RETURNING to his gardening after a strenuous morning of golf Larry glanced quizzically at the printer, “why anyone slaves over a press on a day like this!”
(Larry is the sharp young architect who’s just designed that well-windowed, roomy, one story ranch style, concrete block and cement floor imbedded with radiant heating pipes, successor to The Hatbox which we hope to build soon on that acre out in Dover. It has room for a printshop, too – but naturally!)
We grinned and continued. We’d enjoyed scribbling this on our daily trolley sessions, planning the layout, not having to handset much but heads and fillers of this (monotyped, 11 pt. Granjon) issue, and now, a new paper was being born – one we hoped would bat a few listless printers off their butts and bean a few more mimeosloppists – a final body-blow before the proxy balloting – even tho it busts the budget wide open (probably’ll cost us that new sewing machine, as well, before the Mrs. is placated) and postpones all household oddjobbing.
One must admire the Coles’ forbearance at the frequent invasions of their privacy while this was being printed in Ed’s basement Oakwood Press, scarcely three miles from The Hatbox. We take this means of extending thanks for their hospitality.
by Robie Macauley
SITTING on the leather front seat of the convertible beside him, Joyce looked exceptionally lovely. Her brown hair, shaken out by the wind, caught small liquid points of sunshine and gleamed like a running brook. But there was always something uneasy and highly-charged about her handsomeness. Fred felt it even after three years of marriage.
He said, “You know, you seem to be different after spending two weeks up there with the Bourne’s. I don’t know what it is – did something especially good happen or was it just the rest and the swimming?”
Joyce turned her face to him quickly, then she looked back at the road. She seemed to be laughing a little. “No, my dear, nothing particular at all. Just that everything was so wonderful it seemed to be over almost at once. It was such a wonderful feeling again.”
“Yes. To be out in the open away from New York again. To be able to run down for an early morning swim without anything on before anybody else is up. And tennis, of course. You know how I love tennis and Charles Terry is such a good player. He mixes the world’s best cocktails afterwards, too, and that’s an advantage.”
“Charles? I never get the family straight. I’ve only met them twice.”
“Oh you know who Charles is. He and I used to go around in college. He’s Martha’s brother. Martha’s husband is Jay Bourne – he’s the big guy with black hair and the Irish face. The Richards’ were the young couple we saw getting out the canoe.”
She slid far down in the seat with a dreamy look on her face and her hair lay against the leather like an essence of silk. Fred turned his head and felt that sudden feeling about her beauty again. He thought he could see it sometimes in the eyes of other men – but what damned nonsense. Why should he imagine such things? He shook his head and some idea that had been gathering like an undefined cloud in the back of his mind disappeared.
“Tell me about them all. They sounded pretty interesting from what you wrote me.”
“Oh, Fred, they’re the most wonderful people. I wish I could live with them the rest of my life. They’re all quite talented, you know. Jay’s new novel will be out this winter – it’s about Sumatra. His last one – you didn’t read it – was the most wonderful success. Martha says Hollywood’s taking it. He’s a lot of fun. Not a bit snobbish. He used to read us parts from the new book while we sat around the fireplace at night. I think it’s awfully good and I want you to read it when it comes out.”
She was looking straight ahead and seemed to be talking not to him but to herself. She was looking above the skyline into the air and her voice was raised just above the narcotic singing noise the tires made on the concrete.
“There’s Martha herself, of course. The most obvious thing about her is that she’s still madly in love with Jay. But she’s done pretty well by herself. She designs that chinaware you see in the most exclusive shops. If you ever see a lamp that sells for three hundred bucks, there’s a good chance it’s hers.”
They slowed down briefly to cross a narrow bridge, but it did not seem to interrupt the monotone of the wind and the tires on the endless belt of concrete that slipped steadily beneath. Joyce went on in the hypnotized voice.
