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6646 Hollywood Boulevard
Hollywood, CA, 90028
United States

(213) 223-6921

Stephanie Gibbs, a bookbinder in Los Angeles, CA, offers edition and fine binding, book conservation, custom boxes, and paper repair for contemporary and historic books, manuscripts, and documents to clients throughout California.

current studio projects

two parts

Stephanie Gibbs

Fiona's Life
        as dictated by Katie
        transcribed by Pippi

There once was a little girl named Fiona and she was nine years old. She lived on the beach in a little house and her house was brown. Also her house was a little far away from the ocean but she could see the ocean from her bedroom window, even though her house was one storey tall.

She had a garden and she had pink, purple, red, white, blue and turquoise flowers that grew behind her house. There was sand in front of her house. She had lots of tall trees that were good for climbing.

Fiona had a pet seahorse named Alfred who was 4 inches tall and ate seaweed that was green. Fiona got the seaweed for him from the ocean. Alfred could not talk but made mumbling noises
          mrmrmmmrmm
when he just wanted to talk. Fiona had no parents because they were washed away by a big wave when they were next to the sea shore and the big wave came, so she lived all alone, except for Alfred. She's happy that she doesn't have any parents to boss her around, but she misses them. She was four years old when they washed away, and she took care of herself. Her parents taught her how to do that, and how to escape from a fire, and how to protect herself from hurricanes, and how to kayak.

Her house has a lot of furniture like comfy couches, chairs, a desk, and an ottoman (the little thing for your feet). She has notebooks that she writes and draws in. She writes stories about little girls like her and draws pictures of her seahorse.

Fiona has a little tiny turquoise boat for kayaking in the ocean. She takes her notebook with her on the ocean and studies the ocean. Sometimes she does it while it's raining, with a pinkish-purplish umbrella. She sees clownfish that are five inches long that are orange and black striped. She sees lobsters, and sometimes she sees little dwarf sharks that can fit in her hand. There are seagulls and whales and stingrays and jellyfish and dolphins and seals. The dolphins and seals are her favorites. Fiona never learned how to swim: her parents were about to teach her and then the wave got them. So she doesn't swim.

She had a weathervane shaped like a cat on top of her house, that tells her when storms are coming. There haven't been any storms since the hurricane that got her parents.

Fiona found her seahorse Alfred on the seashore, and it was almost dying, but she got it in time. It looked like an Alfred seahorse she [already] had. so she name it Alfred, too. The first Alfred died, on its own, like people do.

Fiona doesn't go to school, because there aren't any. She eats seaweed and drinks water from her well (since saltwater gives a tummy ache). The boats on the ocean are too far away for her to see.

She isn't lonely since she has seal friends. They play tag, with Fiona in her kayak and the seals swimming. When the seals tag her they slap the boat with a fin, and Fiona taps the seals with a newspaper when she paddles up next to them.

Fiona is not a girly-girl. She wears kind of torn up clothes, but not too bad, and she wears her mother's old clothes. She has five matching outfits that are torn up, and one little sweater. She goes barefoot, but is really careful where she walks. Sometimes she cuts her foot on a rock, which hurts, but doesn't really hurt. There isn't any trash [on the beach], and she picks up any trash that washes up.

People walk on the beach sometimes, when they drive to the beach to visit. None of them are her friends: they might make friends for the day but not forever. She doesn't tell anyone that she lives there because it is her own secret and she doesn't share her kayak with anyone.

When no one is on the beach she goes into her house, where she has seaweed for dinner. She never gets tired of seaweed, because sometimes it's salty and sometimes it's sweet. So that's the life of Fiona. Sometimes writers get carried away, so I stopped right there and that is the end.

        -- Katie

[transcription note: the labyrinthian minds of children are amazing; they notice everything; and it is all relayed in such a matter-of-fact tone; this is their only reality. Punctuation and spelling by the editor, who also supplied minor grammatical structure.]

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Operational Report.

Force 8 Gale. Generally impedes progress.

I was trying to go there - just there, under that tree, across the way. You can see the tree so clearly, each branch delineated, each leaf and individual entity, the squirrels chasing up and down, the general feeling of permanence.

The force of gale 8 is, at this very moment, breaking twigs off of that very tree, and the squirrels have changed their mind about playing tag and to say that progress has generally been impeded would be the least descriptive way of stating that my umbrella is inside out, my hair is alternately plastered to my head or spinning wildly in a vortex, my hat disappeared ten minutes ago, and it is all I can do to hold onto this lamp post and hope for the best.

Have I mentioned that there is imminent danger of the electrical wires overhead ceasing to remain safely strung above, offering a perch in gentler times for all variety of bird life, from the humble sparrow to the feisty cardinal to the eloquent owl to the despised starling to the unappreciated grackle, all of which would be delightful to contemplate if it weren't for this force 8 gale that seems intent upon impeding my progress and potentially about to tear the power lines from their too-fragile connection to the lamp post?

Perhaps determining a course of action when the barometer is falling and all predictions warn: be ware! be ware!, shutter the house, batten the hatches, tie down small children, close up the barn! would have preferably led to a situation other than holding on to a lamp post fighting a gale while ill-advisedly journeying from here to there by way of somewhere else.

Remember the wisdom of limiting peripatetic adventures to weather conditions of force 7, which merely inconvenience, or the force 6 which merely causes difficulty with the use of one's umbrella (presumably a sturdy umbrella, taut oiled cotton over an engineered frame, a pole of polished mahogany, as the generic travel umbrella is useless at much over a force 4, the fabled moderate breeze); henceforth vow that gale 8 winds will be left to their own devices, that once umbrellas are used with difficulty and inconvenience is noted when walking into the wind, thence one will remain where one started, unimpeded stability.




reading
Edward Lear by the light of the moon

weather
self-evident