I started walking through the birds and the drugs,
Now I’m singing in the park.
I found you watching all the lovers walk around like they’re glowing in the dark.
Over the city,
Was the guys and the guns,
The money and the drugs.
Only looking for somewhere else to be where the future never comes.
Something for Kate, The Futurist
I had a devious plan that I had been working towards since I’d returned from the first visit. I wanted to give Jersey girl a gift; something she would hopefully treasure forever and I felt I’d hit on the perfect thing.
There are now several web companies that offer small run book printing. The Service provided is to a high standard and you can print as little as one copy in hardback for a surprisingly reasonable price (considering the final product).
My intention was to visit during a variety of seasons, take as many photographs as possible and compile it all into a visual record of our days together. When it was done, I would give it to her as a birthday present.
Now I wasn’t actually sure how many visits I would be making before the permanent shift, so I’d been a little unclear about how the book would be themed. All I knew for certain was that the seasons would form the visual backdrop.
By the end of the fall trip, I felt I had enough material to work with and started doing the layouts. It was a shame that I hadn’t managed to include a spring visit, but at that time, we thought the next trip was going to be permanent.
I still had great material from summer, fall, and winter (though, out of sequence). Carefully I picked the final selection and organised my layout. I decided to intersperse the images with song lyrics from tracks that meant a lot to both of us. These were mostly from Something for Kate, a band that had played a pivotal role in our early bonding, though, a few other bands also made the cut.
The book was to be called Eleven Weeks (the amount of time we’d spent together to that point) and was split into three chapters summer, winter & fall; each covering one visit.
When all was done to my satisfaction, I sent the files off to the publishers in the US and waited. I’d arranged for the book to be mailed straight to Jersey girl, so I was not even going to get to see it before she did (I don’t mind admitting, that made me very nervous).
The suspense was torture, but after several weeks the package duly arrived and I got to watch her reaction as she opened it on Skype. When I saw her face, I knew the months of planning and work had all been worth it.
The gesture was small in the scheme of things, but as I watched her gaze wonderingly at her gift, I was struck by the realisation that no one had ever done anything like this for her before.
This made me both happy because it meant that I’d managed to do something special for her, and quite sad because she is the sort of soul that people should want to go out of their way to do nice things for.
As she leafed through our memories, she was crying real tears and didn’t know what to say. That was fine, her eyes and gorgeous smile conveyed everything I needed to know.
All images used in this post are my own.
The publishing company I used was Blurb