Calendar Makers     25 June, 2010, 04:30 pm
We just published our 2011 Literary Calligraphy calendar! Actually the pre-press work began in April, with a final publication date of June 15. This is the 12th edition that Susan and I created, although this is actually our 14th calendar. The first two were prepared for printing (and paid for) by Cedco Publishing. We learned from Cedco, especially on the crucial number of how many to print. These days we prepare the calendar totally in-house and have them printed locally to our specifications by Bison Printing of Bedford, VA.

First, Susan picks the theme of the calendar and suggests the Literary Calligraphy images for each of the 12 months. The 2011 theme is the four seasons, so that each image must fit that theme. We then discuss how large to present the image on the page, whether to have a border, and if so, the color of the border. Next we go to our respective offices and work on our tasks independently.

I produce the grid page of the calendar and keep the old files in QuarkExpress on our Macintosh computer. First, I bring up the files from the previous year to tab through and set the main dates for say, January 2011. I’ve got to be sure that the month starts on a Saturday and ends 31 days later on a Monday! And so it goes; through dates, holidays, and lunar phases, I research and lay out the grid. There’s no one source of calendar information on the internet or anywhere else, so we assemble the grid item by item.

Meanwhile, Susan is busy finding the quotations that will be typeset in the calendar. We already have the monthly quotations from the art, so that part is easy. More challenging is Susan’s quest for the perfect quotation for a given day, keeping with the theme of the calendar and usually tied to the writer’s birthday. Susan assembles her formidable library of quotations to answer a question like, “What would Shakespeare have said about the seasons that would be appropriate for his (alleged) birthday on April 23, 2011?” Answer, “The seasons alter,” from Midsummer Night’s Dream. These and other quotations are printed in gray on the calendar grid and are things that set our calendar apart.

Once the calendar is assembled we proof-read it at least four times. One year early on, we had two Ash Wednesdays and a collector called me on it. When I tried to make light of it, he reminded me that there is an element of trust when you buy a calendar. One Ash Wednesday per year is the limit. We now take this trust very seriously and proof, proof, proof.

Once the calendar goes to the printer, there are still web pages and other advertising to prepare. But the main job is over. It takes me a couple of days to realize that it is still 2010, because spending time with 2011 and 2012 dates is a bit disorienting. It’s all worth it when we hold that finished calendar in our hands and see that Christmas will be on December 25 again this year. Whew!

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