Holy crap! Only four more days until CCLaP's big trip to New York City! And for those who have been wondering why there's been so few posts here at the blog over the last few weeks, behold what has been taking up most of my time instead, as seen from within the mighty CCLaP main warehouse (a.k.a. a spare bookshelf in my studio apartment) -- I've been cranking out handmade books like a character from a badly written James Howard Kunstler novel! In fact, the only reason that our strategy of doing handmade hardback books instead of trade paperbacks works in the first place is that I don't usually need too many copies of them at any given moment, allowing me to just make a few here and there in my spare time; so at times of the year like right now, when I suddenly need 75 or 100 of them all at once, unfortunately pretty much every other thing in my life shuts down so to devote the time to the extremely labor-intensive bookbinding process, which is why book reviews and other updates to the blog tend to drop to a near standstill during such periods. (And don't forget that I am always on the lookout for those who are interested in writing funny, insightful book reviews here, although be aware that I'm extremely picky with who I bring on; it's a paid position but in a roundabout way, in that one of the things you'll write for the blog is an AV Club-style themed essay series, for example like Karl Wolff's "On Being Human" or Oriana Leckert's "Jugs & Capes," with CCLaP eventually turning it into a commercial book and with you keeping all of the profits. If you're interested in turning in some writing samples, simply contact me directly at cclapcenter [at] gmail.com.) Anyway, the good news is that I have less than five left to complete, so after we all get back (say, beginning the week of June 11th) you should expect to see reviews of books and movies as well as featured photos daily here once again.
And then in the meanwhile, this weekend the center threw its big "bon voyage" party for all the departing New Yorkers, up at the charmingly Hobbit-like outdoor garden space owned by CCLaP author Lauryn Allison Lewis and her husband Blake in the nearby town of Evanston, just across the northern border from Chicago and home to Northwestern University. This was ostensibly a perk for anyone who donated $50 or more to our Kickstarter campaign for subsidizing everyone's ticket costs to New York; but I have to admit, with the scope and size of the CCLaP staff growing so much recently, I also wanted this to be the first of hopefully an annual big get-together every spring just for people personally involved with the center, in that we are still mostly an online organization and so this is one of the only chances in the entire year for everyone to finally meet face-to-face. (In fact, putting the invite list together, I realized that there are now over 25 people professionally involved with CCLaP in one respect or another, be that published authors, commissioned artists, bookbinders, blog writers, interns and apprentices, or the Summer School staff; but more on that later this week, when I finally get the center's very first "About Us" page posted.) After being essentially a one-person operation for the last four years, it really gladdens me to finally see CCLaP start blossoming into the legitimate community organization that I've always wanted it to be since the beginning, and I have to say that it was a personal highlight of the year for me on Saturday to break bread and have (many) drinks with all these smart, funny and dedicated people who are now associated with the center. My profound thanks again to Lauryn and Blake for hosting all of us, as well as assistant director Traci Kim for helping to gather up all the food and liquor.
And speaking of that Kickstarter campaign -- yep, it's still going! Only one week left! Only...um, $2,170 of our $2,500 still to go! Okay, so yes, perhaps the fundraiser isn't going exactly the way I had expected; but with our Kickstarter goal only $1,500 instead of the full $2,500 of all the tickets added together, we're actually a more respectable $1,170 away from actually getting funded, which with some hard work we actually might be able to make in the next week. Remember, we've created a new anthology called Chicago Platter just for this fundraiser, featuring never-before-published work by all seven authors whose tickets are being subsidized by this Kickstarter campaign, so what you're actually doing when donating is "pre-purchasing" one of these books -- either $5 for the electronic version or $20 for the handmade paper edition, or $35 for one personally inscribed by all seven authors. (Or donate $100 or more and get not just this book, but free copies of all eleven "Hypermodern" books CCLaP has ever published as well. How can you beat that? You can't beat that!) Remember, if we don't raise at least $1,500, we don't receive any money at all, and therefore the anthology will never end up existing either, which is yet another reason to donate. I hope you'll get a chance to do so yourself very soon!