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  • by Lindy Schneider
For many writers, interactions with the world of publishing are grossly imbalanced. Publishers hold the power – to reject, to accept, to print, to design, to promote…or not. The writer, after all the giving and blood that becomes a book, tends to walk away the one least rewarded, particularly in financial terms. Self-publishing and the new era of digital publishing are both blessing and relief  – allowing us to bring our words to the world and retain sacred power over our life’s work.

I’d like to take that a step further.

I’ve just ‘taken delivery’ of the most rewarding and exquisite published version of my work that I could ever imagine. It was a deal that elevated both the writer and the ‘publisher’ into a creative, heartful space – together, unified, equal, ONE.

Last year textile artist Petra Meer introduced me to the delights of handmaking books – cutting paper, tinting pages, sewing spines, stamping, glueing and crafting one-off original works of art.

I approached her with a very special short story I had written about a dear friend Paul, whom I had lost to cancer a short time before. I asked her if she would bind my story so that I could present a copy of it to Paul’s mother, Bea, as a symbol of reflection and reverence for the love we shared for her son.

Last week as we sat by the Yarra River, not far from where I first met Paul, Petra presented me with her ‘work’ – two bound copies of my story  – one for me, and one for Bea. 

pauls book 1My words, her handiwork – equal artists in space and time. 

Petra had lived into my words and allowed them to inform her response. The covers were bound in silk she had hand dyed from Blackwood bark found near by – just as the drum Paul had made for me had come from a Blackwood rescued from the shallows of the Yarra. Handmade stamps bought to life symbols of plums and tress that I had woven into the story. Hand made paper sang of the bush landscape that Paul called home.

Forever there will be only two copies of this book in the world and I will treasure my ‘published work’ with all my heart.

I can’t help thinking that Petra and I touched on something very ancient in our work together, something that perhaps was present in the making of the first books of human kind – where projects were done in a collaborative way, where the true beauty of the book was important to publishing, more important than profit and marketing. 

I am grateful to Petra for her vision and sensitivity, and I am grateful that we as writers can always find meaningful ways to bring our words to life when we flow with purpose and the sacred power within. 

This I believe is the true nature of publishing, irrespective of how our books gain life.

Here are a couple more pics: pauls book inside 21pauls book iside front 3          

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