Tuesday, February 03, 2009


Michael Sedano

I searched high and low, here, there, and everywhere, for a Unicorn but couldn't find one. Then I remembered the tunnel. It was the No on 187 March a few years ago. Approaching Olvera Street, the march route went through a dark underpass. The marchers chanted loudly to hear their voices echo off the walls as the protest headed toward the light at the end of the tunnel. Upon exiting the tunnel, off to our left the farm workers had hung a huge banner.

Then there was "X".

I was putting together my granddaughter's ABC book and didn't have a good letter "X" photograph. I had a literal "X", an old wood door on the side of a factory building. The carpenters had fashioned the portal with two cross beams from corner to corner on the 10 foot span. The paint had blistered and peeled, creating a beautiful pattern but somehow, it just wouldn't do. I settled for Xochimilco and this photo:

Here's a link to the full collection of fotos and letters. I plan to use the website as a game with my granddaughter (that's her mother with C for Cow). Any time I am sitting with my computer and my two year old granddaughter is visiting, she cannot resist the keyboard. She really cannot harm the computer by pushing random keys, sabes, but at the same time, she wants to learn how to be purposive on the keyboard. Hence, I will open her abecedarian page and show her how the left, top, and right arrows work. She can choose a letter and click the image to view and talk about alligators, ibises, the letter "F" and the number four, dragonflies and hummingbirds, "Q" for membrillo (quince), and "M" for Morro Rock, all 26 letters.

I also printed her abecedarian in book form. I used my beautiful Canon Pixma Pro 9500 machine and 13" X 19" paper. Printing two images per side, four per sheet of paper, front and back, I assembled a sturdy book of 9-1/2" X 13" pages, saddle-stapled. If I had sent the fotos to Apple, Fuji, or another of the do-it-yourself publishers, the abecedarian would have cost over $40, but would have had a hard cover, saddle stitching, and smaller size. A sheet of photo matte paper costs about $1.50. The entire book, plus a front and a back cover, required seven sheets of paper, for a total of around $13. A $27 dollar savings over sending the files to Apple.

Plus an $800 printer and pigment ink. But that's a ni modo, because with your own good-quality photo printer and 8-1/2" X 11" paper, you can print out and assemble a version on typing bond or photopaper for a few dollars, even if you print one letter per side on 26 sheets. My printer outputs what some call giclée images. These, properly conserved, will last over 100 years. Or until the kid rips apart her ABC book. Whichever comes first. (I made one for my house, another for hers. Between the parents and grandparents, I'm sure one will survive hours of play and crayolas, ¿que no?)

Charlotte's Abecedarian, as the printed book cover calls it, is one of a series of ongoing projects I'm putting together for my granddaughter and sharing with you as DIY projects of your own.

Rabbit Runs No More

You may enjoy Gregg Barrios' tribute to John Updike at the San Antonio Express-News website, My San Antonio blog. Barrios has a writer's fondness and admiration for one of our il miglior fabbros.

Note Barrios' tribute to Updike's own abecedarian, speaking of miglior fabbro.

Momotombo Chapbook

Over at the El Paso Times, La Bloga's Monday man, Daniel Olivas, is catching gente up on the growth and development of Francisco Aragon's Momotombo Press and its mission of publishing chapbooks featuring Chicana Chicano Latina Latino writers. No arroba here, ése.

Here's a section from the heart of the column, to whet your appetite:

Early in its life, Momotombo Press was dedicated to publishing only poets who had not yet had a first book. The press published four titles during 2001-03 beginning with the anthology "Mark My Words: Five Emerging Poets."

In 2003, the press narrowed its mission to focus on Latino and Latina writers, to follow more faithfully in the footsteps of the famous Chicano Chapbook Series.

Though most titles are poetry collections, the press has ventured into prose, including last year's provocative short-story collection "From Here You Can Almost See the End of the Desert" by Aaron Michael Morales.

Click the link above to read the entire coverage, or here to visit Momotombo itself.

Hammett Prize Nominees Named

The International Association of Crime Writers North American Branch announces those in the running for the honor named for the creator of Sam Spade and the Continental Op. Congratulations to all the named, including Akashic Books' and Abraham Rodriguez' South by South Bronx, that I reviewed at La Bloga back in June. The nominees are:

Heywood Gould, Leading Lady (Five Star)
Colin Harrison, The Finder: A Novel (Farrar, Straus & Giroux)
David Levien, City of the Sun: A Novel (Doubleday)
George Pelecanos, The Turnaround (Little, Brown)
Abraham Rodriguez, South by South Bronx (Akashic)

According to the organization's website, the Hammett Prize winner will be named in Edgar Allan Poe's hometown in October, at the New Atlantic Independent Booksellers Association (NAIBA) Fall Conference.

That's the first Tuesday of February 2009. I just flew in from Montreal and boy, are my arms tired. From the minus centigrades to the fahrenheit 80s. Here's to warm days and sunny attitudes for all. See you next week.


La Bloga welcomes your comments and guest columns. Leaving a comment is as convenient as the click of a mouse on the comments counter below. To be our guest--when you have extended remarks, a review of a good book or cultural event, a writer's notebook--leave a comment or click here to begin the process.

No comments: