SlimNote Interview and Giveaway4 February 2014
SlimNote notebooks are rather lovely little notebooks, as I explained in my review. As well as being rather lovely little notebooks, they are, each and every one of them, carefully made by hand. This is a splendid thing and so, obviously, I wanted to find out more. Michael, one half of Tiny Toe Press, maker of SlimNote notebooks, was gracious enough to answer some questions I sent him.
This is a very interesting interview. Not only that but if you read to the end there is a chance to win a set of these splendid notebooks.
The most obvious first question is why go to so much trouble to make a notebook? The process you use is wonderful but incredibly time consuming. You say yourself it’s irrational…
After making notebooks in the morning for four hours straight on the kitchen table, the process makes me meditative. I play music while I carpenter notebooks. For long stretches of time I’m thinking about nothing else but making the right cut, or scoring a spine, or applying an even coat of glue. Only with mindfulness can I consistently make notebooks that look like a machine made them, almost. The next book I’m thinking of writing is “Zen in the Art of Notebook Making.”
I don’t know if I’ll always be willing to go through the trouble to make notebooks with just a ruler, box cutter, and glue. But at what point would it stop being handmade? At what point would it feel like a machine made it? When people use a SlimNote I would like them to know they’re using something that is human. If you look hard enough, our notebooks have discrete birthmarks that carry their own history. I don’t want them to stop being wabi-sabi.
As well as notebooks you also hand make books. How do you choose what you’re going to publish?
We get enough submissions at Tiny TOE Press to keep a few people busy reading, especially when you throw editing into the mix. What makes managing submissions interesting is not just the sheer amount of words you have to comb through, but the simple fact that among them there will inevitably be a few stories that should be published. I’ve had very good writers email me about taking back their submissions after more responsive publishers already accepted them.
As far as what I look for in a manuscript, I commit to the ones that make me want to keep reading. I don’t want to force myself to keep reading. A wide range of subjects appeal to me, from historical fiction to the new book coming out this Spring with aliens, “Rarity of the Century,” which is, according to its author, Fawzy Zablah, “a modern apocalyptic thriller told through different perspectives that begins as a coming-of-age story about a lonely young man looking for love but eventually turns into a more complex narrative about solitude and the never ending search for connection.” It’s really good, but don’t take my word for it.
Where did the idea for the hex series come from?
One morning I woke up to an email from someone in Austin who wanted to know if we could make a customized order of SlimNotes with hex paper for a friend of his who plays a lot of Civilization. I had never heard of hex paper, so I looked into it and discovered we could make hex notebooks. If you’re reading this, Alan, cheers.
What, for you, makes a good notebook?
A good notebook is sleek and reliable. You can carry it in your pockets or purses, the less conspicuous the better. Added bonus if the notebook also says something about you, which is why I take the business of customized orders very seriously.
What do you use your own SlimNote notebooks for?
Bridget uses The Kitchen Series to jot down recipes, and The Midas Series (each of which she paints by hand using gold acrylic) for to-do lists and sketching. I use a customized SlimNote with “unwind” stamped on the front to write sections of my new novel. I also use “The Fixie” to design ads for SlimNote, which I put on the internet, usually by just taking a picture of the actual page from the SlimNote with something quirky and/or persuasive written on it, like the one featured above.
Thank you so much Michael for taking the time to take part in this interview!
You can win your very own set of three handmade SlimNote notebooks. The winner will be able to choose between The Basic, The Hex, The Midas, The Hipster or The Kitchen Series. Or, how about this? You could get a set of 3 custom orders! (You will need to have a JPEG of your logo or you can have a word or name stamped on the cover.) Head over to the SlimNote website to see what’s on offer.
This is a fantastic prize and it’s available internationally.
All you have to do is leave a comment telling me one interesting fact about where you live (and where that is, approximately).
The closing date is Saturday 15th February at 9am GMT. The winner be picked at random and will be notified on this site and also by email. They will then have until 9am GMT on Saturday 22nd February to let me know their mailing address. If I haven’t heard from them by then I’ll pick another random winner. I make no guarantees about the safe arrival of the notebooks and will not be responsible for customs charges, should they apply.
I live in Ithaca, New York, USA, which has its own cyclotron, a 25-year-old mayor, and a 4% unemployment rate.
I live in the City of Baltimore and Francis Scott Key wrote America’s National Anthem while watching the bombardment of Fort McHenry during the War of 1812.
Cincinnati was once called Porkopolis because of the meat-packing industry situated here on the Ohio River… also Jerry Springer was once our mayor.
I live near Chicago, IL. It’s interesting because of the movie ‘Blues Brothers’ and ‘Dark Knight’ both being filmed on location in Chicago– I really enjoy recognizing the areas in the city.
I live in Emporia the founding city of Veteran’s Day.
Bastrop, Texas … After their victory at the Battle of the Alamo (Feb 23 – Mar 6, 1836), Santa Anna’s army marched through Bastrop but not before they massacred 303 soldiers / POWs of the Army of the Republic of Texas at Goliad, TX (Mar 27, 1836). Unknowingly they were on their way to their defeat at the Battle of San Jacinto near Houston, TX (lasting 18 minutes on Apr 21, 1836 with hundreds of Mexican dead … my ancestors were especially put out about the massacre at Goliad).
