THIN SPACES indeed! Thin spaces of time sandwiched in between other activities – other uses of that valuable asset, time; time for providing the things necessary for the proper discharge of our daily responsibilities. And time for doing the numerous other things that make life worth while, such as printing and publishing.
Speaking of printing, there’s one hobby, the discussion of which, or the pursuit of which, offers greater satisfaction to me than any other subject or hobby. And for my part, it is satisfaction to me whether I’m working out a commercial job or doing a piece of work solely for the fun it gives me, such as this slender amateur paper.
As the saying goes, there is a reason for all things; yes, even for the birth of Thin Spaces. So, now I’m faced with the birth of a reason. But births quite often come in plural numbers. Well, let’s see what we find now. First, a desire to print. This paper is printed to fulfill that desire and it will also provide the satisfaction mentioned above. Second, the desire to publish. That reason will take care of my minimum obligation to the cause of amateur journalism. (Minimum indeed! Who could do less and claim active status?) Third, the urge to publish Divertissement Number 3 has been felt for quite some time, but for reasons unconvincing to others it has seemed wise to defer that action. Hence, instead of another Divertissement, this appeasement.
Then there stands on the books of this editor a long standing obligation and no hope is held for its satisfactory discharge. But at least I can, by this means, acknowledge it. That debt is in favor of many members of the National Amateur Press Association who wrote me in praise or criticism of those two issues of Divertissement; particularly those whose letters or cards have gone unacknowledged. Truthfully, after Number 2 was completed, and seeing that I had missed my goal in so many ways, I was not at all proud of the result. The mailing was, accordingly, cut so short that, with a little persuasion, I could still fill a good many requests for copies.
So there still lingers with me that long standing ambition to produce a deluxe journal typographically perfect. Neither I nor anyone under the sun can ever hope to publish a journal that will not attract criticism of some nature: appearance, contents, design, presswork. And has there yet been produced a piece of writing that was accepted by all who read it without a word of criticism or argument? To whomsoever that happens, may his fame live forever!
As much as I would enjoy publishing a deluxe journal, I probably will not attempt it this year or next, and that’s far enough to look into the future. Why not? Several years ago when Avondene Private Press came into existence my idea was to eventually do a little book publishing. Subsequently, I found that the first problem is to acquire the material suitable to this class of publishing. Suddenly and unexpectedly I now find I have come into possession of material for three such books. With that problem solved, now will come a test of my ambition and, perhaps, of my skill. A publication date is still far in the future – I hope in my future.
How happy can a hobby printer be? For one answer just promote yourself from an 8 x 12 o. s. to a 10 x 15 C & P. n. s. with variable speed control and other conveniences; with the transaction, a truckload of type, furniture, metal and miscellaneous appurtenant equipment and supplies. Anyone want a ton or so of Century Expanded? Or a few armloads of wood furniture and reglets?
An orchid to our president and her fine working staff who are making history for NAPA this year; to the official editor also for a creditable National Amateur. Now comes, too, that excellent revision of Amateur Journalism by Joe Bradburn, the best literature on the subject… valuable in recruiting.
Since I have in late years become keenly interested in various phases of graphic arts and more particularly in letterpress printing I can look back across a few decades and spot any number of incidents or associations that no doubt supplied the seed which were to eventually produce this form of artistic expression. Of noteworthy mention, beginning at about age ten, my school buddy possessed “miraculous” talent for art – drawing “pictures,” that is – (becoming a painter of some note in later years) and demonstrated what I interpreted as masterly skill in his schoolroom productions. It may have been a germ of instinctive talent in my being that gave me the urge to copy his works or to produce others of my own. Anyway, several years association as neighbors and schoolmates left in me a healthy ambition to accomplish something in the field of art.
It is here recalled a bit remorsefully that I felt my future was practically assured if I could only enroll in Fine Arts Institute of New York (by mail, of course) and become an artist. My brain did not permanently record the type of approach used in selling the idea to my parents, but somehow the ten dollars tuition was dispatched and in due time came that elaborate box of oil paints, brushes & instruction books. And that was about the ending of that ignoble experiment.
Of related interest also is the fact that this same buddy was responsible for my initial interest in typewriting. Being of a prosperous farm family, he and his brother acquired a used Smith-Premier, the machine with double keyboard – no shift keys. Should be helpful in learning the Linotype! O, happy days, when I was permitted to punch a few of those magic keys! Amazing invention! Blessings on the soul that developed the later models that were in use when I made my living as a stenographic reporter.
Then while pioneering in west Texas, when my mother, after raising a family of six, and four of them still at home, took up oil painting and turned out some really creditable canvases, my artistic bent still persisted, without notable outward expression; but symbolizing my various creative periods are two or three “masterpieces” on our walls and plate rail that my long-suffering wife refuses to relinquish.
There it was also that I first got the smell of printer’s ink by loafing around the shop while the county’s weekly paper was being run on an ancient press principally by manpower. It was more than thirty years later that I set up in Denver my own first shop, complete with 8×12 o.s. C&P, if you please, and of all things, a 19-inch lever cutter. Oh, for one today at that price!
And during all those speeding years there existed without my knowledge the National Amateur Press Association, an organized group of amateur writers, printers and publishers! To have known of them and to have had the advantage of earlier membership would unquestionably have steered me to a different goal – perhaps a less successful one. Who knows? No regrets… none at all.
This paper was printed 4 pages up on 10×15 C&P open platen.
Number One, February 1953
Printed and Published by
George I. Haney – Lafayette, California