The poem covered three 5×5 inch cards, and I hand printed those fuckers on the old letterpress, so that was a lot of time effort and materials, not to mention busting my ass to meet his submission deadline, which was November 1, 2002.
If you don’t know how letterpress works, each letter and space is a tiny piece of lead, and they all have to be fit together in an insane mathematical jigsaw puzzle where each line is exactly the same length. If you mess up, a whole line of type can fall out of the press and you basically have to start over.
Aside from that it’s a very satisfying luddite activity, and a great way to print things that really look printed, as opposed to the norm now, which is stuff produced by computer.
Anyway, over the years I’ve asked Bryan Hutcheson twice to have my work returned if the set wasn’t coming out, then more recently I’ve asked twice to have my work returned whether the set was coming out or not.
A couple of days ago (2 years, 4 months, and 9 days after sending him my work – but who’s counting?), I decided to give it another try and ask – again – for my work to be returned. The next day he sent a few paragraphs of complaints and excuses, including, “Quite honestly, I don’t care how long it has taken to complete the project,” and “FYI, sometimes projects like this can take years to complete. Hell, I’ve worked on records for punk bands that took 5 years to complete.” And the reassuring, “You will be receiving your box sets soon.”
So now I have promises of delivery dating from November 2003, May 2004, and now March 2005. One every year. At least he’s consistent. I don’t know what to do with this guy. I know for a fact that I won’t see these mythical card sets any time “soon.” And obviously asking nicely for my work to be returned doesn’t work. I’m nowhere near Massachusetts, so I can’t go knock on his door and take my work back, so my options are limited.
I did save 19 sets of the poem (my printing overrun, which I’d normally destroy when working on a numbered set, but I’m glad I saved them this time), and I still have 15 of those. I numbered and signed them about a year ago when it started to become apparent that I’d never see the sets, and I’ve given a few away since then. but I still want what Hutcheson promised, lo those many years ago. I’m entitled to that much, or more, after all this damned waiting.
I guess I could put his contact information here, and tell anyone shopping for letterpress printing that his guy doesn’t care much about deadlines and dates and all that bourgeois crap, and unless you have several years to wait for your product, you’d be better off going elsewhere.
But that would probably just get him more business.