“So fine, so wonderful, all of them. The Richards’ are both musicians. He’s a coming composer and she’s an exceptional pianist. They’re so much in love and so happy. It’s infectious. And dear old Charles, of course. I should have more respect for him. He’s become a brilliant success since I last saw him. He’s had several one-man shows. Some of the magazines got interested in him and he’s had things reproduced endlessly. It’s so now that he can sell anything he paints at almost any price he asks. Such really superb pictures, too. He seems to have a genius for using spectacular and exciting colors with being crude. A wonderful feeling for form, too. Right now he’s become interested in nudes again. He’s been doing dozens of them – drawings, watercolors, oils. He likes the contrasts in texture between flesh and sand and the rough beach grass.”
There was a long silence. Fred drove with his neck unnaturally stiff. He stared at the road and the speedometer slowly passed 60 and rose closer and closer to 75. Joyce did not notice as she lay deeper and deeper in her seat, her eyelids drooping just slightly and her lips parted and just barely moving as she spoke.
“You remember I used to be crazy about him in college. He was just about the best thing that ever happened. Tall, good-looking, athletic, amazingly congenial and charming. And brilliant, too. So brilliant I’m still a little afraid of him. But for some reason, God only knows, I attracted him. I spent two years being the most breathless, lovesick little college girl you ever saw. I was just about crazy I was so happy when he said he was in love with me. I used to wait for him outside of classes just to be with him for ten minutes. I used to sit in the lounge of our sorority and wait for him nervously before every date. I was so afraid he wouldn’t come. Then we would go out and drink or dance or go for a ride in his car and I was so happy and so much in awe of him that I could hardly speak. He had to do most of the talking. And he did that beautifully. The man has yet to be born who can talk as persuasively as he.
“He was the first one to get me interested in good books on art, too. I remember that he first quoted Eliot to me. Later on, he gave me the Collected Poems. I learned about ever so many good authors and poets from him. I still remember the day he read me a Shakespeare sonnet and it seemed to come alive in his voice. Poetry hadn’t been anything more to me than letters on a page before that. Pictures hadn’t meant much either. On weekends we’d go to the galleries in the cities and he’d tell me something about the pictures. It’s so wonderful to hear him talk about a picture. You all at once realize not what it is, but what it means.
“I was nearly insane with happiness all that last year. I wanted to be with him every minute. I guess I ran after him pretty shamelessly. But he was worth it. He is one of those unbelievable men who is just as much at home in the middle of a cocktail party, on a horse, or in a studio; but he’s very best when you’re alone with him.
“Well, I guess I didn’t work it right. After we graduated, some girl in Boston took my place for a while. Then there was the war. Charles went through the Battle of the Bulge as a Captain in the Armored Corps, you know.”
Fred winced at this last tiny, extraneous sandburr. He had not gone to war. His head was still held unnaturally upright and his hands had a violent grip on the wheel. Her voice flowed on.
“Meeting him again after I’ve been married was rather funny. I’d expected that he’d changed, but it wasn’t so. Just the same as I’d remembered him. Except that he’s matured a little and isn’t quite so impetuous as he used to be. We took a long hike up the shore and built a fire at night and grilled a steak and had some beer we kept cold in the water. That’s lots of fun. Then we used to get up every morning early before anybody else and we went canoeing, played a lot of tennis, rode as often as we could get the horses and went dancing sometimes at the town across the lake. I did a lot of sunbathing too – oh, I almost forgot. Charles painted three different pictures of me and made ever so many sketches.”
“Head-and-shoulders or full-length?” asked Fred.
“Full-length, of course. Why do you ask? He’s sending one to a San Francisco show next week. It makes me look beautiful. Did I tell you that Charles is coming to New York this fall? He has a big studio apartment in the east 80’s with huge windows. He says it’s nicely furnished, has one big bedroom, dining room, kitchen and bath. He’s already invited us to his first party in September. It will be such fun having him here this fall. You’ll like him a lot, I’m sure.
“He has three or four commissions and is working on several quite large canvases he sketched out during the war. He’ll be the feature artist in one of the fall issues of Fortune. One of the ballet companies is trying to get him to do some sets for them and he’s had a thousand things he’s had to turn down – doing a painting for some big perfume company’s advertisement, for instance.”
Again there was a long silence. The car raced in unbroken speed through small villages, over hills, down into valleys, past railway crossings, up long slopes and, flashing, down the other side. Fred looked as though he had been startled, then quickly frozen, he stared so and sat so stiffly. Joyce, on her side of the seat, seemed almost to have fallen asleep, her eyes looked so heavy, her smile so contented, distant, drowsy. Her knees were drawn up and she slumped far down where no breeze reached her except to flutter her hair now and then. It seemed as if no one would say anything more.
