And so it begins

Caleigh Minshall

I’ve been waiting to write this blog for a few months now — a blog about my first day of paid, full-time work at the Porcupine’s Quill! Three days ago I finished my last exam ever at Queen’s University, packed my two years’ worth of things, caught a nasty cold, substantially damaged the family car and then unpacked everything again when, three and a half hours later, I finally reached my parents’ house in Caledon.

Comparably, my first day of work went way more smoothly.

I spent most of my first day preparing the Fall 2010 catalogue. We are a little behind with production and so Jill and I spent hours stapling and trimming the catalogues so that they’d be ready for shipping to libraries, booksellers and so on (the catalogue is already available online — check it out.) The work is a little tedious, involving a lot of repetitive motion and potential loss of limb (the trimmer is sharp!) In fact, during the stapling especially, I achieved some kind of Zen-like, restorative, meditative state, which was, frankly, much appreciated after my moving day of horrors on Friday. I also discovered that stapling and trimming have two essential prerequisites: a) coffee to help my concentration, and b) gangster rap. Normally I don’t use my iPod in the shop because I like overhearing all the daily goings-on, but while stapling and trimming, iPods are essential. More specifically, iPods playing loud, aggressive, psuedo-gangster music (for me, that means Nas and Timbaland… what can I say, I’m not a gangster.) The ‘‘siq beats’’ matched the ‘‘stapler stomps’’ and ‘‘trimmer tantrums,’’ although, to be honest, the tantrums were mostly made by me and not the machine.

PQL is right on a riverbank, so Jill and I took advantage of that by taking our lunch break outside on the lawn chairs, watching an ambiguous critter frolick in the lake — we weren’t sure if it was an otter, a muskrat or maybe even an overly enthusiastic log. It’s absolutely beautiful out there and sometime this summer I’ll be sure to take a picture and put it up for all of you to be jealous.

In the afternoon I spent some time typesetting for the Wood Engravers’ Network calendar. I used one of the PQL computers, meaning I had to spend some time searching for Linux commands since, ashamedly, I’m a Windows girl at heart. The typesetting wasn’t too difficult once I got the hang of saving and quitting vi, Linux’s text editor. Tim had already created the January 2011 page, and so all I had to do was copy and rewrite that document twelve more times (changing the dates and month, of course) for February 2011 to January 2012. I saw a couple of the wood engravings that will likely be featured in the calendar, by fantastic artists like Rosemary Kilbourn and Jim Westergard, and they are stunning. I love time management and beautiful things, so this calendar is already in my good books. You can find out more information about it in the Fall 2010 catalogue.

Tonight I have a few more tasks to finish, or at least start. A couple bloggers have emailed PQL about their interest in some of their books, so I’m going to head to their sites to see if there are any good phrases we can cite on our website. I am also going to do some research into an as-yet mysterious company called Oxbridge Communications, since they emailed Tim this morning. Updating this website with information from the old website will, sadly, have to wait for another evening. Tomorrow, it sounds like I will be doing a little more trimming and then — well, then it’s up to Tim!

By the way, if you’re in the Toronto area this weekend, there is a fantastic event called the Toronto Comic Arts Festival — and better yet, there will a few of PQL’s authors there, too! Marta Chudolinska, George Walker, Leon Rooke and Tony Calzetta will be speaking at a TCAF panel entitled ‘‘The Artist Book and the Graphic Novel: Converging Tradtions.’’ This panel is on Saturday, May 8th, from 10:00 – 10:45 am in the Novella Room of the Toronto Reference Library. Go to TCAF’s website for more details.

Expect another update at the end of this week, on topics ranging from how the family car fares to how much more beautiful PQL’s backyard is compared to yours.

Porcupette out!

Caleigh Minshall

About Caleigh

Intern at the Porcupine's Quill.
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The Porcupine's Quill would like to acknowledge the support of the Ontario Arts Council and the Canada Council for the Arts for our publishing program. The financial support of the Government of Canada through the Canada Book Fund (CBF) is also gratefully acknowledged.