Novena Navideña

This is posted in 2021 but documents a project begun in 2003 and continued in 2006. We have followed a tradition of nine-consecutive evenings of prayers leading up to and concluding christmas eve. My mother now has the prayers memorized, but always relied on a small prayer book to help keep track of our progress. I decided one year to make my own prayer book in a vest-pocket size, and to create a template for pages already imposed into 16-page signatures printable onto US letter-sized paper. Upon completion of the first copy of the first edition my mother pointed out that the type was too small for her eyes. She prompted me to make a larger edition. This became the second edition. Three of the five printed for the second edition were shared with my mother and two siblings. The rest of the printed pages for both editions were placed in a project box for safe keeping. It may be time to complete the bindings. My nieces, nephew, and sons will be the intended recipients of this completed project.

T F m
November 26, 2021

Self-Documenting One-Sheet ‘Zine

I’ve never been good at Christmas cards. In the last ten years or so I’ve taken to making a very small edition of books and distributing them in a spirit of thanks giving. This feels more my speed. In the last couple of years I have found myself without ink for my printer and so have taken to making distributable PDFs that you can print for yourself. 

In the past I would carefully typeset the words of someone else that I had pirated, ahem, downloaded from the internet. This year I couldn’t find words that matched my feelings. 

So I wrote the story of a journey to prove to myself that one can actually use a Raspberry Pi computer to set type. 

I have already used a Free and Open Source software package called Scribus to make previous thanksgiving books on MacBook Pro of one vintage or another. There isn’t anything especially liberating or emancipatory about that. If I can afford this kind of laptop I should be able to afford the relevant softwares that represent the means of reproduction. 

I have now found how to set up Scribus on a Raspberry Pi. Only this week, actually. And so it is with some urgency that I wrote down the steps and poured them into the framework for the attached PDF ‘zine. It’s been so urgent that I haven’t gone back and fixed mistakes that will be glaring to me tomorrow. Nevertheless those failings are mine and not the software’s nor the hardware’s. What matters is that I can set up a graphic design workflow on a ~35 USD computer and some spare parts and free/libre software. This is exciting. This can be emancipatory. 

Some of the details are in the (verbose) text of the ‘zine. Within the ‘zine there is a URL for the source file, so you can go and make your own ‘zines if you are so inclined. It has all the paragraph and character level styles and master-page guides.
T F m
November 25, 2021