“All beginnings are delightful; the threshold is the place to pause.”
COULD be I agree with Goethe, for I’ve paused on the threshold ever since April of 1953 when Number 1 appeared. At that time printing was not yet my passion and I foresaw only one printed publication, growing or changing, whim-blown. Now I know I’ll not confine experimenting to a single publication; but before kicking up typographic heels I want to learn how to lay out, set type, and print my papers myself, so Seedling is my practice paper.
I’d like to design something daring, but these years under the influence of “craftsmen” who favor a dignified style may have conditioned me so that I can’t be a non-conformist. Borders delight me, I love ornaments, and color fills me with joy. So why must I accept the dictum that only the starkly plain is “artistic”?
An adult is required to remember his dignity. But just how important is dignity? Sometimes I want to run for the sheer joy of being alive and feeling good, and yet I’m so awed by what people would think that I wouldn’t run down our front yard slope. Instead I have trained Presh, my Galley Cat, to take off madly when I chase him; then he circles a tree and I run and he chases me. So I get my exercise and the neighbors condone it because I’m not just running aimlessly.
With no more justification than that he was sponsored by Burton Jay Smith, I’ve had a proprietary interest in Jim Guinane and his Churinga. My delight in his accomplishments has been tempered by exasperation at my lack of them, but that is soon forgotten when I am immersed in the pages of Churinga. This is not a magazine to be leafed thru and absorbed in a rush; it is rather to be laid aside and read when there is the prospect of an uninterrupted hour.
Reading Churinga is like enjoying a leisurely winter conversation with a kindred soul before a fireplace. He nurses his pipe, and I have a bit of embroidery, and the evening ends in a fine glow of accomplishment: we have tied up the loose ends of A. J. and my monogram is stitched.
I learned to read before starting to school, and reading has been a passion to which even eating (Grace Phillips and Charles A. A. Parker please note!) takes second place. Blessed with parents who disdained censorship, my reading was truly catholic, and I still cannot settle upon any one, or even a few preferences. But I like three-dimensional writing, and Jim is our most nearly tri-dimensional scribe. I could fill pages with an evaluation of Jim’s ability, but there is one dividend for which I bless him. Sometimes when those who have been failures in the hobby because they had nothing to give, try to belittle it I can re-read Churinga and regain my faith.
Never Trust a Woman
Wise men know better than to trust a woman; when she is a printing-woman they’d be wiser to be even more wary. This ties in with the remark that we can do what we want to. The nominating committee of our local Writers’ Guild suggested me for President but I had promised to publish The Lily for the editor candidate. Then I evaded office in my S. S. class by offering to print us a Year Book. If I had a Better Self, she’d be squirming at the way I’m doing what I want – printing – and getting praise for it!
Set with 12-pt. Cloister Oldstyle, unleaded; quotation in 10-pt. Cursive; title in Deepdene 18-pt. once Ralph Babcock’s. Cut is a reduction of one of Marvin Neel’s; ornament is an A.T.F. Cleland Combination. Printed, with considerable assistance by my better printing-half, by
Shady Acre, Roanoke, Virginia
For the National Amateur Press Association.