Yesterday morning I finished binding 11 copies of "Henry Thomas Wake: The Notebooks and Memorabilia of A Victorian Antiquarian." Finishing it so quickly on the heels of the Rempel Cousins book as I did, it seems strange that this is possibe, the HTW book being complex and of nearly 300 pages. Here's the story: picture if you will an old-fashioned kitchen range, complete with warming cupboard. These ranges are - when of the vast and chrome-embellished kind - now collector's items. In their heyday - not so many decades ago - this stove had an advantage that present cookstoves do not. A dozen food items in preparation could be placed on or within it - all at different temperatures, all heated be one source - the firebox. I'm the firebox; my projects sit on the stove, or in the oven, or in the warming cupboard, all at different temperatures. Some of them take years to cook; some of them take only weeks. While one of them is coming to a boil, the others wait, at temperatures from a gentle simmer to barely warm. But sometimes several come to a boil simultaneously, or close to it. That is what happened with the Rempel Cousins book. It had been on the stove for several years, while the HTW book had been cooking for close to a decade.
The stages of book preparation are simple in outline but complex in implementation. The major complexity is the necessity to involve other people in the process. Other people do not necessarily share my time frame and priorities, and if I am asking them, for example, to undertake the tedious but necessary task of proofreading, I cannot put pressure on them to complete the task. They are, after all, doing me a favor. The best I can do is incorporate them so closely in the process of preparing a book that they feel ownership and come to share my time framework. This is the lot of my close kin, may they be forever thanked.