The Red Lion Hotel on the River in Jantzen Beach on the banks of the Columbia River was headquarters for the American Amateur Press Association's 2007 convention, held from Sunday, August 19, through Tuesday, August 21.
Convention Chairman Ivan Snyder welcomed nearly 40 participants, who socialized, discussed amateur journalism affairs, toured points of interest, and heard about recent awards.
Sunday, August 19
By Sunday afternoon most of the folks who pre-registered found the welcoming table in the lobby and received a packet chock full of information about Portland, plus a copy of Roy Paul Nelson's book The Cartoonist.
More than twenty folks found their way to Chang's Mongolian Grill for the traditional Charlie Bush Chinese dinner. At this restaurant, diners fill their bowls with their own selections of raw meats, vegetables, and sauces, then hand the contents to a chef for cooking.
After returning to the hotel after dinner, many conventioneers took advantage of the hospitality suite to continue their conversations.
Monday, August 20
|Ivan Snyder called the opening session to order at 9:18 Monday morning. He read greeting from several members who could not attend: Russell & Delores Miller and Roy Paul Nelson. He announced that Marge Adams Petrone Limerick Contest entries needed be submitted to the judges (Jiyani Lawson, Jack Scott, and Dave Tribby) by 11:30 am on Tuesday.|
|Ivan called upon officers to give their reports, starting with "Doctor" Lee Hawes (who replied, "I don't do prescriptions!").|
First Vice President Dave Tribby suggested members review the AAPA Web site and pass on suggestions to make it a more effective recruiting tool. Last year the home page was reorganized to highlight information of interest to potential recruits. Dave observed that personal contacts, such as Lee Hawes has made with his writing friends, have been much more effective at recruiting than a classified ad purchased in a home schooling magazine. He hoped the amendment dropping the credential requirement would pass, removing a barrier for people filling out an application.
Secretary-Treasurer Ken Rystrom provided a written report summarizing the change in the membership totals and treasury balance over the past year. From August 2006 through July 2007, there were 31 new members, 4 reinstatements, 33 expirations, and 7 deaths, taking the membership total from 261 (including 32 household members) to 256 (and 33). The treasury remains in good shape, mainly due to donations made by members.
Official Editor Sean Donnelly thanked Ken Rystrom for his prompt reports, and Roy Paul Nelson for his timely reviews. Needing to produce an issue every other month keeps Sean in the AAPA loop. Leland Hawes has been Sean's anonymous co-editor, soliciting many of the published articles.
Mailer Jack Scott described his drive to Columbus (from Mt. Vernon), Ohio, to learn about recent Postal Service changes. One actually made the job easier: dropping the requirement for putting rubber bands around every ten bundles. (Jack donated a large box of large rubber bands to the auction.) All international mail now goes via air mail, pushing up AAPA's costs. Jack sends out about thirty sample bundles per year, if you know someone who might be interested please pass the name on to Jack.
At the conclusion of the reports, Ivan asked everyone to introduce themselves. He then asked if anyone had a topic related to AAPA not on the agenda that should be addressed.
George Hamilton rose and asked AAPA members to consider how we might work together with other hobby groups. Aren't there activities that could be coordinated, increasing results by reducing duplicated effort? Today, AAPA has the membership and NAPA has the money. (The Amalgamated seems to have the most activity.) He recalled a coordinating committee he proposed in the mid-1990s, but foot dragging by NAPA leaders of that era kept anything from happening. Perhaps the time has come to try again.
Ivan pointed out printed copies of AAPA e-journals available for reading on a table at the front of the room for anyone who had not yet seen them.
Following a short break, Ivan introduced J. Damien Diachenko, who spoke on the subject "Journal Design." Joe handed out a brochure dealing he produced for the convention, dealing with one idea per page. He then discussed each idea in detail.
Following Joe's talk, members broke for lunch and then at 1 pm reassembled in front of the hotel for a bus trip to downtown Portland.
First stop: headquarters of the Independent Publishing Resource Center (IPRC) where the group got to see the facilities that assist people who want to turn out small magazines. Computer and letterpress equipment were both present, as well as a library and the tools needed to create a zine. The visitors had the opportunity to chat with a zine publisher who was in the midst of a press run. (Jiyani Lawson later signed Heather Lane up as a member.)
As they finished looking over the IRPC, members walked around the corner to Powell's City of Books, a large store selling both new and used books.
The bus returned to the hotel in time for people to form informal groups and go to one of the nearby restaurants for dinner.
A little after 7 pm, Dean Rea introduced the evening's
speaker, William Sullivan. Dean met William
while working at the Eugene Register-Guard in the
mid-1980s. William, a freelance writer, pitched the idea of
a series of dispatches from a backpacking trip across Oregon's
wilderness. Those articles from his 1,300 mile trek were
popular with readers and formed the basis of his first book,
Listening for Coyote.
The topic for William's slide show, Hiking Oregon's History, came from his book by the same name. He told stories tied to Oregon, ranging from ancient native myths to a Japanese bombing during World War II. He had pictures to illustrate each story, along with maps to show locations. William donated a copy of the book for the AAPA auction.
Following the question & answer period after William's talk, members made their way to the hospitality suite for more socializing and snacks.
Tuesday, August 21
Tuesday morning's session started shortly after 9 o'clock with Jiyani Lawson teaching "Glueless, Stitchless Bookbinding." Participants found packages of paper (both text and cover stock) on the tables, along with tools such as razor blades and rulers. Jiyani showed how to fold, slit, and combine the text paper into a signature, then add a cover -- again by folding, slitting, and working one side of the paper through the hole cut through another. Most of the students eventually caught on to the technique, and many of the completed books didn't look too bad.
