Gods, the smell of it. Earth, and wet, and clean, the soil exhaling, the breeze, not bitter, cool and pleasant, the cabin fever smell of inside being washed away by open windows, no more need for substitution scents, those of wet potted soil in artificially lit rooms, no more isolation from the elements but to mix with them without need of barrier walls or of cloth. The ice capping the river seems incongruous with the robin chirps and softened grass. Spring, a week away, feels as though it’s already come.
I and my plants have been kept in too long. We all are anxious to be outside. Eager, but cautious, as the last frost may yet fall.
The anxiety, I know, is all my own. The plants don’t know or think or worry about coming ice. I worry for them. I worry, also, that I’ll waste another spring on books, depression, and fatigue, and that in the fall I’ll have nothing to show for the growing months. No early efforts, mid-summer growth, late payoffs.
But I shouldn’t forecast or decry my failure before winter has even technically ended. There will be time for something, even if painting and homework and all the damned short chores, the kind that seem to exist only to act as impediments to what one wants to do with his time, keep popping up like particularly annoying whack moles.
The journal is nearly ready for print. I, my faculty advisor, the printer, and my section editors are down to squabbling softly over the cover. Most comments have amounted to “looks good.” Terribly helpful. I’m not entirely happy with the printer’s suggestions either. Had I more time I would have designed the cover myself. I may not be a 2-d fan, but I’ve enough of an art education to understand composition and layout. In doing it myself I’d have avoided the issue of mistranslation between what I have in my head, what I tell the printer, and what he makes for us. This is a process to remember for any chapbooks, zines, or future journals I may create or on which I might work.
Here’s a sample of the current cover:
When I said I wanted an atomic theme I was thinking rockabilly wastelands and dystopian alternative pasts, Mad Max and Las Vegas. Not the mere and awkward inclusion of a small radiation hazard at the top of our cover photograph’s picture. I suppose I should have been clearer. Or more emphatic. Definitely one of the two.
There’s much more to say on the journal and its construction process, and a lot I have to say as a writer and contributor rather than as the editor, but that will wait until the thing solidly exists outside the hypothetical sense of bits, bytes, and compressed files.
Spring is assuredly coming. Perhaps, like the bear with which my girlfriend associates me, I’ll be less grumpy when the trees bud. No promises on a decrease in likelihood to maul.