Chapbook NIGHTMARE

Well, I really liked designing my chapbook–not to mention working with Adobe InDesign for the first time–but I’ve got to say, trying to get this thing down on paper was a LIVING NIGHTMARE. So now I am just going to take this opportunity to indulge in what I think is a well-deserved rant/geek-out after a day full of paper-jamming (and not always the “cool” kind) and compatibility issues. Thus begins my tale of what will go down in my personal history as the Inaugural Spring Break Chapbook Nightmare. –Read at your own risk!

In tribute to my Futura fixation more fully elaborated upon in Helvetica Politics, I thought that using the font in my chapbook would be a fine gesture of continuity. I was like, “Hey, I have an Apple at home, so it shouldn’t be a problem.” And it wasn’t–at least not until Thursday morning, the time I alloted for what I envisioned to be a quick no-sweat print-off between classes. Intuitively sensing that it might turn out to be a problem, I even went directly to Lindley Hall so I could find the help of some CS major if things did go awry… which of course they did. What a fiasco! At first I was naive and loaded my really snazzy brown faux-papyrus paper in the printer right away, fully ready to pull the PRINT trigger, but luckily an attendant persuaded me to first indulge in what would amount to be about 40 test-runs. Even though I created and was printing my project through an Apple, the machine just refused to print more than 3/4 of each page, no matter the number of settings reconfigured and reprints tried. As the wastepaper continued to mount and nothing seemed to be working, I soon came to the bitter realization that the Apple print was just not going to happen. Admittedly, I was reluctant to switch platforms because I knew that meant I would have to give up the Futura ghost, so to speak, but with the clock ticking I wasn’t sure I still even had a choice. Sure enough, in the PC lab the test-run finally ran snag–and Futura–free, but of course the “trial” wasn’t really over yet.

At the printer I gleefully loaded my snazzy-but-in-retrospect-perhaps-too-rough-and-thick stock, intently watching as the machine started and then suddenly stopped rolling it through its quickly spun-out wheels. @%$PAPER JAM@#! Honestly, by this point I was probably hovering on the border of hysteria and just way too emotional about the whole thing, and not only because of the sentimental value of the “good paper” I was printing on–LONG STORY. Although I still feel kind of bad about doing this, I seriously was pressed for time and like a terrible person totally just left the printer jammed, shamefacedly resorting to yet another lab to print my chapbook on, regrettably, only the cheapest paper imaginable. Now I am utterly exhausted and don’t even want to go into describing my various travails trying to master the Ballantine staplers. Let’s just say IU took a hard blow that day thanks to me and my complete physical ineptitude…

Finally, to hopefully bring all of this back to the actual topic of literary publishing, just think of how easy this all might have been if when I was finished designing my chapbook I just pressed a couple of buttons to “publish” my work virtually instead of on hard copy. Or, on the other hand, how unimaginably HARD this project would have been if IU didn’t offer printers with the totally fabulous duplex printing option. Considering the enormous carbon footprint I was responsible for by the time all was said and done, I’m not sure how “eco-friendly” the print really turned out to be, but I imagine the waste would have been probably tantamount to this–plus I would have also absolutely lost my mind!–if I had had to swing this all “manual duplex.” When I think about me trying to print the whole 28 pages one at a time, with my brain outright melting every time I try to figure out which way to flip and reload the papers so they all eventually line up right… I come to the conclusion that, in that case, my cup is definitely half full. It could have been a lot worse!

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