A Long Time in the Making

Here is an artist book I recently finished. It’s called Reverie.

This book has been in process for a very long time. I think it was in the summer of 2012 that I prepared 5 discarded children’s library books for becoming artist books – I started by gluing together every 2 or 3 pages to make a good surface for collage. I then did some preliminary painting in each book.

After that, I worked on each book separately. It takes a long time to make an artist book like this – each page is an individual work.

I don’t have an idea for the overall book when I start. I just make pictures as I feel like it. Then, when all the pages are done, I look through it and see if a thread emerges. Sometimes I decide to change or enhance a page or two. And one time I saw a nice storyline, but the pages were in the wrong order. So I just cut the book up and set things up my way. So the words in the book follow from the images – I write according to what I see.

This particular book, Reverie,I think I finally finished it, words and all, in December, 2013? But I got sidetracked with my latest round of health issues, so it’s finally appearing now. The book images appear below and under them, you can find the text all written out.


Cautious steps
toward the sharp-shadowed concrete stairs
Steps and stairs evaporate
into a blue-black fog
obscuring what is to come next
A dare to take a chance
it is
and can you answer it?

The city moves from night to day
Last night, this morning:
All those who walked
along those streets in the dark
outward away going home just going
Have reversed course and now
in the hard bright sunlight
appear to know more answers to things
than they did
last night
at the tail of a worn out day

Alone, there is time to think
Under the night sky, there is time to think
Walking in this landscape, there is time to think
But did you?

The sun glares down
at everything under the sky
The empty lake ripples.
The shadows on the fringes of the shore
know who put them there
and who can take them away.
While under the sky
The empty lake ripples
in no debt to anyone
The empty lake ripples
takes no sides

There is something about a green day
And a pink dress
And a walk in the grass
that hides your feet
as you shuffle step through it
There is something
about the idea
of a new pattern
fresh hopes
green ideas

What if you
were quite small
where today you are large
and you saw things
from small
The blades of grass waved in your face
and insects viewed you with suspicion
as a possible rival
It’s hard to run fast
when you need to jump over twigs with all your might
just to get over them
and fallen leaves are as big as bed sheets
and the insects still have not made up their minds
about you

This is your town
here on the map
This is your house
here on the street
The bus goes by
eight times a day
and three at night
You read books
in your living room
You‘re saving up
for a new roof
and a bit of paint
This house really has a lot of appeal
for you
and that’s why
you put the pots of ferns on the porch steps
and planted those magnificent bushes
that enfold the house
the way the house
embraces you

There is a lot of ugly in this world
You stand smack in the middle of it at times
But this isn’t one of those times
There is nothing but beautiful
as far as your eye can see
right here it’s just beautiful
to you
pleasing to your eye
restful to your soul
Because you’re here
where you want to be

In the evening
just before dark
in the chill fall
like every year this time
you stand in your front yard
small on the edge of the world
But it’s another story here
in your front yard
by your little white stucco house
and your tall tree
just one leaf left on its branches
and you think about
standing here this year
last year
next year
if the fates allow
in the center of the world

People step out into the world
decked out in some kind of personality
to make themselves known
They are doing it
talking on the phone
buying a car
doing push-ups
cleaning the garage
wearing carefully chosen clothing
And making the most of every minute
chance sends
all day long every day
in public
or at home
It’s making the statement
that satisfies
not so much the statement

Can the neighbor’s cat
really be that large
that observing
that disapproving
of you
and what have you done
to deserve this attention
if you have

In the city
the buildings are lighted
the bus roars along the black street
in the private thoughts
of the fading sun
in the brassy voices
of the orange streetlights
in the half-turned face
of the green cheese moon above
You and your shadow consider each other
decide to walk together
for as long as it suits the both of you
or at least through tomorrow

16 thoughts on “A Long Time in the Making

  1. Claudia McGill Post author

    You are more than welcome, and I want to thank you for your wonderful comments. I do love making these books, and I feel each one is a real journey for me, with the pictures, the writing, etc., and not knowing how it will all come together, but somehow it always does and makes me feel satisfied. I am so happy you are pleased with it and I know it has a good home. Thank you.

  2. petrujviljoen

    It’s true that it’s difficult to put a price on an artist’s book. So much work goes into it and the normal criteria (if there is such a thing) for pricing an artwork just doesn’t work. I’m glad Nannus reblogged this, I haven’t been on wordpress for a week or so and missed your post. Lucky Nannus.

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