Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Hitting It Out of the Park

I am, usually, a fantastic gift giver.

This is, in all likelihood, because I don't do it very often and rarely when it's expected - that is to say, rarely on birthdays and Christmas.

I may not be the Queen of Gift Giving - not like Owen, King of Great Gifts - but, when inspired, just as I was for the You Give Love a Bad Name book, I totally rock and I know it.

At least...I thought so until an experience this spring gave me pause.

Since then, I've had a couple of wins...Spux's It's a Boy Preparedness Kit (for his female-to-male transition celebration) and Owen's birthday party as mentioned above. Overall then, I have to believe the experience in the spring was a rare fluke that had nothing to do with my abilities and everything to do with the ability of some people to be an ass.

I wasn't expecting to exchange gifts with anyone this year. I'd get the Ducks 'n Puppies a little something something as usual but as for anything big, well, no. It wasn't on my list of things to do. But when Acr0nym told me he was giving me one of his old Kindles for the holiday, I, all of a sudden, felt like I needed and wanted to do something particularly special for him.

But what?

Acr0nym's tough to buy for, you know? He's interested in all sorts of things...pens, photography, books, computer geekery, de-cluttering, cooking, and general geekery of all sorts. The problem isn't that he doesn't have any interests. It's that he buys whatever he's obsessed with at the time leaving no room for anyone to get him something cool he hasn't thought of...because he thinks of EVERYTHING!

Eventually, I'd try to solicit help from his brother, TC, before turning in desperation to Acr0nym himself. Neither of them were any help at all.

And then?

Inspired by Gypsy Gold Studio and Ms. Ernie's passion for bookbinding, I stumbled upon The Perfect Gift.

A bound book containing all of the American Gods and Roadside Attractions Tour road trip entries - a trip Acr0nym and I took together this past September. I wrote all the text. He took nearly all the photographs. It was an extraordinary time...one we're both likely to remember the rest of our lives.

Remember how I mentioned last week that I was working on two HUGE projects and hadn't had time to keep up with my feed reader or post much?

That was one of the projects.

Clearly, I couldn't tell you about it then when he didn't know about it, right?

So, that's where I've been for the last several days. I've been bogged down in the details of formatting, editing, writing a prologue, and getting ready to have my first "novel" self-published. Turns out, all that stuff was the easy part. The hard part would come when I turned the manuscript over to a willing Spux who I'd enlisted to bind the text and create the finished product...even though he'd never attempted bookbinding before.

There were several misfires when it came time to print. First, we printed it one-sided without thinking through the logistics. Uh...no. That wasn't going to work. Then, we tried to print double-sided on Spux's laserjet printer but his printer was, at best, uncooperative. Finally, I took it over to Office Max and had them print it only to return to Spux's house and discover the layout was all wrong. Jane's Infinitely Expected Meltdown in 3...2...1. Lucky for me, Spux's friend, Kelli, my hero, took everything back to Office Max and asked them, nicely, to please redo it.

Which they did. For free. Thank you, Office Max. You have a new, loyal customer.

Finally, the manuscript printed, there was only one thing left to do...bind it.

By then, we were out of time, so I had to leave the manuscript in Spux's incredibly artistic and capable, if inexperienced, hands.

I was a little nervous.

But...you know? There is a reason I enlisted the help of Spux, y'all. Spux, of everyone I know - and this is saying A LOT - is the most insanely (not just insane) artistically talented person I know. There was absolutely no cause for concern with this project in his hands.

Because the final product?

Looked like this...

Photos compliments of Acr0nym, of course *laughing*

Yes, I made Acr0nym photograph his own gift. He's the resident Blog Photographer! That's what I pay *ahem* him for.

153 pages printed on 34 lb, 100% cotton, ivory paper. Text and pictures from the original blog posts left intact (some editing did occur). Again, I added a special prologue. All told, there were nearly 20,000 words and probably 75 photos. That's alotta words and pictures.

I couldn't have been more pleased with the outcome.

And neither could he.

Let's just say, judging by Acr0nym's reaction, Spux and I? We hit it out of the park.


spux said...

HIGH FIVE *giggle*

Just Jane said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Just Jane said...

Dude! We totally pulled it off! Thanks again for all your help :).

Gaelyn said...

This is a wonderful idea. I've thought of putting some of my blog into book form and didn't want to pay big bucks for it. That's a whole lot of words and pages.

Ernie Hendrix said...

This is fantastic! What an incredibly thoughtful gift. You know, I think the reason you are so successful as a gift giver, and you obviously are, is that you are so sensitive to other people. And I mean sensitive in a good way. You really get to know them and appreciate the things that make them the people they are, their little quirks, their sense of humor, their good points and their maybe not-so-good points.

(And thanks for the blog mention!)

(Ms) Ernie

Masked Mom said...

That is fantastic. I love that we live in a world where we can DO stuff like that--even if there were a few glitches along the way. :)

Anonymous said...

AWESOMELY AWESOME!!! Well done you two! ~Laine

Lucy said...

You hit it out of the park!! It is nice to have talented friends!

Anonymous said...

I have to agree, Jane, you ARE a great gift giver, and a real friend. Awesome!!


cdnkaro said...

I have to admit, Jane, I'd totally want to get a gift from you- you definitely have a knack for gift-giving! And you're published:) Yay!

Just Jane said...

Thank you all!

Gaelyn: You really should! The initial cost to do the bookbinding was a tad expensive but we got supplies to do 1/2 dozen books (just in case) and, once we figured out the process, it was a lot of fun.

I cannot WAIT to show you guys what Acr0nym did with the manuscript *BIG GRIN*!

Unknown said...

Oh, Jane, the book is absolutely beautiful. What a labor of love. Well done!

Unknown said...

P.S. Maybe I didn't read closely enough (damn this migraine), but will you do a Kindle version? Or is that not workable yet because of the photos?
I would so buy it.