Writing my way through the A-to-Z blogging challenge, I’ll be using manicules (those pointing finger symbols) to direct your attention to something I’m pondering that delights or interests me. Each entry is somehow related to an unusual, obscure, or simply charming to me word.
E is for…
enchiridion – (en-ˌkī-ˈri-dē-ən) a book to be carried in the hand; a manual; a handbook. Late Latin, from Greek, first known English usage 15th century.
I love books. I love to read them. I love to make them. I love to write them. I always have multiple journals going. Even though I periodically try keeping just one, that never works for me for long. I think we all have things where we know more is better.
I haven’t really bound any kind of manual, but I have done plenty of small books, and I’ll share some peeks.
The above is one of my favorites. For years I used to make checkbook covers. And then at some point it occurred to me that instead of just putting in the pack of checks and a register, I could add pages in those sections instead. Voile – a book is born.
A few more small books I’ve made:
I have a number of bookbinding projects on my work table at the moment, and as I was looking at them, I remembered that St. Bartholomew is considered the patron saint of bookbinders. When I looked up his feast day, I found it was August 24, and I pledged to have every one of the books waiting for my attention, and a bunch of others, bound by then. That’s because St. Bartholomew Day (aka Bartlemas) has traditionally been celebrated as wayzgoose (another fabulous word!) – an annual dinner/outing/entertainment hosted by a master printer for all his/her staff. It originally marked the traditional end of summer and the start of the season of working by candlelight. In the days before glass windows, waxed paper was used to keep out the elements, and Bartlemas was the signal for papermakers to make waxed paper so the windows could be re-papered in preparation for winter. Once that was done, the papermakers cleaned their vats, and filled them anew with cotton rag pulp to begin papermaking for all the new printing projects to come.
There’s another reference to St. Bartholomew that appears in the novel The Journal of Dora Damage by Belinda Starling. I haven’t gotten around to reading the book yet, but this quote is precisely the reason it made it to my must-read pile:
“My father used to tell me that before we are born, St. Bartholomew, patron saint of bookbinders, presents our soul with a choice of two books…One is bound in the softest golden calf and majestically gold-tooled; the other is bound in plain, undyed goatskin straight from the tan-pits. The “nascent soul” who chooses the opulent volume, she continues, “will open it to find that the pages of the book are already inscribed with a story of an inescapable fate.” The latter’s pages “start off blank, and await inscription by the leading of a life of free will according to personal inspiration and divine grace.”
I’ve done quite a bit of meandering in this post, but I have one more thing to share. In a concept related to enchirdion, I discovered that “pocketbook” first appeared in the early 17th century. It meant simply a book small enough to fit in one’s pocket. But it soon came to mean a leather folder in which notes, bills, and important documents could be carried. It wasn’t until the 1820s that the term began to be used to describe women’s handbags. It amuses me that 200 years later neither pocketbook or handbag are words often heard. Who knows, maybe in some future iteration, I’ll be including those words in an A-to-Z challenge of obsure and obsolete words that delight me.
What about you? Have any manuals you’re particularly fond of? Any small books you love? Bind books or make paper? Want to attend a wayzgoose? Do tell – you know I’d love to hear.