It’s funny how something is really, really important to you…until it isn’t. This is very apparent with children, who take everything so seriously – the world will end if they don’t get to go to this thing, or have that thing. Then they change their mind. I remember this time…no, I won’t go there. But I have observed that as I get older, it is easier for me to go with the flow and accept loss and change. Especially after my heart scare, which put things into ultimate perspective. It came home to me the value of using every minute wisely, and not worrying so much about possibilities that may or may not occur.
So, as the book is taking final form, it is just a big relief. And when the world-class team of Ann Budd (editor) Sarah Jaworowicz (book designer) and Donna Druchunas (project manager) met at Rhinebeck to discuss it without me (I have to be Dr. Anne SOME of the time), I had complete confidence in their judgment and taste, in deciding what to do with the manuscript. Because we all knew it was too big. The book that a publisher told me wasn’t a good idea because “there wouldn’t be enough for a full book”, was sitting at 260 pages, and Ann thought 160 pages would be just right. I thought we could re-format some things, and change some chart sizes, check for any redundancies and get it down pretty easily. Most books improve with trimming, let’s face it.
But, when the days after Rhinebeck passed with no word from anyone, I started to get concerned. Gentle queries about what happened got me “it was a great meeting, we are 90% there. Donna will e-mail you with notes”. Uh, not reassuring. I started going through the Table of Contents in my head, thinking about what patterns were taking more pages and might be cut. Finally, after some days of this, I shared my anxiety with Bill. When I mentioned one pattern I thought might go, he said “Oh no, those were some of my best photographs”. Crap. I knew I was probably borrowing trouble to discuss it, but Bill is someone I can talk to about anything and he always helps clarify my thinking. As we continued to discuss the pros and cons of losing patterns, he said something I really didn’t like. “You have to figure out what is really important here. What is your mission statement?” . Double crap. I hate coming up with mission statements. By that time we both had to leave for work, so shelved the conversation. Saved by the bell!
This morning I finally got Donna’s e-mail. Yes, they want to cut content. Lots and lots of content. It turns out that the teaching stuff is really enough to fill the book, and have a clear vision and flow. Some of the patterns, although not complicated, aren’t really needed here. They don’t actually teach anything, they just give you great stuff to do with the technique. I can publish those separately. Of course, this means I have to plan OTHER BOOKS, but a lot of work has been done already, so that isn’t so bad. Ann wants knitters to have small enough book to carry around easily, and I agree with that. I hired Ann because she is one of, if not THE, best editors of knitting books in history. I am definitely going to trust her judgement when it comes to creating a great book.
Coming to this decision, I found, if not a mission statement, my bottom line. We might cut patterns and other content, but not people. No knitter, model, photographer or designer will be left behind. The support I have gotten from these folks who believed in me, my work, and have contributed their time and talent is beyond price to me, and I’ve told the team that we have to make sure that all of them have presence in the book. Some of them will be in the subsequent book, booklet, pattern…whatever, also. But I want them all to be in Annetarsia Knits. Period. So, we will make that happen.
Books evolve. People tell you this, and you believe them, but it is still an understatement. It’s like when someone tells you how much you will love your children, and then you realize that you didn’t really know what that meant once your child is born. So, the book is evolving, as all books do. And it will continue to do so for a bit more time. But let me tell you, it will be a great book, and the community that built it – all of us – can be very proud.
In other news, Monomania is so much fun to knit! Making great progress…