I’m from Denver, Colorado, which is where the first Chipotle Mexican Grill was opened!
I live in Abingdon-on-Thames, Oxfordshire, UK. One of our town traditions is for local dignitaries to throw buns off the roof of the town hall on special occasions. Radiohead were formed here and people have lived in this area for at least 6,000 years.
I’m living in Littleton CO. From my front door I can walk to the Front Range Mts, MT bike sandstone outcropping trails and open space if I go West. Go East & I get Greek food, Bison Burgers, 3 micro breweries, and an “Old Town” that’s being revitalized!
I live in Auburn, MI. The middle of the state’s mitten, near the thumb. This is an agricultural area, so the big summer festival is the Corn Fest. However, it’s held before corn in this area is ready to be picked. No idea why!
New York City; Queens to be specific.
It’s the single most ethnically diverse place in the world.
I live in Missoula, which is in Western Montana. It was the home of James Crumley, who was one of the greatest crime fiction writers of all time.
That’s where I became a writer, too. I love Missoula. And miss Crumley.
Valdosta, Ga. It is known as title town USA by ESPN.
I live in Bedminster, NJ, where John DeLorean (inventor of the DeLorean car — “Back to the Future”) once lived in a fabulous mansion! His estate is now the Trump National Golf Club, where “The Donald” plans to be buried.
I live in Berea, KY. Home of Berea College (www.berea.edu). Our students do not pay tuition, but “each student receives the equivalent of a full-tuition scholarship worth $20,900, or $83,600 for four years.” In addition, the town is the states arts and crafts capital.
I live in Tampa, FL, USA and something interesting about Tampa is we are home to MacDill Air Force Base, which is also the United States Central Command Center (CENTCOM).
I live in Ribeirão Preto, São Paulo, Brazil. What’s interesting abou RP is that during winter the temperature can reach 40ºC. Crazy, hum! It is also an important services provider, medical, entertainment, shopping in a 200km radius.
I live in Morro Bay, California. It’s a small fishing village on the coast about halfway between Los Angeles and San Francisco. The “rock” in Morro Bay is actually an ancient volcanic plug (let’s hope everything stays dormant forever!).
I live not far from Salzburg where Mr. Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart was born 🙂
Cambridge, Mass., where I live, may be Harvard University’s home but, more importantly to us, from 1909 until the 70’s it was home to Carter’s Ink Co., established in Boston in 1858 by William Carter, a stationer. By the 1880’s, Carter’s was the largest ink producer in the world, and eventually sold pens as well. Dennison Manufacturing (now Avery) bought Carter’s out in 1975.
I live in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, which is notable for its many restaurants!
There are 700,000 people in Seattle right now celebrating the Seahawks Superbowl win. The population of Seattle is about 627,000.
Our local crawfish boiling pot (shack) has FINALLY opened up (yeah, Crawfish Time!). I live in Lafayette, LA and our cold winter has meant a slow start to the season.
Rockaway NJ had one of the primary iron forges that supported the Continental Army during the Revolution. Washington also had his winters quarters near here in the winter of 1777
Sunray, TX, originally was called “Altman.” The grain elevator in Sunray boasts a storage capacity of 7 million bushels.
I live in Leuven Belgium, home to the largest university in Belgium, the Katholieke Universiteit
I live in New York CIty, Manhattan. I’m trying to think of an interesting fact that others wouldn’t already know…there used to be a stream across Manhattan–Minnetta Brook–that is now covered over and runs underground as part of the sewer system. Imagine NYC with streams and brooks…bizarre…
i live in kensington md where on the beltway there is this humongous mormom church the founder of under armour is from kensington his mom was the mayor
I live in Shelbyville KY which is located between Louisville (to the west) and Lexington (to the east). Two things we take seriously here, basketball & horses. Last two mens national championship teams were UK (Lexington) & UL (Louisville). Shelbyville is the Saddlebred horse capitol of the world. Colonel Sanders lived here after leaving Corbin KY and opened Claudia Sanders Dinner House which used to be known as the Colonel’s Lady.
I live in fabulous Las Vegas, NV. People know all about the gambling and shows but not many know that we have both skiing and boating within 30 minutes of the city. Pretty nice.
I live in Elkview on the Elk river which was called Tiskewa (river of the fat elk).
I live in Cape Cod, Massachusetts, the first landing site if the pilgrims on November 11, 1620. Very busy here in the summer!
I live in Saratoga, CA and while in recent-ish news it’s the safest city in the state, it also has had several famous people grow up in the small city such as Olivia de Havilland, Vienna Teng, and Kerri Walsh.
I live in Saskatoon, SK, Canada, which is notable for the river – it’s a fairly small city and we have seven bridges.
I live in Paris, France, the most beautiful city in the world.
I live in Madison, Wisconsin, home to architect Frank Lloyd Wright
I live in Ontario, the GTA area. I guess it’s well known but yes, Canada does love it’s hokey, Tim Horton’s coffee…and lacrosse.
I live on the Front Range in northern Colorado, where most of the land used to be sheep farms.