Impossible Wonderful Work
Hello, this is Emily, the new Communications/PR/Social Media Promoter (we never did discuss my title page) for Running the Goat.
And here is the twisted and (un)happy fate of my work well begun. I was hired for a small, specific, seemingly simple purpose. I am one little person who shall push buttons and post pictures on a silver pingely device in service to a large curtain of tangible craft. A wall of printed words. Lovely words on toothsome pages. Fat paper that my daughter smells each time she opens a book and that I run my hands over when I find time with a poemphlet late at night *. So why can’t I do my simple job? Why do I get lost between the first “bleep” and the second “bloop-bing-beep?” Blame the books. They have ruined me. Saved me. Re-made me.
To promote the books, I must know the books. But once I pick up a book from Running the Goat it takes hold of me. I come-to, three hours later, covered in sticky notes cribbed with curious marginalia and staring out the window of my library at tree branches against a white sky. This morning I started “work” reading one Andy Jones’ Jack Tales **. Instead of a quick scan and some posts about it to social media, I have three books of poetry I had not looked at in years spread out on the window seat to find other lines of love poetry as pert as “Every word of you passed before my eyes / But sometimes my mind drifted” (one of the vizier’s - a word I wonderfully had to look up - “bad” poems from the frontispiece); I have made notes for an essay - that no one is asking for - based on connections between Erdelji’s illustrations of the Green Man and two other works of children’s literature; I am now also re-reading Sir Gawain and the Green Knight.
Before I had a child, I knew the mother of a family of five who told me “sleep begets sleep,” and I thought her so wise (though she also told me that making sure everyone in the house gets enough of that sleep leaves her many hours of late night work to plough through before she can take her own draught). Now I have a four year old and I still think that sleep line is true. But so are a thousand other lines and they all get in the way of proper sleep for me and her. Just because something is good and right and rises like a yeasty dough in warmth making the goodness and rightness bigger and more fulfilling, doesn’t mean we do it.
I know reading a real book makes me happy. I know it begets a longer attention span and larger thoughts and more attention to the details around me in the physical world; I know reading begets reading. But internet also begets internet, and faster. And busy begets busy in both mind and schedule. And I’m no lady from the lake risen from the cool dank with righteous weapons or old school will-power. So I am always wittering away my life on social media.
Until I sit down to do my work as PR/communications/social media/promoter for Running the Goat. Then the real books take me and pull me out of that sticky flashing tube world and into one strange and funny and satisfying. When the book ends, I’m landed back in my home, less jumbled and more freely laughing. Three hours later, I’ve got a stack of books around me and Instagram is not one filtered pic richer. and I cannot figure out how to invoice Marnie for the work her work has done on me.
* The 12: A Recitation by Dave Paddon, Linocut illustrations by Duncan Major, Running the Goat Books and Broadsides, Tors Cove, NL, 2011.
**Jack and the Green Man by Andy Jones, illustrated by Darka Erdelji, Running the Goat Books and Broadsides, Tors Cove, NL, 2016