The Spaz

Have you ever seen those old black and white movies of people screaming and crying because The Beatles are getting off a plane/on the Ed Sullivan show/walking down a street?

I’ve always watched those clips with an intense wonder: how does this happen? How can people get this excited about anything? I’m a fan of people and things and shows, but I have never lost myself completely in the passion of loving something as much as these people do. I’m not judging them, I’m probably a little envious of how passionate they are, but I remain fascinated in a sort of anthropological way.

An author I like and admire is doing a reading today. Her name is Blair Braverman and her book is called Welcome to the Goddamn Ice Cube. She writes the way I hope to write someday, with wit and heart and the ability to really draw you into the story without tugging at you to join her. It reads as effortless, but I imagine it’s anything but. I also follower her on Twitter, like you do. She is one of my adopted imaginary co-workers, a member of my Fantasy Office Team, which is an elite group of writers on Twitter I’ve chosen to follow and learn from. Read the thread below for when I earnestly told them all how much they mean to me and they all responded like it was my own little Slack channel of awesome.

Anyways, I love her writing, I think she is an amazing person and is incredibly gracious with her fans and followers and I am nervous and excited to meet her in person. So much so that I made her something. Along with being a writer, she is also a dog musher and she just qualified for the Iditarod in 2019, a goal she’s been working towards. Raising and training a bunch of beautiful huskies to mush is not an inexpensive endeavor and one of the ways she and her husband fund their passion is through a Patreon.

One of the perks of being a patron of the team is getting Trail mail. They carry postcards and photos by dogsled to the post office, stamp the envelopes with a stamp Blair made, and send them off.

trail-mail-for-sawing

I love this little stamp, it somehow captures the motion and energy of the dogs she writes about in a way that reminds me of a gesture drawing. So I made her a little luggage tag for her trail mail bag. I printed out the stamp image, glued it down to a piece of copper, sawed it out with my jewelers saw and then unearthed a big piece of leather I acquired (ahem) back when I worked at Timberland. (It was given to me, I swear.) Then I found some brass rivet wire and somehow also found a beautiful brass screw rivet I’d been saving for something and made the tag. It was meant to be.

I made it on a whim and used the materials I had on hand. I sat at my jewelers bench, something I haven’t done in years, and got to work. I skipped lunch, ran into a few snags, solved them and when I was finished I felt like a new person. Because it’s been so long since I made something out of metal, I managed to convince myself I didn’t know how to do it anymore. But I do, and I’m good at it, which also feels weird to say, but I mostly believe it’s true. It felt so natural and calming to saw around the dog’s shape. To carefully saw tiny lengths of rivet wire and then hammer the ends to create a little mushroom shaped top so the wire wouldn’t slide back through the copper. I even made tiny little brass washers for the back to make sure the dog is nice and secure on the leather.

It feels so unusual to have made this for a relative stranger, but it’s what fans do. I wanted to give her something to thank her for being so inspiring to me and this felt like the right thing to do. In a few hours I’ll drive north and arrive way too early for her reading and hope I have the opportunity to say hello and present her with a small token of my appreciation. I hope she likes it. I hope I don’t scream and cry if it happens.

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