Finally, Joyce seemed to have awakened a little. She rubbed her hand across her cheek and spoke again. “But why have I gone on so long about Charles. Why it’s enough to make you a bit jealous.”
As the newspapers later reported it, it could not be certain whether Fred had fallen asleep or had just been careless at that little bend in the road where the stone bridge is, just before you get to Westvale. It is pretty certain that it was still light enough for him to see. The road is unusually well-marked and the bridge is not narrow enough to cause much trouble even at the speed he was going.
Nevertheless, it was quite a messy and unfortunate accident because the car first hit the stone post at the entrance to the bridge with a sideswipe and then continued on through the fence along the bank and dropped about twenty-five feet into the stream.
A state police officer was quoted as saying that he couldn’t understand how anyone awake and in his right mind could have made such a mistake.
In cleaning ink from type and press commercial printers consume vast amounts of rags or wipers – often 50 to 400 pounds or more a month. Non-printers cannot appreciate the quantity required even by a flourishing amateur shop like The Oakwood Press. After using the same kerosine-soaked pair of worn-out underpants for the sixth time, RB, despairingly contributed the (under) shirt off his back. “What’s this?” exclaimed Cole, “a new rag? Fine! I’ll match you shirt for short.” The situation is rapidly deteriorating to a point where those involved must move to cheaper diggings so they can afford to discard their shirts and shorts more often.
Active Boston AJ’s wonder who invited the NAPA here in ‘48? Recalling 1921, 1924, 1930, 1937 and 1944 conventions we wonder if Beantown is one of only seven place that’ll have us?
This Amendment Mess
from Muddled Thinking
WE’RE appalled by the blizzard of constitutional amendments blanketing the March NA. Not just the number of changes but the vagueness, the redundancy, the visible lack of clear thinking in these half-baked proposals disheartens us.
The faltering failures of those fatuous fatheads who would fiddle with the brilliantly adequate constitution unanimously adopted less that two years ago is depressing.
The present constitution is the work of ex-presidents Morton, Macauley, Harry Martin, Cole, Parker, Townsend, plus Spink and Crane: men with 25 to 45 years experience in the NAPA. The current blight of amendments are the lamebrainstorms of neophytes who average less than eight years in the NAPA – many of them members with only two or three years membership.
We hope these hopefuls now realize their proposals do not appear half as desirable in print and upon the second thought (which obviously was not given them) as when they were so blithely ripped off the tripewriters.
Only pea-brains would quibble thus over moving commas, adding two words here and subtracting one there. We have a fine new constitution; let’s leave it alone. Anyone with reasonable native intelligence should be able to read it accurately.
Best solution is to vote No on all amendments this year.
NO on ALL amendments!
Among Those Active
We Note These Papers:
THUMBNAIL papers such as The Sword and Leaves leave so much to be desired. Their mere size breeds contempt. If many amateurs sniff disdainfully and throw out such “things!” who, then, can show non-amateurs such a 4 or 8 page 2¾ x 4 paper and expect to interest – much less impress – them with anything but the immaturity of a hobby or of people content with such trifles? Even the 800-1200 word apparent capaciousness of a four-page 5 x 7 paper handicaps anyone but a first flight writer-editor such as Burton Crane. If the editors of Cemetery Rabbit, Campane, and The Gig find difficulty in making such papers “sing,” then how can anyone but a pure genius produce an acceptable smaller paper?
Like most groups the NAPA is quite limited in geniuses (with half our crop now in Japan) and what budding geniuses we have, alas, seem genuinely dormant. Even our stutteringly nervous energetics realize their road to salvation is only thru producing a whole lot of nothings. We need more quantity, but we also need some quality as well. It is high time, we believe, for amateur journalists to grab hold of their bootstraps, slough off the mimeographic mediocrity condoned thru war years, and strive – strive for some slight degree of journalistic literacy. Make every paper something to be proud of.
