There’s an old saying in the editorial business: If it’s June, it must be Christmas. That’s because monthly magazines work on their issues at least 4-6 months ahead of time. For me, if it’s Thanksgiving, it’s next year.

During the Thanksgiving weekend for the past few years, I have gotten my photo calendars done. One features traditional digital photographs (is that ironic?); the other is full of photos taken with my iPhone and the Hipstamatic App.1, 2

Choosing takes weeks, even without a full-time job. My Hipstamatic folder holds over 2,000 photos—and that’s after discarding at least three-quarters of them. My real camera was neglected for a good part of the year; that calendar was easier.

Last year, strangers, friends, and wannabe lovers bought about 80 calendars. I sold them on my blog, on Etsy, in person (always a stash in my car), and at the Red Canoe3 (I’m doing their personal calendar this year, too!). Some lovely people (Monica, Lynne) bought them in bulk.

Aren’t you a sucker for a good calendar? I used to buy at least six irresistible beauties (kitchen, office, three bedrooms, Marty’s work, wherever) at Daedalus Books and put them everywhere. (Desk calendars are fab, too, though I rarely crack them open because of iCal, which now, sadly, syncs to life’s every nook and cranny.)

Paper is brilliant—maybe even more so because its mother, the tree, is god. Books should have spines, not be wimpy and hide behind a screen, where they can’t get into the bathtub with you. I like to write in books—underline the poetry, discuss with the author in the margins. I like when writers sign their books; I bought five a couple weeks ago got them signed. Steve Almond signed my own book—next to the signature of his man crush, Bob Schneider.

Oh! Joy! Notebook paper with college-ruled lines! Moleskines! Spiral-bound journals and colorful hardbound blank books from the dollar store! Stationery and notebooks from Levenger. Those black-covered, hardbound sketchbooks we used to need for art class. This is an ode to printing things out with the brightest, heaviest, freshest paper. My printer enjoys it all—three different kinds of photo paper, brochure paper, card stock, paper for labels, vellum and scrapbook papers and kraft paper—by the sheet and the roll.

My beautiful young friend, Grace Macfarlane, gave me 1,000 paper cranes, a confetti of memories of my grandfather, king of paper cranes.

This morning, I’m touching last year’s calendar, flipping through the pages, hoping the new ones, calendars and year, hold as much promise. I want to fill the dates with things like Bob Schneider at 8×10, School of Rock FUNK show at Recher, Chuck Prophet!!!! at SoundStage, rather than reminders about CT scans and doctors’ appointments and my father’s number in the hospital.

I hope all of our calendars are full of good things: new babies, dogs’ birthdays, dinner with friends, big birthday parties, music, love.

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Calendar Orders
I have placed an order for 10 each, due to arrive by the second week of December. (Before ordering more, I want to make sure they are perfect.) If you’d like to put some on hold, please drop me a line at; specify how many you’d like of which calendar and where they should be sent when the time comes. Before I ship, I’ll send you a request for payment via PayPal or that new company, Dwolla. Calendars are $15. Shipping is free for locals, if we can catch up somewhere; $2.50 domestic for the first, $1.00 each additional; $4.00 overseas for the first, $2.00 each additional. (I’m trying to be fair, but I really don’t know the shipping cost yet.)

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1 I hate using app as a word. I’m sorry I did it.

2 I love the Hipstamatic company. Not only do they make a delicious product (called an app), but they have excellent customer service. They make me proud to be a fan. If you have an iPhone, buy the app. It’s 99 cents, for heaven’s sake. If you don’t, visit Hipstamart for some goodies, like that cool Black Keys t-shirt.

3 Get down to the Red Canoe—or the stores in your ‘hood—today for Small Business Saturday. I won’t lecture you about how you should be supporting the independent booksellers every day, but you should remember that the extra money you spend not getting a deal on that book goes directly back into your pocket by giving you a better quality of life and steady property values, not to mention a hug or a smile or both from the shop owner.

*The large signature on The Book is from Bob Schneider. The heart with SA + BS was drawn by Steve Almond, author and fellow fan of both Bob and BS. I can only hope the inscription below, “Lets here it for,” is followed by “good grammer” and is meant as a joke. Truth be told, I’m afraid to look.

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