The book Brave on the Page is remarkable for three reasons. Well, many reasons, but three that I’ll focus on. Firstly, it’s an Espresso Book, a wonder of modern technology that “prints a book faster than you can make a cup of coffee,” creating and assembling the tome on what looks like a copier on steroids with glass walls that let you watch the inner workings. And what comes out is a real book, with a real color cover and pages that feel like a book, not like a photocopy.
The second remarkable thing about Brave on the Page is that it pulls together the thoughts and experiences of forty-two Oregon writers, in the form of interviews and essays. As such, it offers a rare snapshot-in-time of regional thinking on the craft of writing and living the creative life.
The brainchild of writer Laura Stanfill, Brave on the Page grew out of two years of posts on her blog, Laura Stanfill: Writing. Reading. Community. But the book is not just the blog posts lifted and dumped into print. Laura, being the consummate professional (she’s an amazing fiction writer as well as a journalist by trade) moulded the material into print form, which meant re-editing everything to match the more straightforward tenor of a printed book. A blog can be informal and chatty, whereas a book doesn’t come across so well that way (unless you’re Mindy Kaling and you write chatty comedy.)
Anyone with any interest in writing in Oregon should read this book. It’s varied and comprehensive and reveals another rich layer to the wealth of creativity and talent in Oregon. Oh, and yours truly is included, specifically an interview about my novel, Parts Per Million.
The third remarkable thing is that the book is self-published. Which means Laura didn’t have to shop a proposal around to agents and/or publishers then, if accepted, wait years for the book to crawl through the glacial publishing process and possibly emerge as a distortion from her original vision. Instead Laura had an idea and she went ahead and executed it. Just a few years ago this would have been an almost unthinkable level of individual power over media. Wow!
Here are photos from the launch party at Powell’s Books, and the 2012 Wordstock festival. Congratulations to Laura for bringing so many writers together in one book. I’m proud to be part of the collection!