Heins’ umbrage over the Spink Critic analysis of Phoenix points up the two schools of thought prevalent in A. J.: Either one is a craftsman, chasing hairspaces, polishing phrases, and trying to produce some trifle fellow-craftsmen will treasure, or else one is a blacksmith, racing half-jelled ideas “into the stick,” cheating on proofing, and dashing off pages of poop like a governmental mimeomill. Y’ pays yer two bucks and takes yer cherce. While our audience may be somewhat more critical than minks and United amateurs, still we read and appreciate the Tryout-Cat-Phoenix papers.
From the Segals a grade-A paper is no surprise. Harold has studied and practiced editing and printing since 1930 when his monthly Sea Gull began copping laureates for its authors and itself. Campane now is our only all-editorial paper of regularity: a lively pattern for aspiring editors.
Margaret Gimpl’s 1946 (Spring) seems to have been but a colorful one-season mimeoflower. Alas! Her sparkling, well-rounded paper was just the medicine we needed – not just once, but once every four weeks – at least annually.
‘T is hoped the short-sighted short-pursedness of easterners dominating the convention-vote last summer has not squelched the Far West convention-hopes.
We were just noting that Oregon, Seattle, and Los Angeles had all been ominously quiet since Newark, when up pops the April bundle (rec’d May 6) to kill that copy and also prove that the gin which nourishes Ginza Gazette has not yet run out. Ellis’ Southern-Californian is a joy – the finest club paper since Conapan’s demise; it is just a shame that iron-foundry-owner Ellis can’t grasp that $3 dues are beyond the ready means of many persons and especially teenagers. Agreed: NAPA membership is well worth $10 or $20 a year, but it’s hard enough to entice new members at $2 without making prospects and hopefuls pause to consider thrice (at $3) and decide against joining.
Jack Malarek’s jibes are tonic for A. J. heartburn and distress. Hope no one gags him; The Gig usually leaves us agog with giggles.
We were delighted with the first – and last? – printed Spicy Topix last September. But we wonder how President Haywood could go about removing himself for inactivity? Should he write himself a letter and wait for an answer – or should the Vice Prexy?
Who paid the Mailing Bureau to include that Boston for ‘48 convention seat poop? And who asked the Boston C of C to invite us? And who wants to visit Boston again so soon? Not the Boston Babcocks, certainly; we want to attend the NAPA conclave in Los Angeles in 1948!
The second Amateur Amateur certainly stole the show from all others papers in its bundle. Van Wervan has written one of the most thoroughly interesting papers of this year – or many years. His reports on conditions in Holland are sobering.
Shattuck’s Amateur Scribe grows in stature as C. A. gets his interest warmed up and his teeth into this editing hobby. An advocate of the sweetness and light, speak softly, and light no fires under drowsing amateurs school, the Scribe nevertheless reflects an editorial effort to improve, to measure up to the best of O-Wash-Ta-Nong, Californian, etc. Bravo!
In contrast to his quiet leadership this year President Haywood engineered one of the neatest publicity coups in over a decade thru the full page of AJ pictures in the May 25 Sunday News. It will be interesting to note the responses to this 4,800,000 circulation coverage, and especially whether it nets us any recruits.
As this amateur year draws to a close we note hopefully a slight surge of vitality, as seen in papers such as Cubicle, Interlude, Churinga, Ghost, Huggermugger, and Americana. These are the substance which make our day-dreaming, doodling, and dawdling with Amateur Journalism worthwhile. Among the host of mimeo’d botcheries and printed trivia these few solid segments gleam like lighthouses. And though Thrift and Edkins damned AJ for its illiteracy and lack of journalism – to say naught of lacking belles lettres – in their parting Aonian, still we concur in Guinane’s comment in Churinga 9:
Most of us know we have built our house of chipped and second-hand bricks…. We find in AJ exactly what we seek and make ourselves…. We play this game of AJ for our own enjoyment, not the diversion of those who merely watch from the sidelines.
