All Bottled Up.

That’s right…the whole “Book Project” is done.

At midnight on Friday, the deadline to submit work to be edited into the anthology of student writing that we have been putting together hit, and closed.

When I left school, I had about one hundred pages of student writing edited and compiled into the template format provided by Lulu “print on demand” publishing, for the production of a 6″ by 9″ format hardcover text. If the students stick to their typical performance (which seems likely), I will have received by midnight a submission from roughly half of them.

At slightly more than two hundred students, that would be about a hundred submissions. The submissions have been averaging two pages, with poetry being shorter, and fiction running much longer. I’ve been scanning and adding student artwork to the template, and I’m projecting a text of about two hundred pages.

Over the next week, I’ll be juggling putting together the final text and editing, while simultaneously teaching class. It is an ambitious schedule and an ambitious task, but I would like to have a sample copy on hand as soon as possible. Figuring that out…that’s what Cap and Sunset are stressed about.

There are unexpected challenges to this, that I hadn’t foreseen at all. One student wanted to write an opinion piece on LGBT rights, and it was both emotional and well written. In it, she discloses that her greatest fear is coming out as a lesbian to her parents. I’m torn on this…should I ask her to use a pseudonym? That’s an editorial consideration for Monday, obviously…it would be awful to have her lose the ability to come out on her own terms. signing her actual name to that bold piece of work could in fact change the terms of that moment.

I say that because on parent conference night, several parents were interested in how they could get their hands on a book that doesn’t exist yet. It got me thinking of the possible reach of any part of the text in the community, and the ramifications of that local reach. Sure, the project was entirely about Free Speech, and the power of words. The reality of that is that words often have consequences, that we need to be adequately prepared for.

I have to write a preface for a piece that I haven’t read or edited yet. A student had come to me wanting to write a research paper into the idea that the 9-11 terrorist attack might have been a hoax. I advised the student that there was substantial evidence that the event had actually happened (I indicated missing buildings, live news reports, and so on), but if he wished to research the topic, and do a real dive down that proverbial “rabbit hole,” he could. Again…the whole things was about freedom of mind, and freedom of speech.

Still…I’m thinking that particular text will need an editorial disclaimer from my co-teacher and myself. Possibly two.

Right now, the work ahead (for me) is kind of daunting. I have to read, review, and edit probably about sixty more papers, and then format them into the template so that the thing comes out as a publishable anthology. That’s checking every page, and then rechecking, and then reformatting. And checking again.

With that said…the level of “buy in” from students was truly incredible. As a result, a fast turnaround on my side is pretty important.

The pencils, without speech balloons.

Cap and Sunset have a similar problem here. Sure, they could set up some kind of janky Pym Particle gizmo, and grow that Bottle City to full size, but that would probably work out badly. There’s no plan…the bottle could wreck part of the city, they might not have enough space…heck, the city could disintegrate. They have to figure it out themselves, and they haven’t done it before. It’s a heavy handed metaphor, people.

I did enjoy drawing Cap in a more fitted t-shirt, which she never really wears. Also, the serious platform shoes. Once in a while, I like having her be a bit more feminine.

Like Cap setting down that Bottle City and leaning on it, taking a breather, I’m taking a breather from the “Book Project” for the weekend. Heck…I actually have to plan a bit for the next week, anyway.

Classes always go on, regardless of the work you have left to do.


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