When Ideas Acquire Solidity

It’s a strange feeling when something that existed only in your mind, or in electronic form, suddenly emerges into the physical realm. Over the weekend I got a request from one of my writing workshop colleagues: she would be away the week I was supposed to deliver my manuscript to the group. Could I deliver it early? As in, Aug 2? I said I could. This meant I had to stop nervously tweaking and take it to the printer’s. I was not sure my venerable laser printer’s cartridge was up to producing 360 pages without warning; besides, I wanted to make my copies double-sided, having realized from attending the group how very bulky paper — each sheet of which seems so thin individually — can get after about 150 or 250 pages. I could not figure out how to do this at home.

I consulted the Internet for recommended copy shops in my neighborhood and set out to Remsen Graphics with my thumb drive. “I have a 360-page document,” I told the man there, who seemed more cheerful than was appropriate to a hot summer Monday morning in the copy shop. “I need five copies. Double-sided. Is that possible?”
“Of course! No problem! Come back in an hour or so.” He took my thumb drive and information about the file. He did not take my name or my money, nor did he write down any of the information I had just imparted. Feeling a bit uneasy about this and hoping the shop would get it right, I went away.

My fears were groundless. When I returned, the copy job was waiting for me, was just as requested, and the price was reasonable. The copies were given to me all in one big box, the thin kind of non-corrugated cardboard like bakeries put cakes in. I had wondered how big the product would turn out to be, had debated which of my reusable shopping bags would be the best size and shape to bring, but as it turned out I chose right. I paid and loaded the box into the bag and lifted the bag onto my shoulder and walked back out into the hot summer morning. The package was sharp-edged, and much heavier than a cake, and it was as I were carrying the weight of the product of my own mind, my own thoughts, home with me.


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