Probably more like step twelve or thirty, but, you know, whatever...
More books are arriving in the shop every couple days. The worst of the summer is over and so the fact that our AC doesn’t really work matters less and less. We’re in here, right now, late afternoon, the hottest part of our desert days, and we’re not completely soaked in sweat. That’s a huge deal. It means that we’re getting close to Shuta coming back inside the shop instead of hiding out with his dog at his house.
This continues to be a pretty much undesigned space.
This page is a mess.
This page will continue to be a mess until all the decisions have been made. We have a tendency to implement before we know what we are actually doing. It worked fine in the past, but it isn’t as much fun as it used to be to do that. Also, technology keeps changing. The delivery methods and the formats and all the backends continue to complexify and fragment, and at least one of us here has thrown both hands up and said I just want to make books. I can’t care about this anymore, I am physically and psychologically unable to understand it. So he’s making books. Others are stepping in to care and understand. So it’s them that we’re waiting on for the decisions. Hopefully this undesigned mess will spur them into action.
We’re still transitioning into all our new-new processes, our new who the hell we are. The other Sporklets are being nudged over into the new Sporklet place, and everything else that led up to this point is being pretty much left the hell alone, all searchable and findable and in place forever. The books will gradually cycle from existence through nonexistence back into existence in their new, maybe final, form. 2016 was a year of trying a lot of things that didn't work like we thought they would, like we hoped they would. So now in the last third of 2016 we’re trying more new things. We feel a little better about what we’re trying this time.
To the extent that they’ve been paying attention at all, our authors have probably been wondering what’s going on, if we were slowing down, perhaps ceasing... but it hasn’t been that, not really. We did slow down, but only so we could think for a bit, see if we could get shit right once and for all. Part of this getting shit right thing is being a little better—a LOT better—with all that communication stuff.
and then, Step two:
Richard built some shelves.
We have some books on these shelves. We have some bookbinding supplies (our favorite sash brushes, various bookcloths and thread and reinforcing materials and wax and needles) and some writing supplies (pens. We have pens) at the end of a shelf. We have cassettes and CDs and vinyl between the shelves
Okay, Step One:
What’s happening now, as we’re starting to receive the merchandise, the books that we didn’t make, and the records other people pressed, and the pens and the brushes, all the things that’ll go on the shelves, is we’re going to liquidate some of the older stuff. The books sitting on this shelf to my right, the chaps that we’re not making that way anymore, but which we’ve still got a few sitting around...
Each book is $5. No shipping, no minimum, no maximum. There’s a limited number of each, so if you’re a crazy person who wants lots of one book, we might not have enough on hand to satisfy your crazy.
The books are not going out of print. The books are just not going to be made in this style anymore. We’ll have some news and whatnot about that soon—we thought we had it figured out, but we didn’t. We’re changing everything again. And yeah, if you click through to the item’s page it’s gonna say a different price than what it says here, and you’re gonna say how you can’t trust us, how we’re just like the rest of em, just a bunch of liars taking advantage, but if you go further and click the button that buys you things you’ll see that we’re just like you: We are honest but we’re also lazy and just can’t be bothered.
We’ve never had a sale before. Here’s a list of what’s on sale. Also if you order 4 or more items we’ll put one of our tapes in the package. Maybe one of our mixtapes, maybe one of the official releases. Probably some buttons and stickers too. If we didn’t live in the desert we’d put some lawn clippings in there too, and we could all share a tired laugh at our joke about how green we are. But we do and so we can’t and we’re just going to have to save that for later.
We broke the site. We are fixing the site.
We were trying, carefully, subtly, to make some changes.
What it means when we say that we are fixing the site is that we decided that rather than fix the site and return it to how it’s been for a good long while now, we’d just take this as a sign, either of divine origin, or maybe more passive-aggressive leaning, that it’s time to do what we’ve been talking about doing.
You may know that we stopped doing chapbooks. We called things chapbooks, regardless of what they were, as a kind of dumb joke. And we did things, constructed our things in a very pared-down, essentials-only kind of way. and that worked out fine for a while.
But those things, those books, they look like shit on the shelf. Unless they’re the only things that are on the shelf, either singly or together, and then they look okay, but when they sit with other books (when the intent was never that they would be shelved, but instead they’d be used and then passed along and then eventually kinda maybe just fade, get worn out, and, having served their purpose, um, retired or something, like a flag—especially when the whole point of them is not the objects themselves, but the words inside the objects we made... a cereal box, a wine bottle, however well designed they are, however clever, however whatever, they’re the vehicles for the stuff inside; we made durable protective containers for the contents) they don’t make any kind of sense at all.
We do books.
Also, after several years and several thousands of the things, it’s old, and it’s a thoroughly unsatisfying bookbinding experience. We would hardly classify it as a bookbinding experience at all.
So. As many of you have seen in recent months, we are satisfying ourselves with a bookbinding experience. We have changed the materials, the format, the size, the processes. And because being affordable to our intended audience is still important to us, we are bringing forward some of the efficiencies learned or developed or discovered over the years; we are also introducing complexities and traditional processes to 10% of our total output, so that while the majority of our books, themselves still more difficult and expensive to produce than they previously were, satisfy the need for efficiency coupled with quality and affordability (also being a thing that can be easily taught and learned and that process taken away and implemented elsewhere, so that maybe someone else might decide to do a thing with no money and just their hands and their love of an idea and maybe produce something better than a shit zine and look at it and think something like “I did no fundraising for that, I asked no one for anything, except maybe their hands, their time, yeah okay, I asked people to hang out with me and make some books, but that’s not what I’m talking about, what I’m talking about is that there was never a point at which this idea, now realized, was dependent upon whether or not anybody paid me to do it, that’s what I mean and I kinda feel good about that...”), and also and still then there is that 10% upon which we are bringing our bookbinderliness to bear, and not assembly-lining it like the 90%, but one-at-a-time, one set of hands start to finish. We have a big worktable, we have many book presses, we have all these tools and we have this new glue...
Our digital self, Sporklet, is being separated out and given its own home. The press part of us is likewise moving to its own place. All of it Spork, just less of an unnavigable pile and more a collection of discrete entities that are still the work of the same hands that have been put to these various tasks all along. We continue to be Joel and Andrew and Jake and Richard and Drew and Nichole (who left us for Notre Dame and is coming back as not an intern but instead as one of us) and Chloe and Sally (when she is not in Paris or wherever she goes) and all the hands and names that drift toward and away as their whim and time and inclination allow. It is summer in the desert and so none of us have beards. We are all skin, we are all hands.
We have tested musical waters. We like it there. We are opening up a bookstore and bookbindery in Tucson, slotted in the strip mall across the street from the Sonic with the weed doctor and the tattoo shop and the hookah lounge and SOCCER PLANET (open NOW!). We are here every day, we are here every night. Our bookstore, when it is fully a bookstore, will be a small press bookstore, a curated selection of the work our friends are doing. The bookstore will also have a section, nestled amid the books, of independent music, small-label stuff that our friends have released. Stage left in the bookstore is our small press and sci-fi library. There are desks and there is a couch and we encourage you to be here and to read and to write. We are collecting the materials and building the shelves to hold them. We are always two weeks from opening. We have been two weeks from opening for a while now. We are opening last October.
While this text remains in place, if you have questions, please ask.