuses were themed—one memorable broadsheet purported to be from the fourteenth century. As I recall, it included ads for rat poison, a human interest story on a family who lost six children to the plague, and a lengthy obituary section, complete with “engraved” portraits (so I was a bit off in my Art History chronology!).

I still like creating books and magazines.  Only now I use InDesign, Illustrator, Photoshop, and most recently, the Adobe sketch tool on my iPad, which takes finger-painting to a whole new level. That’s only one of the reasons I love my iPad—another is that it has taken my reading enjoyment to a whole new level as well (for the future of books, see this TED talk from Push Pop Press

When I posted about thrift store wedding dresses two weeks ago, the incredibly cool facebook responses switched one of those proverbial little light bulbs on. “Let’s create a book in one day,” I said to my friend Elaine Ambrose. Elaine was the only person I could think of who would say, “Sure!” instead of blinking several times and politely trying to excuse herself from the conversation. I had worked with the pig-farmer’s daughter turned author and publishing maven on one or two previous projects, and I can tell you that if producing a book for print publication in one day is possible, Elaine and I will be the people who do it.

The book is called Little White Dress. And the book creation event is today. Local authors will gather at Elaine’s house for a writing group on steroids (or at least wine). We’ll be joined by friends from all around the globe in a project that promises to shed some light on that enduring question: “You paid HOW much for a dress you wore only one time?!?” (aside: men, I think this book is actually being written for you. If you really want to know a woman, think about her relationship to her wedding dress).

(Another aside: Is it, like, ironic or something that I will spend the entire morning in mediation trying to resolve differences with my ex-husband about our divorce agreement? When it comes to reading and interpreting that thing, he is Ruth Bader Ginsburg to my Scalia).

So the dress itself didn’t work out for me. But life has a funny way of taking you in unexpected, even delightful directions. I can’t wait to see how this one turns out.