One of my early career responsibilities was determining sufficient resolution for digital capture of text printed on paper to ensure fidelity and facsimile reproduction. 600 dpi, if you really want to know. Making new books out of old. Taking a text almost lost to memory, usually crumbling and opening it to discovery and to re-imagination as a new book, a fresh start on acid free paper but one bearing with it all the traces of history. That was almost twenty years ago now, and as i think about the project, I am struck my how my life project still echoes so many of its themes.
Sufficient resolution. Fidelity. Reproduction. Making new books out of old. Fresh starts. The traces of history. The question of sufficient resolution to make a book possible is the question that I've asked my whole literate life and ask anew each year as it dawns and I affirm the resolutions. Always keeping my feet on the road and my fingers on the keyboard, my words on the page. The clean page continues to make the promise it did when I opened my first notebook. But it always bears the traces of history and those accumulate and may obscure the emergence of an imagined future or another possible past. How much detail do I need to capture to ensure a faithful reproduction? Do I want a completely new book or am I assembling a collage out of the old, the fragmented, crumbling past? Isn't that what we're always doing, making new books out of old? Out of all the ones we've read and carried with us or out of the tales we've told in cycles of repetition and reinvention, hoping to find a new story for ourselves. so, scan the page, make a resolution, trace the traces and make not just a facsimile but something new.Shore up those fragments. No ruin. The possibility of discovery.