Aaron Cael

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TITLE #1 is Done and I’m Filthy and Sweaty

holdingcover

Some reflections on finally getting the print issue of TITLE done…

  • Holy sweet tapdancing Batman is the devil in the details. The little things that can be obsessed on. Conforming fonts, margins, bleeds, getting the goddamn thing to actually print out in the proper folded booklet format… wow, I better do this a lot so I get permanently good at it and can actually set things up in advance. I would love to have a basic fluency in InDesign and not have to stop, Google up an answer, then try to regroup.

 

  • When in doubt, make a game. I had two pages I was not in love with so I nuked them and started over. confronted with two blank pages facing each other, I asked myself: what’s missing? Something to interact with. Some kind of tool or experience or instruction or activity. So I made a board game.  Game design has long been something I’ve been interested in. Purely megalomaniacal reasons. For however long the game takes, you have people following your rules, thinking, moving, interacting in ways that you designed. Bwahahahaha! But like any dictator, your rule only has worth as long as you get people to do what you say so the game rules are shaped by a need to create a pleasurable, interesting experience. For this one, the main restriction was that all I had to work with was ink on a page. Any other equipment or setting had to be easily obtained by the player. So no spinners, cards, complex physical interaction or blindfolds. So… a board game. With trivia elements. Dice? Might be too much to ask. I suggested throwing four coins and counting how many turned up as heads.

 

  • Collaborating on design is hard for me. I have about a half dozen close friends who are better/more professional than me at graphic design, layout, InDesign, etc. I tried working with a few of them but… can’t. It became three times the work arguing over fonts and minutia, in different professional languages. Better to crash course it or strictly define what areas are handled by whom. I can’t do design as a jam session.

Most of all, I’m excited to finally print this and start sneaking it into strangers’ hands. Should entail some kind of rethink of titleofmagazine.com as well. What the hell should that be if not a blog?

Bushman Lives. You Sit.

I was motivated to check just now and it has been 7 months since I last bothered to get anything up on Title of Magazine. It’s a site that has shrunk to a popular Twitter feed, now run by my dear friend Adam Orbit. For a long time, Title was my excuse to sit in the manner described by my lifelong favorite author Daniel Pinkwater in the (radio?) essay “And Zen I Wrote”. To surmount the problem of not being able to get started writing, Pinkwater reduced the assignment to simply sitting at a desk for an hour. Just sitting was enough. An accomplishment. There would, of course, be pencil and paper nearby and he would invariably get bored enough to start fooling around with them and inadvertently some writing would get done. After awhile, this one hour assignment would become two hours and on until eventually his body had learned the chief skill of any writer: sitting still long enough to bilge out the words to the page.

I’d love to offer a quote but my bookshelf lacks a copy of Fishwhistle at the moment. (Wasn’t aware until now that there’s a Fishwhistle restaurant down in Maryland)

Anyway, Title was my head-clearing/sit down for a bit and get started exercise for the better part of two years until it started becoming its own sort of work. A weird little beast. Since then, I’ve been retooling the whole song and dance around the act of sitting down and writing–different tools, routines, motivations, little games. Which loops back to Pinkwater again…

He’s serializing another novel, Bushman Lives! It’s a nice little motivating brain snack to sit down and read a chapter then get down to work. Doesn’t always go like that, what with the bottomless well of distraction that is sitting down to a computer but it’s something.