The coming administration would do well to entice Guinane into harness to bolster our Bureau of Critics. Seldom has AJ seen the ample and thorough analysis found in Churinga’s columns of reviews. Whatever ranting we’ve done at mimeoslop has no application to Guinane’s efforts. The cleanness of his mimeowork is excelled by none save possibly Vigilantes, and his artistry and color work are matched by but few of our better printers, Churinga is a paper to enjoy, re-read, and emulate.
by Dora H. Moitoret
To walk on the land –
Grew foot –
Grew hand –
Trod earth –
Learned mirth –
Formed herds –
Spoke words –
Then man began.
In trees –
To be fish?
“Knowledge of the past is one of the marks distinguishing human beings from brutes. Little good their decisions if men are but slaves to the provincial bounds of their own day, unable to pass in their imagination through other ages than their own. Their problems have no point of reference; they decide the issues of the public and private life from no long and time-enlightened view. The inevitable result is a thinning of the individual and a thinning of the whole working of democracy.” – Prof. H. F. Lowry, of Princeton.
The G.I. Bill in Mexico
by Jack Coolidge, Jr.
WITH veteran’s education in high gear under the G. I. And Disabled Veteran’s Bill, and with even greater numbers lined up for 1948, the U. S. educational system is slopping over – over the border, in fact. Consequently some of us here down Mexico way believe that a little straight dope (as distinguished from travel folder syrup) might be useful to any hopeful student-veteran who is still nursing an itching heel.
Actually there are now over twenty institutions here in Mexico approved under the Veterans Administration. Some 350 G. I. Gringos are in Mexico City College alone, and the total number in the country is probably numbered in four figures. Without attempting to be either representative or complete, I will undertake to give a few slants on the life of a U. S. student in a small art school about 200 miles north of Mexico City.
The Escuela Bellas Artes was designed primarily for Americans and is one of the two Mexican schools where courses are given in English. Altho formerly only a summer school, it is beautifully situated in a former convent built around a patio. Recently it has evolved into a booming year-round concern under the beneficent patronage of Uncle Sam. Large open-air private studios are made available to the students. Instructors are about half local and half imported from the States, but all speak enough English to get by – even the ones from Brooklyn. There are a number of courses available which are seldom found at home (this is the one good reason for transferring between schools which the V. A. will usually approve). One such course is fresco, the art of mural painting on damp plaster. It was, incidentally, two Mexicans, Diego Rivera and Orozco who pioneered in the revival of fresco technique on this continent, and many world-famous murals are within easy reach.
My leading motives for coming here were three-fold: to see and study the important art for Mexico; to break ties with home-town distractions in order to get down to some solid work; and to see with my wife some new and colorful country while the opportunity was available. (She is likewise a proponent of the strange cult of art and enrolled in the school – making an ideal setup all around.) I might add that all my aforementioned objectives have been achieved here with the possible exception of the second: avoiding distractions. There is such an interprising and tight-knit U. S. community connected with the school that it is difficult evading the temptations of many social gatherings, excursions and other projects.
In the cost of living we at first anticipated a tremendous bargain, but this has proved a little deceptive. There are many items that impress one as phenomenally cheap at first sight, (cigarettes five cents a pack for example) whereas actually the total cost of living has approximately doubled during the war and in this town is not much less than similar places back home.
Generally speaking, labor is the outstanding commodity left in the low-price field. A maestro (master mason, plumber, electrician, etc.) draws down about a dollar a day here; semi-skilled workers fifty or sixty cents. A cook or housemaid often gets only one peso (21 cents) daily plus meals. These rockbottom wages have enabled some G. I.’s living wholly on their subsistence or slightly above to have a personal servant, cook or at least a muchacho (boy) for odd jobs. Some have even bought or built their own houses for a few hundred dollars. If one could content himself with an adobe house and live like a Mexican, life would be incredibly cheap. Glass, chromium, and Crane plumbing, however, have become pretty well ingrained in the Yankee scheme of life, and for items like these the gringo pays thru the nose.
To take our personal budget: fifty of Uncle Sam’s ninety-a-month (and we have been slopping over that too) goes toward our modern six-room house overlooking the town. For us this small casa, two stories, on a sloping acre of land and with all modern plumbing and conveniences, is all we could want. One exception worth mentioning is the old-style charcoal stove and the necessity of boiling all water – almost universal features of Mexican life.
