Expozine Sunday was only slightly less insane than Expozine Saturday. Plenty insane for six hours sitting in a church basement selling mini-books.
A mini-book is one-sixteenth of 8.5 x 11. I had six. I laid them out in a grid to make it look like I had more. That’s what I like, lots of small things. Five rows of six and every time someone bought a book, I replaced it. Nature hates a gaping hole. I’m not obsessive compulsive, I’m not obsessive compulsive, I kept saying. At first I thought I wasn’t selling very many. Because I was sitting next to Sherwin Tija’s wildly popular Scrabble pins. So many people leaning over my table to look at his. What the heck, I figured. It’s a good day to study belt buckles. There were some very cool ones. My favourite: a monogrammed painting of a tractor. Only two zippers spotted down.
By my initial calculations, by the end of the day I’d sold 35 mini-books. Not bad. On closer inspection my cash tally indicated I’d sold 42 mini-books. So much for my careful record keeping. I must not be obsessive compulsive after all. 42 books in 6 hours works out to 7 books an hour, one every 8.5 minutes. Insert Count Dracula laughter please.
Of course the best part of Expozine is running into people, hanging out with friends, having random semi-profound and/or silly encounters, drinking beer and of course buying zines. I bought a zine called The Last Thumbnail Picture Show by a guy named Adam Thomlison for this line in it: “Ignoramus. (that’s French for regret).” I bought a zine called Bela Lugosi is Speaking from The Unkindness of Ravens Press because the drawings are as relentlessly beautiful as the text is wry: “if you look long enough it becomes hard to tell vampires from unicorns and unicorns from vampires.” Unicorns hardly ever come up in vampire-themed stuff. Impressive. I bought a bunch of nudie postcards from Textanuedes and a zine called Culture and Other Shocks from All Thumbs Press because the girls at the table were drinking a fifth of Canadian Club in a self-professed attempt to buy local. I’d tell you about this other zine I bought called My First Trip to Florida, Which Was Mostly Spent in a Boatyard, by Michelle Sayer, but it’s going to be a present for someone who reads this blog regularly.
My friend Freda Gutman gave me a beautiful little book about her recent exhibition, Notes From the 20th, which was at the Cambridge Galleries earlier this year. My friend Howard gave me some zines cause last time I saw him I gave him a zines. I quite liked his Farmer Farmerstein explanation of the origin of the expression “Fuck the Earth” but, he complained, some find his stuff offensive. Everything’s relative. One guy sat at a table across from me for five hours and then came over to tell me I made my shirt look good. Whatever. I refrained from telling him to fuck the earth. On a way more hopeful note, I traded two copies of my How I Loved the Broken Things of Rome mini-book for two copies of Ms. Elisabeth Belliveau’s lovely Italy zine, Draw Around you and Hope because those two go so well together. Elisabeth’s new book-book, The Great Hopeful Someday, is launching at the amazing-but-true new Drawn & Quarterly bookstore on Sunday, December 2 at 7PM. 211 rue Bernard ouest, Montreal.
. . . . .