“Why Don’t You Dance”,by Raymond Carver

            The concept of my book was to create the essence of a dance scene in the novel, “Why Don’t You Dance?”, by Raymond Carver.  The ways in which the concept was creative and original were that I tried to take “a moment” out of the story, so as to encourage someone to read it.  The cons of this book-making process, were the elements.  If I were to have used some machine to have connected these parts, then I think the idea really would have flowed.  I think that when you are working with different mediums (i.e. cardstock, fabric, more cardstock, and length of paper, then gravity starts to play in.)  The ways however, in which my concept challenged me creatively, were to use the ultimate outline/design of the book.  When I first heard that I had to do a mock-up of a story, I immediately went to this Raymond Carver story.  Upon fishing through all my books that I’d made in class, I just knew that the Turkish fold would be the right one.  It was fabulous for its folds and since part of the short story involves a great dance sequence, I felt that I could do something with it. 

            The level of craftsmanship that was involved in this project were challenging.  I wanted to create a Turkish fold which had vibrant, structured color- bright glowing blue. I saw a belt brimming out of this Turkish fold (the reason for why I picked this type of book) and so I had to create that in a realistic way.  I thus added a soft, light cream fabric to the insides so that it would appear as such.  On top of this I added a bow for which spread it out in the middle of the fold.  Each part was folded into an accordion style book.  I needed therefore to adjust each bow so that they fit next to each other to form a whole.  I also needed to make these bows fit inside a piece of Velcro.  The Velcro was added for the effect of the reader.  I wanted the reader to open it, and be able to pull out the accordion fold of the bow, so that they could read the story inside each.  On the front of the cover, I used a blue ribbon, accenting the color inside, to hold it together. I also added a cream colored cover with a sewn together page book, which included the copyright, title page, colophon, and extra picture.

            The successes and failures that I had concerning the book were the weight.  I really liked my ideas.  I stared and thought a long time about how to get my view of the book out, to an audience.  I feel that some of the parts were a little too big, to fit inside the book effortlessly.  The successes, however in my book, were that it gave the essence of a moment in time, when something was special, hazy, and dizzy. 

            The ways in which I have fully explored and stretched the book form that I did, were to freeze a moment between the unnamed girl, and the owner of a house.  The two of them dance at some point together, though she was very young and he, very old.  The interesting part of the story was its contrast with something wholesome and parochial- its just a garage sale on a Saturday afternoon.  However, in the middle of it all, the owner offers a girlfriend and boyfriend customer, whiskey.  He turns on a record player and they all start dancing.  At some point he explains that his “neighbors have seen everything” so that it doesn’t matter if they are drunk and outside dancing in his backyard.  This line is interesting to me because I wonder about the man and he becomes more complex at this point. I therefore wanted to capture this inside of the book, these thoughts, this still-frame.  The form of the book is therefore linked to the content in the story due to the picture on the front cover.  You’ll see a black bow and patterns in a black and white dress.  I wanted to make this picture that I took of the outline of the inside of the book, appear hazy.  I added a touch of yellow/burn-brown through Photoshop, to make this dress appear the color of whiskey.  This was for the dazed of “drunken” effect that the girl experiences while dancing drunk, in circles.  I also added the blue, white, and black bow of the dress on the inside, in order to create the stressed effect of dancing.

            The graphic and typographic elements that I added into the book for effect were Lucinda handwriting so that the title and every other part could appear loose. I wanted a typeface that would appear light and thin and jovial, just as I imagined the girl to be in the story.  She seemed up for anything, even drinking whiskey with the owner of a garage sale, and dancing with him too.  I therefore kept the title of the book the same.  I have to say that I like the fact that it is in the form of a rhetorical question.  It’s almost as if the man in the story is being aggressive towards the girl and backfiring at her.  Instead of saying this though, he’s asking of her something else- to entertain and interact with him. 

            Looking back in process, conception, and construction, I would have done some things differently.   Though I liked all of the ideas, I probably would have taken the concept of using card-stock and would have used lighter paper.  I also would have constructed the fabric that the story was glued on, onto lighter, smaller fabric and perhaps even black paper.  The story itself was probably copied too large, and it probably would have been easier to have copied it onto smaller bits of paper.  Perhaps this would have helped the process of opening and folding the Turkish fold.  For, when you fold it back into a book, the bow tends to get crushed a bit.  However, I really had fun with this idea and loved it. 



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