Pinning the cost of living problem down to concrete facts, let me quote a few random prices for housewife and tourist alike: haircut – 10 cents; fresh eggs – 40 cents a dozen; sugar – 8 cents a lb.; butter (scarce and seldom pasteurized) – 80 cents a lb.; oranges – 12 cents a dozen; beef – 25 to 30 cents a lb., beer (which is better than U. S. beer) – 18 cents a bottle; Coca Cola – 7 cents. Mexican liquor proves mighty economical for occasional imbibers: rum from $1.25 up per quart; havanero (like rum) 70 cents per qt.; tequilla and mescal about the same. The latter are potent spirits made from cactus, comparable to U. S. “cawn likker.”
A good dinner with several courses runs from 40 to 70 cents; much less on per diem rates. Of course it is possible in some swank Mexico City hostels – designed to fit the overstuffed American wallet – to sink six or eight dollars for such fare. The same principle applies to board. In some very decent hotels we have paid as little as 50 cents each per night in a double room (flop-house rates back home); and $1.85 for two with private bath. The norm, however, is higher, sometimes approaching stateside hotel rates in resort centers. Various items which may be classified in the really “heavy sugar” are: souvenirs, hardware, imported food, auto supplies, transportation and all items designed for tourists primarily. The touristas have become the fourth largest industry of Mexico during the war, and in the more popular resorts are being taken for all the traffic will bear.
The Spanish language is always an element of the environment and a little knowledge or previewing of this lingo is a big advantage. A couple of months here will give anyone a basic working vocabulary.
Health is another problem – for Mexicans as well as Yankees. To be safe means drinking no unboiled water or milk, nor eating unskinned fruits or salads. Soda fountains are scarce and milk and cream products are also taboo because of undulant fever. To be honest, living standards are far from high; the national deathrate is still ominous, and the average Mexican lives on two-thirds the calories of the Americano and under conditions comparable to our poorest Southern sharecroppers.
Now that we have aired some dirty laundry, let us conclude with a couple of plugs for the Chamber of Commerce. At any rate, here where it only rains about an hour in a month (except summers), I certainly wouldn’t want to forget honorable mention for the climate. Shirtsleeve weather lasts all winter long (altho nights are cool) and in summer it’s not much different; and because of the altitude (6400 feet) and dryness one seldom breaks into a sweat in any season.
The general aspect of Mexico in the big mushrooming cities is often more American and more modern than at home, with flourishing construction work of the last word in architecture. During our OPA U. S. manufacturers unloaded here many of the luxury items that they could not profit on at home. The traffic of Mexico City, for example, presents a flashing stream of new chromium and white-walled tires.
All this is superimposed on the older Spanish civilization which gives most towns their definitely European atmosphere, but that in turn is only another heavier veneer over the deeply-rooted Indian heritage. The juxtaposition of these three makes Mexico today a land of contrast, change, and inconsistency. Local customs are an interminable mixture of traditions and legends. Fiestas, saints’ days, and holidays take up about one-half the working days of the year. Recent fiestas here saw costumed Indians singing and dancing in ancient tribal dances within the limits of the Catholic Church – a strange fusing of two different cultures. An earlier season brought forth thousands of eggshells, colored and filled with confetti or scented water. These were designed for smashing against the heads of all one’s amigos. North Americans were especially popular targets and I can still feel the egg shells in my hair.
After five long years in army camps and slit trenches, this colorful Mexican life seems like a mighty soft touch. It would be difficult to express appreciation to my home government up North which is making this possible. All I can hope to do in return is to bring back on paper, canvas, or in the mind’s eye some of the color, pathos, beauty and easy-going humanity which is Mexico.
Fellow craftsmen will be interested in “Quickee,” a waterless hand-cleaner put out by Tudor Chemical Specialties Inc., of New York. This beats even Lava Soap for getting printing ink off – just rub a little on the dirty hands, wipe on a rage or paper towel, and get on with your printing. Paint stores sell a 13 oz. can for about forty cents.
