making a book

Back in July, I went to Hannah Braun, my friend, downstairs neighbour, and designer extraordinaire, and told her I wanted to make a book. 

I had come to the end of my powers as an illustrator and book designer, and I hadn't put out a zine in a long time. I had a pile of new poems I wanted to publish. 

Yes, she said. Let's make a book.

Hannah told me to collect print materials I liked the look of. I showed up at her door with two paperbacks printed in the 1960s, a copy of Cinema Scope, and a box of herbal tea. 

I said, I don't know how to talk about how all of these are the same, but I think they are.

She immediately gave me a crash course in fonts, colour schemes, and 20th-century design trends and confirmed that yes, in a way they were all the same. We decided to give the book a green cover printed with black and white, and Hannah sent me back upstairs to think up a title. 

I spread the poems out on the couch. I made a list of references and themes. They were about love, and jealousy, and Saskatchewan, and ambivalence and threat and reward in human relationships. We decided the book should be called Accomplice and that there should be an insect on the cover--one from the prairies.

I wanted a Dutch Elm beetle; Hannah said they were too ugly. We looked at stock images. What about a cricket? one of us asked. Kaylin could draw it. 

Kaylin Put had already designed and tattooed wheat and canola into my shoulder and Dylan's forearms. She came over for breakfast one morning and the three of us talked. She said she could do the cover illustration. 

As of yesterday, it looks like this:

Accomplice is coming out in the spring--16 new poems, including this one. It'll be available for pre-order February 1.