Lovingly crafting the words and sentences that may eventually give birth to a bound, beautifully designed tome is the true joy of writing. But most writers know that the real labor is finding a publisher. Well, shelf your pain. You only need to spend a morning — or an entire day, if you'd like — at Scribble Press to see your literary brilliance brought to light. There, among art tables, inviting sofas and overstuffed chairs with throw pillows, is a wall of cubbies — thoughtfully designed by store founders Anna Barber and Darcy Pollack — stocked with hundreds of Sharpies (39 colors!) and colored pencils offering a haven for anyone, adults and children, with a yen to pen. Each story, poem, comic and custom creation is scanned and printed in soft or hardcover, with accompanying illustrations and the author's face on the back cover, with a bio on the inside.
“No one is rushed; people may stay all day, or spend a few minutes,” says Barber, who met Pollack on a long plane flight during which the two hit it off over a love of words, and subsequently came upon the idea for a new business that celebrated the writer's spirit. The notion percolated for about 18 months as Barber, a lawyer from a publishing family, and Pollack, an investment banker, realized they had no idea how to actually create and bind a book. “We did tons of research, calling and talking to as many people as we could find,” she says. They ultimately contacted a retired printing salesman in Rochester, New York. “He had been making books for his granddaughter in his basement,” says Barber, “so he truly understood what we were trying to do. He sort of became our godfather.”
Both wanted to create a space with the feel of an artist's loft that would nurture children's storytelling ability — kids between the ages of 7 and 10 being the most frequent users. “Telling stories is how you understand your life. It allows you to interpret your world. All kids have a story to tell,” says Barber. “And they all love to draw — up to a point. If it's not encouraged, they stop.” She believes no one is too young to start, so art and storytelling classes are available for children ages 2 to 5.
The overriding reaction? “I can actually do this! They begin to think of the process of writing,” says Barber. Best moment? “When the book comes out, with their photo on the back, and their pictures and words inside, they have such a sense of pride.”
Scribble Press, located in the Westside Pavilion, is also the perfect place to hold a birthday party — all the kids help to create one book and then get to go home with it! How cool is that?