So, I’ve designed a lovely book set in Bogota, and spent a chunk of money to buy images of Bolivian stamps to use as graphic elements. This morning, my editor informed me that while he liked the llama stamps, Bogota is in Columbia, not Bolivia. Opps. If “Zoolander” had been based on designers and not super models, I could have starred. My poor, long-suffering editor.
Following the success of his X-Men, Marvel hired my son to “re-interpret” Spider-Man. I’m pleased to see Jed’s Spidey, and excited to see kids his age embracing the 70s punk ethos. Not since the music of James Brown, Little Richard and Elvis has music so impacted and changed society. The 70s are back-the 1870s of the robber barons, and it will take angry kids to change things for the better. Kick out the jams youngsters. I will get out of the way.
These lines always spring to mind at year end, when the forest seems especially labyrinthine.
Nel mezzo del cammin di nostra vita
mi ritrovai per una selva oscura,
ché la diritta via era smarrita.
I’ve designed a Christmas card for as long as I can remember. I usually do two-one with a Christian theme, another more worldly-and funny. For the last ten years, our cards have featured our pal Jack the Corgi. We’ve been running out of Bible verses that mention dogs, (Dogs don’t get very good press in either the Old or New Testament-odd, as no creature epitomizes selfless love like a dog.). This year, the verse was definitely taken out of context. I hope nobody looks it up!
Merry Christmas to all you stalwart readers! I look forward to swapping ideas in 2015.
Monospaced typewriter fonts, that is. I love typewriters-especially IBM Selectrics. The soft, reassuring whir of the motor, the subtle whiff of ozone that permeates the air, and that substantial clunk of a mechanical keyboard firing an impact on paper is soothing and makes writing a physical act and a pure joy. It’s like pulling a trigger, and I’ve found that many folks who enjoy firearms also love typewriters.
Computers live in dog years, but 40 year old Selectrics-those fifty pound overbuilt monsters with stainless steel guts-still soldier on. You can still walk into most office supply stores and buy ribbons. When was the last time you saw floppy discs in a store?
I have six Selectrics, but my pride and joy is a gem rebuilt by Chuck Furrer. When IBM wanted units refurbished for their exhibits, they called Chuck. This rare, late model red machine runs factory fresh-which, given Chuck’s magic touch, it fundamentally is.
Does a typewriter make me a better writer? Unfortunately no, as my blog posts attest. But it does make me a happier writer.
As Black Friday approaches, I’m thankful that our family has never bought into the whole consumer shit-show.
Our Christmas has never revolved around gift giving-with one exception.
Our Christmas tradition is to pick a worthy charity every year, and pool our money to make a one-time donation. The receiver varies from year to year, and it is fun to look at all the opportunities.
This year, we’re contemplating buying a water buffalo for a needy family in India. What gift under a tree would not pale before something that cool? “New iPod? Nice, but check this big, snorting monster out!”
In the past, we’ve fixed kid’s cleft palates, bought groceries for an AIDs orphanage, paid for wells and helped missionaries bring supplies to remote villages.
Posting this does sound “holier than thou”. But I work part-time in a running shoe store in a mall, and am always saddened to see how stressed and unhappy folks are this time of year, frantically buying garbage that is meaningless.
A charity gift frees you from all this insanity. You never know who these gifts help-or how. But nothing warms your heart like a gift that ripples out and keeps on giving.
A busy day of book and poster design ahead, and a multitude of Iron and Wine tracks cued up in iTunes. Sam Beam is a wonderful writer – “Lovesong of the Buzzard” is the finest poem I’ve read that addresses the conflicting layers and polar directions of spousal abuse.
What an emotive image this is:
“Springtime and the promise of an open fist
A tattoo of a flower on a broken wrist.”
This is a clip from the 2007 tour, which I was fortunate to catch in Montreal. A lovely evening with my kids. Going to shows is fun, but going to shows with your happy adult children is magical!