Behind the Scenes of the Contest 3: Oh, the Overview

Pocket Guide Thumbnailsby Cory Pete

The book is dead…

Bullshit. That Fascist propaganda has run its course. Reflecting upon my time in “The Publishing House” I can tell you now that that sycophantic polemic is an outright lie. So who spreads this lie to the readership at large? Probably Amazon, but either way it is shit.

Nazis burned books, and American media is not only owned by five large companies, but also horribly censored. These people aim to write culture and want to tell stories about how you and I must live. These fascist dogs want us to feed them our souls.

I did not acquire this mindset in publishing class. Well, not all of it anyway. The class as a whole explored the importance of books. We looked at the basics of publishing from the ground up. We went through the whole process, including picking the manuscript, which was definitely democratically executed (including lies, yelling, and jumping ship). Our class picked The Pocket Guide to Divorce, by Neil Connelly.

As a whole, we got a taste of publishing. We chose which jobs we did. If someone was good at social media then they did social media, number sign clutch. Each task, whether it be typesetting, book reviews, eBook layout, or editing, got broken up into groups, and like a well-oiled assembly line, was completed. In essence, we were the CSU Channel Islands Imprint of Gorsky Press for the semester.

Our professor, Dr. Sean Carswell, comes from a special breed of punk rockers who believe in the DIY ethos–as in learning through doing, not the neoliberal appropriation that helps create hanging gardens and colorful flower arrangements. Knowledge by doing is the motto.

Hannah Arendt said, “Total terror…substitutes for the boundaries and channels of communication between individual men a band of iron which hold them so tightly together that it is as though their plurality had disappeared into One Man of gigantic dimensions.” By publishing and being an ever-moving mass we escape the bounds of such tyranny. We lived the punk rock ethos. Our last two weeks were spent exploring the independent publishing world to find those who were also publishing non-mainstream literature. They represented a wide variety of individual experiences for readers to explore. Some publish up to 40 books a year, while others are barely getting 2-3 out, but they all are still doing it themselves.

If we learned anything from this class it was the importance of autonomy. Tyranny comes in many shapes. Some comes in the form of fascism, and others come in quirky burger ads with bacon sauce spilling all over “beautiful” ladies. It is important to do, to act. Dr. Carswell gave us the tools to be masters of ourselves, to explore our surroundings, and to be part of a movement. DIY is an ethos, not a brand.

(Students in The Publishing House course wrote seven narratives about the class and the contest. This is the third.)

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