Admittedly, it’s taken far too long to complete this Dante catalogue.
You might suppose it’s because I have to do laundry for four people. Hey, you’d be surprised how much laundry four people generate, especially when two of them spend much of their time playing in mud, dirt, and water! 😉
You might suppose it’s because I have to shop for groceries and cook for myself, a hungry husband, and two rapidly growing boys.
You might think it’s because I have to supervise homework by said boys in the afternoon and then accompany them to Little League baseball practice.
These things are all impediments to my book work at times. But I have a significant chunk of time to devote to books most days of the week when Thoughtful Husband is at work and Tom and Huck are at school, so I don’t really see these duties as impediments. In fact, they help me to maintain my priorities and to avoid spending excessive amounts of time thinking about books.
I spent four hours Tuesday cataloguing five items. I’m always surprised by those things which take the most time. It took me two hours to research the five items and determine a price for each. That seems a reasonable amount of time to me.
It took me another hour to find the answer to a question I had about book terminology, specifically, about the words “embossed”, “upper board”, and “lower board.” Who would have thought that such simple terms could cause such a dilemma? Not me.
After checking Carter’s ABC for Book Collectors and Glaister’s Encyclopedia of the Book with no luck in finding an answer to my particular question, I asked an email list of faculty and students from the Colorado Antiquarian Book Seminar. I am thankful I attended the seminar last year, because a couple of experienced faculty rescued me and helped me pick the term that was the best fit for the book in question. That seminar pays benefits far beyond the week spent in Colorado. (What are you waiting for? Apply now!)
It took me one more hour to write the actual descriptions for the five books.
I then spent a good deal of time while cooking dinner doing something highly unproductive: second-guessing my book-selecting skills, my descriptive writing ability, and my pricing methodology. I feel the same way I have felt before the two book fairs at which I’ve exhibited: What if no one buys my books?
As I said, it is a totally unproductive waste of time to bother with such thoughts. I have all the books I need for the catalogue. If I am to sell them, I must devote my energies to cataloguing them.
I spent four hours Tuesday working on cataloguing. I only catalogued five items. I know there is a learning curve when one takes on a print catalogue. It’s one reason I wanted to write a print catalogue — so I could learn how to do one. I’ve let myself get bogged down in small details at times, but I always research the answers to questions that arise while cataloguing, even when it takes time. I expect to get faster each time I do a catalogue. I trust that the details of cataloguing — the scanning of images, researching of books, determining prices, and physical layout become easier with practice.
Usually, the beauty of a piece of work well-done is in the details. I’ve decided to be content with the amount of time it has taken to sort out those details.
A small detail from a larger painted cover of one of the books from the catalogue.
See you in the stacks!