Allison Temple Blog

Awkward and Thoroughly Kissable

No New Ideas

jan-mellstrom-242087.jpg Nearly done editing (for now), which means I'm going back to drafting Martin and Seb. I'll introduce you to them properly soon, but the basic premise is this:

Martin is an out of work university professor who's come to Red Creek to live with his brother. The only job he can get is working part time at Dog Ears Used Book Store. It's humiliating that it's come to this, but he'll manage. What he doesn't plan on is the prickly artist who lives upstairs from the store, Seb.

Seb has his own view of things. His work involves cutting up the unsellable books at Dog Ears and turning them into something new. Martin prizes the written word above everything, and Seb's work doesn't sit well with him. Seb sees Martin as just another academic snob.

You can guess what happens.

I'd seen carved books online before I started writing Seb and Martin, and was fascinated with the way they made me feel. Books and the stories they tell have been a part of my life for as long as I remember. As a writer with a growing career, I'm learning to appreciate, in a whole new way, the effort it takes to create a story. But is the book the story? Martin would say every book is sacred. Seb says a book is just a consumer product and we shouldn't get so hung up on the medium.

I don't claim to be covering new ground with this argument. It's a debate that happens all over the place. Artists and academics, people who don't go anywhere without their Kindle and people who never throw a book away. The whole used bookstore industry exists because of the guilt that we feel at the thought of throwing out a book, but go find your local used bookstore and ask them what happened to the zillions of copies of 50 Shades of Grey people dropped off in 2012.

Seb carves books into something new. New words, new images, new ways for Alice to go through the looking glass. I hope what he's doing is a little bit unique, but there are artists all over the world who work in this medium. The reason I'm writing this blog post is because it turns out one of them has a TED Talk. What he has to say about his work and about the future of books is so thought-provoking. It might also be a little bit like looking at the inside of Seb's head, but you'll have to wait for his story to find out!

https://embed.ted.com/talks/brian_dettmer_old_books_reborn_as_intricate_art