a little book on poverty and glory

I am terribly un-promotional. And a terrible ‘networker’ to boot. When it comes to publishing, something I love, the actual “publishing to an audience” part somehow eludes me. I like to write it, print it, or put it on the web but “publishing” implies that one is actually announcing and disseminating, telling others, cultivating an audience. As a writer, I’ve always found myself both in awe of and terrified of an audience. When I had a regular weekly newspaper column, sometimes with my picture included, people would recognize me, and I would sometimes cross the street to avoid them. It’s such a horrible instinct!

All of this to say, over five years ago I wrote a book. It is called A Little Book on Poverty and Glory. I spent a few months writing it, cultivating it, then I spent nearly a year laying it out and designing it. I commissioned an artist friend of mine, Linnea Spransy, to illustrate the cover. And paid a good penny to have a talented designer at Jolly Design in Austin to put it all together. And then I worked with both an independent letterpress in Chicago and an independent hand-sewing bookbinder in Madison, Wisconsin to bring it all together.

The result is a wonderful book, hand touched from start to finish. The cover won a national design award from AIGA, and is now included in the permanent collection of their design archives in the Denver Art Museum and in the Rare Books collection in Butler Library at Columbia University. How’s that for an unannounced book! And this hand-touched quality reflects the message, which is at its core about something quite mystical but missing from so much Christian spirituality: desire.

Because I put so much into the book, I was tempted to hide it for a long time. And I apologize for that. So here it is, an announcement, better late than never. I have about 125 copies left of first edition books. They are numbered and signed and for sale at Bread and Tongue Press. If you can’t wait to buy one, you can do so right here:

Bread and Tongue Press was a small press I decided to start with a vision of producing handmade quality books and zines. There are future projects coming. In the meantime, I am working on a new book. It is bigger in scope than “Poverty” but I’ve recently discovered that I have actually been writing this book all along. My computer is stuffed with essays that have never been published anywhere but are tied together by a strong thematic string. Hopefully this book will not take so long to reach readers. Sometimes artists like me need a push, need an engine–an agent, a manager, a publisher–who stands outside of them and says “lets take this to people now and stop fiddling with it.”

I am thankful for friends like Andrew Jones who just do it and don’t think twice. He wrote a kind blog about my book. I guess I’d say it’s my only promotional blurb!!

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