from one book, another…

Normally, I don’t cut up books — I make new ones from scratch. But, when the Light Street Branch of the Enoch Pratt Free Library announced a “Between the Covers” altered book competition this summer, I knew I had to enter. Those library ladies are pretty cool.

Here’s my book, “Rafealla: 1975,” which was built around and inspired by “Rock Star” by Jackie Collins…

When I started thinking about books to use as a base, I found myself intimidated by the classics. So, I picked a book I normally wouldn’t read, and decided to let it lead me along…

I found a chapter heading I particularly liked and tried creating an erasure poem using the existing text. What’s funny probably only to me — since I’ve covered up the evidence! — is that the original text on the page is two girls comparing the size of their breasts. It’s pretty cheesy. But also kind of awesome…

I decided I wanted my altered book to include secrets about who “Rafealla” really is, so I cut little windows to reveal phrases from pages below, and used ribbons to create tabs that would let the reader discover the secrets while exploring the book. I glued whole sections of the book together to control the reader experience…just a bit.

Ultimately, the book is about dreams. So, I thought it would be nice to stash Rafealla’s dreams away in a tiny, glittery guitar-shaped diary — a book-within-a-book, really. The guitar book contains photos of women rockers from a recent issue of Rolling Stone magazine, along with some of the first words the author uses to describe the longing Rafealla feels to be a professional musician.

It all fits together. The guitar is safe in its case lined with purple felt. I hope Rafaella makes it big someday.

And I hope Jackie likes it. ❤


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