The Cielonaut – revision

I go through so many revisions and iterations of these books that it makes me feel a little loopy, at times.

The Cielonaut – background

With todays shipment of books I received the latest version of The Cielonaut. I should say a little about this, because it’s been a quiet little side-project, to date, and I’m very attached to it for reasons that may not have a lot to do with the actual quality of the poetry, or the story itself.

The Cielonaut is a traveler to the stars. He is part of a mission, perhaps to colonise somewhere across the other side of the galaxy, perhaps for some other reason. All on board at the time of take-off are in a deep and journey-duration sleep. Only The Cielonaut is awake and active.

  • There is a malfunction on take-off and none but he survive.
  • He cannot control the ship, and does not know where it is now heading.
  • He cannot stop it, or turn it around.

This collection tries to tell the emotional story of this character on his years long, solo, journey across the universe, and it’s final conclusion. I haven’t shared his story on the blog, to date.

Some of you who have perhaps followed my postings for a longer while may recall that I was fascinated, for a time, by the wonderful and wondrous images that NASA has in its NASA Image and Video Library – galaxies, and nebulae, stars and planets and the sun and . . . just about everything that might be imagined. You will recall that I used many of the images – which NASA has made freely available – as prompts and focus for new poetry. I have incorporated much of that work into the story of The Cielonaut. That word, I should explain is a made-up term. I drew on a Croatian word I was familiar with from my childhood – cielo – which is a reference to the sky and to the universe. It occurs also, I believe, in Italian. The two countries (Croatia and Italy are neighbours and I suspect there has been much language cross-over, across the years.

Printed Book – the author’s intentions

I struggled to work out to my own satisfaction just how to present the story in book form. There were a couple of problems:

  • The collection uses two voices. There is a narration of the story of the space voyager, and there is another voice, which belongs to him, as he records the universe that he happens to be passing through. The voice of his personal journal, his log, his poetry, and his heart.
  • The second voice is entirely derived from an empathic response to the NASA images which are used as markers, of a kind.

I determined that I might (just might) be able to get away with incorporating the images in the book. In greyscale, of course, because colour would require all pages to be colour-printed, even if in black and white alone. Here is an example:

Cielonaut – Grayscale image

It is not a patch on the original, but I thought perhaps I could create a listing somewhere online that readers could flick across to, to see the glory that acted as inspiration.

In a previous iteration, I produced this version of the book and took it along to work to show folk. No interest. Couldn’t see it. Wanted to see the draft of Voices (In The Trash) – which was in colour.

Grump, grump, grump . . .

Nothing for it but to produce another version. In colour.

This is the version I received today. Here is a pic with the same image.

The Cielonaut – image and poem

I’m much happier with that and will stick with it, I think, even though it is more costly to produce. These are affairs of the heart, in the end, it seems.

The Cielonaut Cover

A lingering issue is the cover. I’ve had a lot of trouble working out what combination of images and fonts and colours to use. Today’s version is what I’m going with for the time being – a little adjustment of the text, but otherwise it will be fine until I decide I need to revise it again!

The Cielonaut cover – as at 26/02/2021

That’s all the news for the moment. The Cielonaut has been quite daunting in some ways, and I haven’t worked out how to deal with an e-book version, or whether I should simply skip it and go on with work I can perhaps do more confidently.


17 thoughts on “The Cielonaut – revision

  1. I find this explanation fascinating, Frank. The idea is very good. And, do you know, I think the greyscale image works. As an aside, when producing the images for ‘The Magnificent Seven’ cemeteries project I worked hard to get the colours right and was most disappointed when the publishers, on account of cost, at the last minute decided to convert to BW. Naturally many cemetery pictures work better in BW, but captions about sunset and autumn leaves seemed a bit daft. And who’s to say that the Cielonaut saw the colours NASA’s cameras did. Your words will be what sells the book. I hope this is helpful.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, Derrick. I’m glad the idea appeals. It’s so very hard to know what will click with a reader and what won’t.

      The image that I posted in grey was good, but some (there are 60 all up) don’t convey adequately, I don’t think.

      I know exactly what you mean about references to colour shading or impact being completely lost if the images are in the wrong medium.

      A unique experience for me (and the reader!) at the very least.

      Liked by 2 people

  2. I have to say I like the colored image better.  I’ve always loved seeing the NASA images also, fascinating since I’ll never be a space traveler.  I think now that the Mars photos are coming out the book is on point for publication.  Good luck!

    Sent from Yahoo Mail for iPhone

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes, it’s tedious and detailed work. It can help to do a number of books all in one hit as I did a few months ago – creates a little ‘muscle memory’ for process to follow with each book.

      It feels like a long while since I was able to just write, or even to create covers, as exercises in creativity.

      I become the mechanic!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Colour is more effective Frank does that make me on a par with the Grumps? I’m glad you pursued the idea and the use of a Croatian word is perfect I look forward to seeing the end result!

    Liked by 1 person

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