Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Remembering and Designing Madeleine L'Engle

I just created my first design published on Lulu, A Circle of Friends: Remembering Madeleine L'Engle. There is an expensive all color interior first edition and the far more affordable grayscale, (black and white) interior.

The remembering part I did as well, I have an essay in the book. I took a writing class from Madeleine in the early 90s at the Episcopalian convent on 113th Street. Despite the palpable hero worship surrounding her, she had a very directed, concise, encouraging, and witty/tart presence. The book is full of wonderful examples of her advice on writing and warm personal memories from close friends. I wasn't part of the inner circle, not being nearly as interested in the Christian aspects of her writing as in the narratives and characters she sent through familiar and imagined worlds.

Designing the book happened sort of by accident, the editor Katherine Kirkpatrick needed help with some things and before you know it, I'd sunk into the project and did it all. Lulu was rather difficult to navigate. You simply cannot speak to a human. I discovered a cover could not be one point too narrow! Not one point or the whole thing was off. Argh! But once I got that it was an utter perfectionist and could not comprehend human imperfection (which may in its own way be an explanation of why the infinite and finite seem to have so much trouble communicating) the job uploaded and declared itself published. In the old days, when I worked inhouse at publishing companies, after a book was published we generally met and hoisted a paper cup with an undistinguished vintage and made noises about effort and talent and thanked everyone. So let me raise a cup to all the people who wrote, edited, designed, and coaxed this book into existence. Especially Katherine Kirkpatrick who always believed it was a book that needed to happen.


Joseph Hayes said...

We'll take any excuse to raise a cup, paper or otherwise, to your great talent. Sláinte!

Anonymous said...

Thanks, Claudia! You did such a great job with our book! We're already getting lots of compliments on the design! --Katherine