Sprout says she’s there to help him, to guide him.
Welcome to the June 15th stop on the blog tour for Theo and Sprout by Joseph Gergen with Goddess Fish Promotions. Be sure to follow the rest of the tour for spotlights, reviews, more guest posts, and a giveaway! More on that at the end of this post.
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Author Guest Post
What Learning to Bind a book taught me
I had a lot of help getting “Theo and Sprout” ready for publishing. One friend helped with the editing and one helped with creating an audiobook version. Those are both a lot of work. But my friends wouldn’t let me pay them, which was extremely nice of them. But I wanted to show my appreciation because I was certainly grateful for their help.
So I had this bright idea that I should make them hand-made leather-bound copies. I thought this would be a wonderful way to say thank you. And they did very much appreciate the books.
Now there are few things more satisfying for a book lover than to hold a sturdy leather-bound book. It’s weighty substantial. It smells good. So I decided to forge ahead.
So I set off on my journey to make these hand-bound books. And it is a journey. In fact, I think it was several journeys. The first journey was acquiring or creating the tools. I think I had to make half the tools and equipment I needed. Fortunately, I have a woodshop and have many of the tools needed to make the tools. For the leather-working part of the process, the key is to having sharp tools. And sharp tools require exacting, patient and consistent effort to make them sharp and keep them sharp. While I had some skills for sharpening tools from my woodworking background, I learned I have almost no interest in spending so much time keeping them sharp. While I knew I was not an anal and detailed person, this brought that home. While I could do it, the effort was extremely draining.
The next part of the journey was learning how to create the bound manuscript (sans the leather part). The prepping of the folios, the stitching of the folios together, the prepping of the spine, sewing the headbands, rounding the spine and much more. While many of these steps were challenging and I had to learn new skills (like knot tying), they were also methodical. Getting good at some of these was less about being exacting than about repetition. While I don’t usually like too much repetition in work I do, I learned that I found the sewing of the folios together to be a calming meditative practice, except when I poked myself with the needle.
The third part of the journey was the leather binding effort. I enjoyed working with the leather. Though the sharp tools did scare me a bit. So prepping the leather was fun. But the assembly was the proof in the pudding. Unfortunately, the wrapping of the manuscript with the leather is a bit like wrapping a present and I suck at that. The pressure came once you applied your glue and began the process. While the glue (or paste) you are using dries relatively slowly, it does dry. So the pressure sometimes got to me. Now I suspect that after enough iterations, that sense of pressure eases. But what I learned was that under pressure I tend less to panic than to forget steps. The humorous thing was that I tended to forget a different step every time. So most all of the books I did have their own unique failings.
While I struggled a great deal with the exacting and anal parts of the process, I felt very fulfilled after completing the project. I ended up with ten acceptable books. While I am not sure I would ever try that again (though now I do have all the equipment), I learned that I like to learn new things even if my personality is not suited to them. And I may have learned that I’s okay to not continue to pursue something that doesn’t suit you.
While I was waiting for “Theo and Sprout” to be edited and then doing all the administrative work that goes with getting a book ready for publishing
About the Book
Theo and Sprout
A Journey of Growth
by Joseph Gergen
Published 23 April 2022
Genre: YA Literary Fiction
Page Count: 184
Add it to your Goodreads TBR!
Sprout says she’s there to help him, to guide him. Theo, an introverted, teenage boy form a large family, is not so sure about that. He’s not sure about much of anything at the moment. You see, Theo is thrown into absolute uncertainty one morning after he has showered for school when Sprout suddenly manifests herself physically in his body.
Is she a dream? A hallucination? That is what Theo grapples with as he not only sees Sprout in the mirror, then validates what he’s seen by looking down at his body, now her body, but also begins a conversation with her about what the hell is going on.
While Theo longs for some guidance through the perils of adolescence, the guidance he knew his family wouldn’t give him, he isn’t prepared for Sprout to present herself and offer it to him. In fact, he doesn’t appear to have a choice since Sprout, sassy and confident about her presence, won’t go away.
Thus begin the adventures of Theo and Sprout. Sprout comes and goes as she pleases, forcing Theo to come to grips with her existence, the fear of being caught, the guidance she offers and the choices she asks hm to make. Together Theo and Sprout must navigate the uneasy situations Sprout creates by appearing at inopportune times, whether in school, at church, or at a family gathering.
Sprout just wants Theo to grow. Theo just wants to survive.
When you grow up in a large family in a small house, you are never alone, you are never free. As an introvert, I could have just as well been in prison. Never free from prying eyes and perpetual observation, real or imagined. Those heavy shackles kept me from liberation.
“What is this?” I said. I’d lost my fetters, not even concerned she was there. “This isn’t normal.”
“This isn’t your normal. This is my normal, my way of looking at life. This is what your normal could be. Don’t you want this to be real? Isn’t it wonderful?”
Yes, it was wonderful. I noticed the park as I hadn’t noticed it since swinging beneath the trees as a child, flying up into the gigantic green trees and the endless blue sky. The colors, the shades of gray, the smells, the sounds of the birds. A lost world I was too busy to see anymore.
About the Author
Author of “Theo and Sprout”. Born and raised on the plains of North Dakota. Moved to Twin Cities because it’s actually warmer. Enjoy creating in whatever form it takes, including writing, painting, and furniture making. The enjoyment is in the doing. Looking to add a little magic to the world through art.
Other books include “Without a Pang” and “Methane Wars.”
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