Dues Aren’t Everything
Only the Beginning
PRIME fault of amateurs today is that they expect NAPA dues to solve everything. Note these revealing Open Forum comments in the March National Amateur: Shattuck deplores the fact that our official publication seems like a business bulletin, wants biographies and history in it. Jeanne Sullivan suggests tapping our vast treasury for $100 an issue. Lindberg would make a newspaper of it. Parker (an ex-president who pays no dues) suggests increasing dues to deepen the porkbarrel.
Is there place for the flip gossip, opinions, politics, and spicy style of the successful newscaster in the association’s paper?
Can news kept three months still be news in a quarterly?
With current high prices can we afford to print a lot of biographical detail and historical background in the NA?
Aren’t we expecting too much from the NAPA and too little from individuals?
Until Brodie’s 71 pages (six issues) in 1900 The National Amateur had averaged 4 to 8 page 9 x 13 issues for a quarter century. Then competition to produce the biggest volume drove the total pages annually to 125 in 1903, 164 in 1906, Heins’ 159 pages in 1907, 103 in 1908, 105 in 1909, and W. Paul Cook’s 355 page volume in 1919.
But those volumes cost the NAPA only $25 an issue; anything over that was paid by the official editor, president, and interested contributors. Actually, many an official editor handset and printed his own issues!
Since 1930 (in the present 7 x 10 size) we have found 12 to 16 page issues adequate and interesting, tho ambitious editors and presidents have insisted on fat issues, culminating in the 48-pager (Dec. ‘44) Burton Crane personally printed at a cost to the association of but $75.
Conciseness is an art – an art seldom found among official editors. But that is no reason why the NAPA should commit suicide by increasing its dues.
Even if we increased dues and spent $150 an issue some would want more. It’s time we learned to do with what we have.
Dues paying is a mere formality, something like a hunting license. If you just sit in the corner, pay dues, and read, you’re no amateur journalist. To be an amateur journalist you must write and publish – not just once a decade but monthly, or at least quarterly.
Too many are expecting too much from the association and contributing too little to it themselves. We must get over the idea that A. J. is a paid-admission spectator-hobby like movies.
by Rowena Moitoret
The hills I saw as a child were high,
But then when I was grown
The hills that loomed across my path
And on ahead stood strong, rough hills
… Higher than I had known.
by Warren J. Brodie
The Troglodyte does not set himself up as a teacher of the typographical art, for he himself is the pupil and he has hired Experience as a pedagogue. Nor does he expect or wish to squirt any literary pap into an overfed public, for what the public thinks of this booklet is immaterial, and as far as circulation is concerned, The Troglodyte would have appeared just the same had there been but three persons in the world: the Cook, the Editor, and the Person who furnished him the financial dough to throw at the Cook.
Where is the Amateur Printer of the present day? Where is the person that could make a rattle in the shoes of an O’Connell or a Hill or a Shelp? Where is he? He is not. Where, too, are all the amateur butcher printers? They are all of them professional butchers now, and what slaughterers of good type they are! In my city there are 479 professional printers, and 476 of them are bloody butchers. The other three are cranks. I suppose this is why they are good printers. They will not print a job as the customer orders it, but will set it up a dozen times until they get it into such shape as pleases them. One of the three has long hair, and has been known to debate a month whether to put the quotes outside or inside the parentheses. He is so slow that his wife has to snake him around by the hair of his head, to keep him moving.
Another one has no hair at all, and for this reason no woman will live with him, as there is nothing to cling to. He thinks in Hebrew and Sanskrit, spends all he makes in buying accented letters, and polishes his type with Canton flannel and chamois skin. The third one is dead, so does not count.
The amateur printer of any description is a pretty rare bird these days. We are thankful for even the rankest kind of slaughterers.
– So wrote Warren J. Brodie in his paper, The Troglodyte, some time back at the turn of the century. History repeats.
Here’s to Limited Mailings
The Mailing Bureau, tho helpful to publishers of small papers, has many faults. It engenders the attitude, “Gee I paid dues; why don’t a lot of people [who don’t know you from Adam] send me all their papers?”
There’s no earthly reason why publishers should send you papers unless you’re active – unless you, too, write and, or publish. If you were active, Bud, publishers would be delighted to exchange papers with you. If you’re just a nobody who pecks out one droopy poem or page of tripe in three or four years, why should publishers remember you?
