“Take This World, It’s Yours To Grow”

Feel the fear inside your chest,
watch it ebb and flow.
The darkest hour dies at the dawn–
first clearing’s yours to reap and sow.

-“If I Could Talk To A Younger Me,”
Béla Fleck & Abigail Washburn

The banjo plucks that introduce this reflective ditty call me to attention like a meditation bell ringing: time to stop focusing on anything else. Time to focus on this, here, now.

How is it that what comes so naturally, what feels so fun and easy, can feel so difficult? Words collect themselves inside me, like worms in the compost heap of images and experiences. But sometimes what’s actively happening looks almost exactly like nothing. I become impatient, wanting a name for what’s growing.

But impatience pushes playfulness away, and play makes space for what’s alive.

How can we playfully make space for the good things growing in ourselves and in others?

Little Steps Forward

Shortly after attending the Hudson-Townsend Publishing Institute, I discovered Joe Biel’s book A People’s Guide to Publishing. The founder and CEO of Microcosm Publishing, Biel’s Guide is an approachable introduction to founding a publishing company with both DIY panache and business savvy. It was the summer in the middle of my full-time MBA program, and I was pursuing my writing with a mentor instead of a more standard MBA internship. Biel’s book pointed me toward delight and possibility, toward playful engagement with business tools as movement-building resources.

As I learn to relax into my own voice as a writer, I am also listening for others’ voices to amplify as a publisher. What movement am I called to, what–dare I say–ministry?

Onward.

Playing with Publishing

A year ago July, I stocked up on cardstock and vellum when the Pat Catan’s craft store in Tiffin, Ohio was having its going-out-of-business sale. In May, I had attended the Hudson-Townsend Publishing Institute at Calvin University in Grand Rapids, Michigan. The whole process of publishing captivated me: from acquiring manuscripts, to editing, design, production, and marketing. As we folded papers together to create our own chapbooks–nothing, really, inconsequential–I felt a spark of delight. This playfulness with the physical form of words; this attention to communication, both through words and through design. Sign me up, I thought. I want to be a publisher. But what does that look like? What does that mean?