About 10:40, Ivan introduced AAPA member Rebecca Gilbert for a presentation on the Independent Publishing Resource Center's mission, program, outreach, and impact. Back in 1997-98, customers of Reading Frenzy, a bookstore selling small independent publications, asked what it would take to create their own zines. Rebecca and her friends rented 300 square feet of nearby office space and stocked it with old computer and copying equipment, resource files, and a library of sample zines. Soon they started giving workshops on technical skills (editing, printing, and computer operation).
The offices now take up 900 square feet (they could use 1500), and their lending library has grown to over 5,000 publications. They hired a part-time outreach coordinator, but still depend upon volunteers for the bulk of the work. They provide a significant outreach to youth, particularly those who have not done well in traditional education programs or who feel the need for a literary outlet. The IPRC has done about twenty events in the last year.
Their 200-250 members pay $45 per year to belong...which just about covers the rent. In order to pay for the coordinator, keep the equipment running, buy supplies, etc. they apply for grants and solicit donations.
Tuesday morning's final segment, "Double Your Flavor, Double Your Fun: A Recruiting Strategy," was led by Dean Rea. He asked the question: "Why Recruit?" AAPA needs to retain enough members for bulk mailing -- and also enough to hold a convention.
Recruiting tends to be happenstance. But if each member brought in one new member each year, we would double in size each year! Lee Hawes got his friends to write for Gator Growl, and then convinced them to join.
In his new job as high school sports photographer, Dean learned how technology has changed. He upgraded his computer system and Internet connection to upload digital photos from home. Blogs and e-journals are happening, so Dean urges AAPA to understand how to use them, and not shut out new methods and technologies.
Members broke for lunch about 11:40. When they returned to the meeting room at 1:00 they found tables full of interesting items for the annual auction. This year's auctioneer, George Hamilton, provided a running commentary on ajay history, the need for generous bids, personality quirks of various individuals, and just about everything else as he kept order among the bidders. He was assisted by Ken Rystrom and Jim & Helen Doolittle.
George moved 65 lots of merchandise. There were vintage amateur papers, books on a variety of topics, printing equipment, a CD of Burton Crane singing from the 1930s, and a drawing by Roy Paul Nelson. A C&P Pilot press brought the largest single bid, $625. When the dust settled, bidders paid over $1500 for the items.
Members gathered at 5:30 for the official convention photograph, then made their way to the dining room. Following a buffet dinner, Master of Ceremonies Dean Rea spoke on a variety of subjects. He encouraged Jan & Ray Bourhill to find time in their busy lives to publish -- perhaps while commuting on the ferry. Dean expressed disappointment that a last minute injury kept Fred Liddle from attending, particularly since Monday would have been "Fred Liddle Night" at Portland Beavers' minor league baseball stadium. Dean recalled others we miss who attended conventions in the Pacific Northwest: Helen Wesson, Byron Scott, and Les Boyer. He expressed thanks to
Convention Chairman Ivan Snyder made several announcements.
AAPA President Lee Hawes announced the AAPA Laureate awards. Judges Gordon Rouze, Richard George, and Linda Donaldson have completed their report, but due to Gordon's recent illness the certificates were not printed in time to be presented at the convention. They are now in the process of being signed. Winners include:
Dean Rea introduced the banquet speaker, Ken Metzler, who was born in Boring, Oregon, and became a newspaperman, a journalism professor, and is now a freelance writer. His topic: "Say Something Important!"
Ken acknowledged his Boring roots. He felt it unfortunate when newspapers used the town name as an adjective in headlines: "Boring Boy to Wed Needy Girl" may have been the worst.
Ken believes the most important thing you can say is about yourself. Take the world from your perspective, enjoy it, and write about it. Try to let others learn something helpful from your experiences.
After Ken's address, MC Rea returned to the podium for a special presentation: another Roy Paul Nelson drawing, this one for Chairman Snyder in recognition of his many efforts to make the convention happen. President Hawes also thanked Ivan for his many efforts in preparing an exceptional convention. Ivan had responsibility for selecting the venue, rounding up speakers, arranging bus transportation, preparing promotional material for the bundle, collecting registrations, putting together information packets that were ready for each person upon sign-in, stocking the hospitality suite, and all the other details needed to run an AAPA convention. The convention program ran to eight pages plus cover, and was printed in three colors. Everyone got a personalized three-color name badge. By the end of the evening, as he realized he had pulled off the convention with no significant glitches, Ivan had the relieved look of someone who could relax.
Wednesday, August 22
Those who lingered an extra day made a couple of excursions south of Portland on Wednesday. First up was a visit to Roy Paul Nelson, the artist-cartoonist with the distinctive style. Later they visited the Nineteenth Century Operative Letterpress Museum in Salem.
You can view an album of pictures taken at the convention.
Those who attended: Eric Bagdonas, Jan & Ray Bourhill, Carye Bye, Len & Bette Carrick, Joe Diachenko, Sean Donnelly, Helen & Jim Doolittle, Bob Fusfeld, Louise Fusfeld, Rebecca Gilbert, Ruth Gray, George Hamilton, Lee Hawes, Ray Jerland, Gary & Nancy Karp, Paul King, Jiyani Lawson, Ken Metzler, Ari Nelson, Brian Nelson, Dean & Lou Rea, Bob & Ann Rose, Ken Rystrom, Jack & Maurine Scott, Bob Siekmann, Ivan Snyder, Janell Sorensen, Wes Sullivan, William Sullivan, and Dave & Liz Tribby,