The bad news about good news

Handmade Book - Local Color by Elissa Campbell

Local Color - piece #1

I’m still in a bit of shock.

Yesterday I was contacted by someone about having two of my pieces published in an upcoming book. I actually put two books in a box today and mailed them off. It freaked me out.

I’m still freaking out.

Part of me is so happy that I’m afraid to believe it’s true until I have a copy of the published book in my hands. In fact, I’m terrified that I’ll jinx the whole thing just by talking about it.

I think that the news came at both the best and the worst time. Last week, I found out that I wasn’t accepted into the Paper and Book Intensive. Quite honestly, I’m heartbroken. Needless to say, I’ve been feeling a bit emotionally raw ever since I got my rejection.

So then I get an Email about my work being included in a book. Under normal circumstances, I’d be on the moon. Unfortunately, I’ve been on vacation in Ick Land and I’m having a hard time getting a convenient flight out of here. In case you’re wondering, Ick Land is not close to the moon.

I think that I also might be feeling extra vulnerable because the chosen pieces have significant personal value. I don’t do much one-of-a-kind work and what I do create is pretty meaningful to me – I don’t sell them for just this very reason. I’m hoping that I’ll feel better once my books are received and I get a yes-this-is-really-just-what-I’m-looking-for Email.

Am I the only one who has such a difficult time with situations like this?

Handmade Book - The Life of a Life by Elissa Campbell

The Life of a Life - piece #2

10 Responses to “The bad news about good news”

By Justin - 3 March 2010 Reply

These are beautiful. You deserve all the recognition you receive. I really like the page design on the second.

By Margaret - 3 March 2010 Reply

Your books are so beautiful! I am sorry you are in such a state about things but I am sure it will work out fine – congratulations!

By annebanan - 3 March 2010 Reply

No, you’re not the only one who has such a difficult time with things like this. Congratulations for getting your work into a book! That’s fantastic. But PBI – bummer. I thought you could just sign up for that, not that you had to apply and could be … rejected! Ouch.

I haven’t been binding all that long, maybe a few years, and I feel like such a clunky beginner most of the time. I read your blog and many others for inspiration and clues “how to.” How to approach making things (lots of great ideas), how to think about maybe teaching someday (I taught other things for 15 years but haven’t taught bookbinding), how to deal with successes and failures and the inevitable “stuckitude” (as I call it).

You’re way ahead of me; I don’t even have a blog yet and am timid about starting one. What if I don’t have something to say every day? And I haven’t had anything in any but a couple of local shows. And I assisted in a class but haven’t tried to dream up one of my own yet.

Your books are beautiful and you seem to be on just the right track with your work, workshops, etc. I’ll watch for a post with more on the book you’re being included in. I’m sure it will work out. Keep on keepin’ on!

By Elissa - 4 March 2010 Reply

Anne –

I don’t think I really considered how competitive PBI was, even though I knew that there were only 65 slots. I’m already trying to figure out other possibilities for summer classes.

I won’t lie – when I started my blog, it was hard to figure out what to say. Over time, it got easier. Now I have a bunch of drafts that I’ve been ignoring. Something always comes up that’s more interesting. And at times, I still feel like a beginner – there are always more things to learn.

Good luck with your work and your future blog!


By Maggie - 3 March 2010 Reply

You’re not the only one! It is *rough* to be rejected from anything an it is nerve-wracking to have things hanging in the balance. Your work looks beautiful – keep plowing ahead!

By Elissa - 4 March 2010 Reply

Justin, Margaret, and Maggie,

Thanks so much for your kinds words and support. I found out yesterday that the author received my work and still wants my pieces included in her book. Now that that barrier has been removed, I’ve now advanced to the I’ll-believe-it-when-I-have-a-copy-of-the-published-book-in-my-hands. I have a fear of editors.


By velma - 7 March 2010 Reply

elissa, are you on pbi waiting list? perhaps a slot will open up. and congrats about the book. i once or twice started that process, and missed out on one i should have tried. it’s great to get some exposure and feedback.

By Elissa - 8 March 2010 Reply

Velma –

The whole PBI thing was so weird. They sent me an Email telling me that I didn’t get a scholarship, which I pretty much expected. I then replied, asking if that meant that I was accepted. They wrote back and told me that I wasn’t. I never received a letter from them, which I found surprising. You think they’d at least send a letter to everyone who applied.

The book photo shoot was supposed to happen today. I’m keeping my fingers crossed that I make the editor’s cut.


By velma - 8 March 2010 Reply

sounds like a screw up to me. do they know you’re interested if you don’t get the scholarship? i got one in (i think) 2000 and this is the first year since then that i’ve been able to go cuz i teach in public schools. i’m so excited it will be all about paper for me, a refreshing change.

By Elissa - 9 March 2010 Reply

Velma –

I was told that the scholarship applications were considered separately from the regular applications. It sounds like they got slammed with a high number of applications this year. I’m trying not to take personally.

That’s awesome that you’re going! You’ll have to take lots of pictures and write about it on your blog. I’d love to hear about your experience there.


So what do you think? I'd love to know!

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