Just last week, I came across an e-mail from Tamra from September 1, 2007. It read:”We officially hit the road.” That was the day Tamra and Jacob, and their dog, set out across the country. And today, two years to the day later, Toppan Hong Kong sent the last printed sheets of the book. The printing is done!
The printed sheets will now be folded and then sewn together. This process is called Smyth Sewing, after a nineteenth century self-taught Irish American inventor named David Smyth (though I was told it was “Smythe” sewing, and have spelled it incorrectly ever since), who invented the curious looking machine and several other pieces of book making equipment. The Smyth Machine company operated in America for over a century, until the 1970’s, when it sold its intellectual property to Nuova Smyth of Italy, still operational. Over time, that pale young woman operating the treadle was automated. And now, probably the majority of the Smyth binding machines (suitably advanced but still atavistic-looking) are found in China.
As I write this entry, an orange moon is rising into the heavens above Santa Monica, a result of the forest fires that have burned in the vicinity for 6 days. Over the weekend a fulminous cloud of smoke, its billows seemingly frozen in the air, rose above the city east of here. It looked very much like the result of some catastrophe, and yet business proceeded as usual, and the ocean breeze kept much of the ash at bay. This must be how the Pompeiians went through their days.
I cannot remember ever seeing an orange moon before. But those whoare expert on such things say orange is supposed to be a lucky color. I am taking the orange moon as a good omen for the book. (I just couldn’t resist the Pompeii comment.) TRH