Yesterday, I folded the text for my little chapbook and then added the cover page (nicely printed by John) and finally the map endpapers. John folded the covers. Today I have to go down the Coast but tomorrow I hope to begin stitching everything together, after punching holes in the spines with an awl. There’s something very meditative about making a book. You sit at the table and collate. You stack each copy. You realize there’s a typo but never mind, you can just put a thin red line through the extra “the” appearing on page…well, never mind; maybe no one will notice. What you keep reading, because it appears in the centre of the book, is the Digression, and it’s what you think about as you fold and smooth with a spoon. (A bone folder would be perfect but we don’t have one.)
Everything I am remembering is burnished with moonshine, the taste of cherry-filled varenyky, sweet butter on dark bread. Mornings I swam in an unheated pool, the bottom littered with drowned insects, while all around me mist rose from the valley below our mountain slope. The mountains above me, source of the Dniester, Tisza and Vistula Rivers, the upper streams of the Black Cheremosh and the White, the Prut.
On the map you are folding and fitting the text within, you find those rivers, though not in the language you’re familiar with.