Tuesday, 25 February 2014

Exegi minimentum

Report from the word-face 

Here it is (the paperback; the Kindle version is still available).

For today's title I'm recycling a line I used to a Latin scholar, who didn't need this misericord (and perhaps I should add that a misericord was a sticking-out bit on the underside of a tip-up seat in choir stalls, which allowed monks to take the weight off their feet – thus having mercy [misericordia] on them: lots of pictures here {and isn't it marvellous that there's a website called www.misericords.co.uk?}) Well, I'm bending the sense a bit, but you get  the idea; I'm making life a bit easier for the one or two readers not conversant with Horace's poem.
The memory of a misericord brought with it a memory of dear old Fr Dominic Young O.S.B. He was a very old and frail priest, and the boy chosen to serve his Masses had to be brawny enough  ...
<autobiographical_digression theme="word_choice" value="brawny">
That word came to mind because, for a birthday at about that time, my mother (whom saints preserve and they jolly well better had) wrote an acrostic in which the B stood for Brawny – an odd choice, I thought at the time... no, I misremembered because of the alliteration of Bonny his dimples and brawny his fists.
...to help him to his feet whenever he genuflected. A taller man would find the misericord a bit low. But Fr Dominic, than whom I was taller even at the age of 9 or 10 found it the perfect height.

And, for completeness, I should point out that the 'minimentum' I mentioned at the outset was a children's novel that I wrote over 20 years ago, which never saw the light of day (although it felt‡, in several re-written forms, the growing weight of regular additions to many an editor's slush-pile).
Back in October 2013 I had the ridiculous notion that a paperback would be a straightforward drop-off from the main Kindle version, whose sources (as I think I've mentioned before... yes, here) are in Sigil (a WYSIWYG tool that produces a Kindle-ready .epub file). An elegant multi-platform solution would involve some more flexible tool (perhaps FrameMaker...? [which is now, I see, at v12; the last time I used it, it was at v5 {and I had played with a trial version of v6}. Anyway, there'd be lots of new stuff to learn...). Through my rose-tinted telescope it seemed that I could cut&paste from Sigil into Word, output from there to PDF, and Bob's your male relative of preference; bish/bosh, 10 days two weeks tops.

The reality has been rather different, and this blog has – from time to time over the last three months – chronicled Die Leiden des nicht so jungen Bobs. I hope it's been worth it: I have to admit that, although simple word-lists (a bit like, in another context, Barron's 501 Portuguese Verbs; I mean, just reference lists of a comprehensive corpus of data) were my original plan, the Kindle version (which I stumbled on, almost by chance, because it was there)  seems to me preferable. But a number of early Kindle readers asked 'When's the paperback?' (To which my first response was 'The paperback? Well... maybe...'.)

So the process has been far from smooth. While, over the coming months, I mean to maintain/correct/enhance the Kindle version, I'd only consider a 'maintenance release' of the paperback if I found a one-source/many-outputs solution.

That's all folks...


‡ Update 2014.02.25.17:20 – Esprit de l'escalier: added red bits.
Update 2014.02.28.10:20 – PS added.
PS: On the subject of misericords – in my new, less ecclesiastical sense – I've added 1p to the Amazon price, so that you don't get hit for postage. This price change will take a day or two to percolate throughout the Amazon network.

Update 2018.01.12.11:35 – Deleted old footer and added footnote.

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