Photo by NB/David Mason Books.
Among the many useful tailings scooped up while mining Terry Belanger’s mind on Tuesday afternoon, this: In Studs Terkel’s book Working ( a series of interviews in which the author talks to people about their occupations to find out what they do and how they feel about it), there is a conversation with a book-binder. She is among the happiest of the lot.
In one of a growing number of pleasant karma clogged, book-related coincidences, I came across and bought Terkel’s book yesterday…Here’s some of what book-binder Donna Murray has to say:
“You must be very clever with a binding and give it the dignity it deserves. Because the pages are so full of stunning, fantastic things that say, This is life. So what do you do with a binding like that? I don’t know. You just give it a strength. If it’s leather or it’s cloth or it’s paper, you give it strength, an indication of what is inside.
I only enjoy working on books that say something. I know this is an anathema to people who insist on preserving books that are only going to be on the shelves forever – or on coffee tables. Books are for people to read, and that’s that. I think books are for the birds unless people read them…
Books are things that keep us going. Books – I haven’t got much feeling about many other things. I adore the work…Keeping a four-hundred-year-old book together keeps that spirit alive. It’s an alluring kind of thing, lovely, because you know that belongs to us. Because a book is a life, like one man is a life. Yes, yes, this work is good for me, therapeutic for old age…just keep going with the hands…”