One of the main time-sinks over the past couple of days that led to me missing posting (which, frankly, I simply "ran out of day" on, thought about it a bit after midnight on both) was finishing up on the re-issue of another of my old chapbooks, this one being 1996's Some Semblance of Decay ... the third of my 2-year collections that are now available again (in both print and ebook versions). As I've mentioned, back in the day I used to write a lot of poetry, 250 pieces a year, year-in-year-out. Most of that I got into (virtual - ink doesn't hit paper until somebody orders a copy, and that has yet to happen) print last year, with a dozen books (available HERE). Of course, plowing through 3,000 poems is a bit of a task (even for me, which is why I've only got one book's worth of samples up - as that requires going through all the poems from each month to pick one to record a reading of, and get a video up with the poem). This is why I consider my old chapbooks "my best work", as they represent what I thought was the best 10% or so of the 500 poems of a 2-year period (the current one is from 1994-1995).
I have frequently had people grab one of my chapbooks, with the clear intent of mocking me, only to suddenly come up with "these are really good!", so it's not just MY view that this is quality stuff. I have been thinking about my own mortality a lot over the past year, so getting these things into a form that is not as likely to disappear (on Create Space rather than in a few hundred copies of a saddle-stitched "pamphlet" randomly distributed across the planet) has become something that has attained somewhat of a priority for me.
One thing that's been a bit of a challenge is re-creating the covers, though. Given that these date to a very early period in the computer age, the graphics were not created electronically, and going from the 20-year-old books (with black/grey ink on a purple cardstock in this case), through a scanner, into a graphics program, and then being re-worked to function as graphics for both a print edition, and an image for the Kindle, presents significant difficulties. In the case of Some Semblance of Decay, the cover image was a snapshot taken on vacation, blown up on a copier, and then "screened" with a white dot overlay sheet, again on the copier. This was somewhat murky on the original books, and changes needed (the spine, on scanning was messing up the dot pattern, and the scanner was creating a light/dark inconsistency on either side of it ... plus I needed to update stuff on the back for the barcode, etc.) required a lot of very fiddly cut-and-paste, which I finally had to throw in the towel on and declare a "good enough" compromise (the alternative being digging into years of old photos trying to find the original image and starting over with that!).
Anyway, that's up. I actually started in on the next one last night, which was black ink on a very dark green background, and took me several hours of pixel pushing to get into a usable form for its cover (still working on it, but the heavy lifting's done on the graphic). Do go check them out - you can even poke through them over on Amazon.
Oh, and by the way ... as I've previously blithered on about, I keep track of my LiveJournal "user rating" (I know, vanity), and have been very pleased that my number is coming down (down being good, of course). When I started looking at this, my rating had suddenly shot up over 10,000 (admittedly, out of several tens of millions of accounts), which had me concerned. That number is still something of a mystery (especially how it can jump a few thousand, up or down, overnight), but it has been trending down over the past few months, and has hit "new lows" almost every day this month ... making me think that daily postings help. A week ago it crossed what I considered a significant threshold - getting lower than my LiveJournal member number. Now, I joined here very early on, and I'm #2663 (again, out of tens of millions), so when it went under that I felt I'd achieved something (obviously my bar for "achieving something" has been set pretty low of late)! It's moved down (up?) every day since, and as of this morning I have the 2,218th "highest rated" (whatever that means) journal here. Go me (although several of the folks on my friends list have better numbers still - usually the ones who post a lot).