The Mailing Bureau robs publishers of the intimacy of addressing and sending their papers to each member or active amateur. A podfull or poop rationed once a month can’t compensate for that.
The Mailing Bureau should never be included in the constitution. It is merely a cooperative service to publishers – not a divine right of dues payers.
The National Amateur
A Few Suggestions
PARDON this further discussion of official organ finances, but a review of fundamentals is apropos.
The National Amateur Press Association is not a rich man’s playground. Our members are mostly of moderate means – many live in rural areas or towns where $2 still seems an appreciable sum, especially for hobby club dues. Hence we cannot afford to raise NAPA dues to $5 – nor even to $3; that’s beyond the budget of most teenagers (and many child-blessed parents).
Therefore, the Association income must remain about the same: about $400 yearly from $2 dues. But we can’t spend all that on the official organ. Recently we’ve had about $50 a year miscellaneous expenses. And we certainly need some money for an all-out publicity and recruiting campaign – soon – if we’re to interest and secure enough new members and editor-publisher-printers to keep this hobby from receding into a mimeomole heaven and dying out – as it so nearly did in the middle 1920’s.
[In the final analysis it isn’t mimeodaubed sheets that interest or inspire activity and recruits – one must be able to show a prospect papers like Campane, Feather Duster, Strictly Personal, Huggermugger, Wag, Americana, Ghost, and Masaka.]
Union printing wages rose about 18% early in 1946, another 22% this March. There are just about three ways to beat such increased printing costs:
1. We can cut the size of The National Amateur to 8 or 12 pages – or even reduce it to a 6 x 9 page affair.
2. We can have it printed in some grass-roots town (in Iowa, Vermont, or the deep South) where even union linotypers and pressmen are still contented with $50 a week, instead of the $80 to $90 a week now paid New York, Detroit, Chicago, and San Francisco printers.
3. We can elect one of our own amateur printers to the official editorship with the understanding that he’ll do part of the job himself. $75 judiciously spent still will buy quite a bit of linotype composition and paper; an editor-printer can do a better job of make-up personally; and the printing, binding, and mailing of a 16 page issue is no great chore – believe me; I’ve done it.
We believe the logical nominee for next year’s Official Editor is Secretary Guy Miller. Guy is a printer by trade as well as a vocation. Last year he served as Mailing Manager. He has just secured a 12 x 18 press (capable of handling the NA) and is known to be willing to undertake printing the official organ. We have dozens of potential Secretaries to fill out Guy’s two year term, but few printers who can render the association as great a service.
After the strong showing he made in the Newark balloting last year, the fine issues of Snafu he published here and abroad while in service, and his excellent work in reviving activity in Chicago this year, we’re amazed no one has nominated Bill Groveman for NAPA Vice President. Our vote goes to Bill!
by Jack Coolidge, Jr.
O Lord, when I think how far I’ve come
And the miles that I must go
I wonder why you made me feet
That itch to ramble so.
I never clean my dusty boots
But they come again to dust
And I must hit the highroad
When the highroad says I must.
The wheat flows round the rolling train
Weaving a grassy wake,
The weeds among the cinders bend
To print the trail I make;
Down the hollow the mountain freight
Echoes her mournful whistle,
And empty boxcars syncopate
Across the lonely trestle.
The river is a smoother road
When I go floating free
While from the moon a gleaming spoke
Rides round and follows me.
And when the moon sinks in the tide
And I clasp night’s frosty fist,
My feeble flesh and bones may shake,
But I’ll ride the morning mist.
My lonely girl will grieve with me
For being gone so long;
My farm will go to weeds again
From farming never done.
But still my shoes must find the dust
On a tumbleweed’s lonely quest
And I another million miles
Before I come to rest.
May we suggest marking your proxy ballot:
for President… Sesta Matheison
Vice President… Bill Groveman
Official Editor… Guy Miller
Recorder… Charles A. Shattuck
Judges… Any 3 who can read and print, i.e., Wesson, Segal, and Spink
‘48 Convention… Los Angeles
And of course, vote NO on all Amendments.
Are you eligible to vote? Have you been active? – published a paper? – or had a poem, story or article published? Hop to it, chum; there’s still time before the convention, before July!