Saturday, November 21, 2009

I Want That Book!

I'd just read about David Chang’s process of opening Ko -- which seats just 12 diners and is the third New York City restaurant featured in his terrific memoir/cookbook, Momofuku -- and had loved the following:

There are things we say in the kitchen, a codified lexicon, that explain some of the kitchen mentality at Ko. “Make it soigné” means make it right and make it perfect. [...] ... said with a slight tilt of the head or a leading tone, means take this thing and cook it right, cook it the best way you know how. Our dishes often evolve from having an amazing ingredient arrive in the kitchen and a cook “making it nice.”
I was still under the spell of it when I visited a book design blog and found echoes of making it nice on the small scale in Cecilia Sorochin’s post about her approach to book design:

As a boutique book design studio we craft each book carefully, dedicating the time that each book needs without rushing into random ideas.
And then I saw her walk the talk -- making something perfect from an amazing ingredient -- in a post about the layout and typography of an upcoming children’s poetry book.

I want that book!

Monday, November 16, 2009

30 Covers in 30 Days

I’m not participating in National Novel Writing Month this year, but what a treat to click on my blogroll and discover that Chris Papasadero from Fwis Cover Design is! -- in his own way. His variation: Design 30 book covers in 30 days, each based on a novel synopsis posted by a participating wrimo.

The goal here is to challenge myself like you writers; I believe the criteria for selecting whose book gets a cover designed by yours truly consists of a very elegant-and-complicated-but-totally-fair algorithm developed by the NaNoWriMo team. [...] I am going to be as experimental as I can with them for my own selfish artistic edification...
These covers are currently grouped together as the most recent entries on his blog (from the top down through the wrestlers on the cover of The Business). Click on a cover to read his notes and professional designers’ comments. (Talk about putting hastily created work under the bright lights!)

Or you can browse the 30 Covers, 30 Days forum at nanowrimo. See a list of links to the covers in the first post of this thread; then find links to each novel's synopsis and read wrimos’ comments in the individual thread devoted to each cover.

Like most participants, Chris is behind and trying to catch up … it’s a 30-day marathon after all, not necessarily 30 separate sprints :)

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Something Worth Knowing More About

I know that terrific story seeds are right here, out in the open areas of daily life. And that for me the best ones -- in the premise of this blog -- are in the specifics, the fine details that resonate.

So I liked this passage from Eating Animals, Jonathan Safran Foer's new nonfiction book about factory farming:

[Male layer chickens] serve no function.* Which is why all male layers -- half of all the layer chickens born in the United States, more than 250 million chicks a year -- are destroyed.

Destroyed? That seems like a word worth knowing more about.
I love when that happens! The world goes on ahead while a writer’s mind stays fixed on some detail. The skill is in noticing the fixation, and capturing it instead of running to catch up with the world.

* From Foer: “You probably thought that chickens were chickens. But
for the past half a century, there have actually been two kinds of chickens --
broilers and layers -- each with distinct genetics. [...] Layers make eggs. [...]
Broilers make flesh.” (Therefore: male layers serve no function.)