For my final post as Guest Blogger (thanks again for having me, Stacey! & thanks for reading, friends), I wanted to say a few words about the crew that I’m so unbelievably fortunate to work with on Agriculture Reader / X-ing Books-related matters. My eternal gratitude goes out to each of them for all of their unique talents so industriously applied to things I care so deeply about.
Let’s start with Amy Mees, who heads the "Design Department" (it's a one-woman department). Here’s the thing with Amy: she has a vision. Her vision is that design doesn’t have to look bad. It doesn’t! In fact, it can even look good. It can look really good! That’s Amy’s philosophy. If you’ve ever handled an Agriculture Reader or any of the books put out by X-ing, or have seen her extensive portfolio of design-related matter, you know exactly what I’m talking about. If not, well, you’re missing out, and you should therefore click this link.
Amy is also an incredible cook. I try to talk my way into Amy-cooked meals as often as possible.
She designed these!
How about Mark Wagner, our resident book artist? The most important thing you need to know about Mark is there’s no one in the free world that works as hard as he does. He’s in his studio seven days a week, like an obsessed clock maker who's mere weeks away from "fixing" time travel. The other thing about Mark is that he only makes books part time. His full time thing is making jaw-dropping collages out of American currency. He recently spent a better portion of a year making a to-scale collage of the Statue of Liberty. It has (I believe) 11 panels, and stands close to 30 feet tall. It’ll be on display in June at the Pavel Zoubok gallery. You should go see it. Rumor has it a magician may perform outside the gallery on opening night. Also, Mark is not a good cook, but he will drink you under the table.
Mark made these!
The final member of the gang is the irrepressible Justin Taylor, my co-editor on Agriculture Reader and the very first person I go to with all of my own writing. Justin is not just a sharp editor, writer, and thinker, he’s also an all-around nice guy. His highest value for me, however, is his unflinching honesty. Everyone should—must—have a friend who will tell you precisely whether what you’re doing is worth the time and effort you’re putting into it. Sure, this sounds simple, but it isn’t. In fact, it’s one of the hardest things to find from a person. Because people want you to feel good about a thing you’ve done, and that’s nice, but it’s not always helpful. Don’t get me wrong, Justin wants me to feel good about things that I do, but also (and this is crucial) will tell me when I should not feel good about a thing I’ve done. For that opinion, as I’ve told him so many times, I would willingly pay very good money (thank God he’s never taken me up on that offer).
Justin also just put out a novel. It’s called The Gospel of Anarchy, and you should read it, especially if you have an interest in one or more of the following: alternate readings of Christianity, anarchy taken seriously, and sex (in its many attractive and bizarre variations). He also recently put out a book of short stories, called Everything Here is the Best Thing Ever. You should read that to.
And so that’s it. Thank you for reading, friends.
What’s that? Something about me. Well, if you’d like to know more about me, there happens to be a book just out with my name in the title. I'm also reading March 30th with the splendid Jennifer L. Knox at 192 Books, at 7PM. It's BYOB, so bring booze.