As You Continue (quotation by John Cage)

7.25 x 26.75 inches; 8 pages plus top title page/directions strip;
indeterminate edition size (likely 50-75); [September 2012]

As You Continue celebrates the 100th birthday of John Cage on September 5, 2012.

The quotation by John Cage, “As you continue, which you will do, the way to proceed will become apparent” is handwritten with sumi ink using my left (non-dominant) hand, across seven large sheets of USGS topographic maps, followed by a printed colophon page that provides the context in which Cage spoke these words to Kathan Brown in 1989. A small piece of Fabriano Tiziano green on top functions as title page & directions for handling. Japanese side-stitch; letterpress & handwriting; dated & initialed in pencil; housed in acrylic tube. $125.


This work began after I discovered the quotation by John Cage on the Crown Point Press’ Magical-Secrets website one night in December 2010. Having immediately written out the text with India ink onto slices of USGS topographical maps, I thought I would put them on a ceiling beam of my apartment, above my bed. Eventually I sewed the sheets together, side-stitch, and gave the book to a collector-friend. A couple of months later in 2011 I made approximately ten more, adding a printed colophon to the last page and an acrylic tube. This year, 2012, in anticipation of John Cage's centennial, I took up the project anew and practiced writing for several days, feeling dissatisfied with various trials. Eventually I found my way to writing with my left (non-dominant) hand as the most authentic expression I could bring to the content. I am a little scared and unsure of myself as I write, and do it again and again.

front     calligraphy

If your copy of the book feels a little awkward or irregular, then you will have received a representative copy of the edition.

proceed1   proceed  proceed3     

“ . . . this work serves as an elegant meditation and metaphor on the subject of life journeys – and orienting oneself in the midst of landscape or circumstance that can only be apprehended by survey and the will to move forward.”
– Jen Larson, catalog entry for As You Continue, in Multiple, Limited, Unique: Selections from the Permanent Collection of the Center for Book Arts, The Center for Book Arts, New York, 2011


John Cage used the following ten key words in a series of mesostics ("Composition in Retrospect," John Cage: Etchings, Crown Point Press, San Franciso, 1982) and the same words grace the title page spread of John Cage: Visual Art: to sober and quiet the mind by Kathan Brown, Crown Point Press, San Francisco, 2000) and I look at them each day on a poster by Rutherford Witthus hanging in my studio. Here they provide a framework for conveying my thoughts about As You Continue.


Using my unskilled left hand is as authentic to the content -- as I interpet it -- as I can be.

The writing activity is time-based / sequential in the making and in the viewing; the sheets for each writing remain together & are bound sequentially.

I think about whom this message might help, besides myself, as I write it again and again: people I know and people I don’t know who might find it useful for repeated viewing.

Practicing each time before I begin a new stint of writing settles me, then I breathe deeply as I write the book pages, quieting my mind as much as possible.

I am notating Cage’s words -- as recalled by Kathan Brown -- onto sheets of maps, to suggest travel and finding one's way.

The assortment of USGS topographical maps for any one book reflects a mostly-random gathering process.

It was only after I carried these words with me for a year and a half that I found my way to authenticity.

I imitate what I perceive as a state of meditation.

This practice is the most intimate of a few tributes I have made over the years for John Cage, or, rather, the way in which I perceive his life and work as it affects mine.

For eight months beginning in late 2011, injuries had left me incapable of printing letterpress or doing other strenuous studio activity; a gentler path was called for.

callig_practice    rack     robin


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