Posts tagged with "memory" - Faerye Net 2009-06-27T00:33:10+00:00 Felicity Shoulders Typefaces past 2009-06-27T00:33:10+00:00 2009-07-16T13:07:26+00:00 <p>Many of us, myself included, have only a consumer&#8217;s knowledge of book design. It&#8217;s like chocolate cake: I&#8217;ve eaten many and have some opinions and fond memories, but I&#8217;ve never made one. (No, box cakes don&#8217;t count!) I think it&#8217;s easy for those of us who aren&#8217;t in the publishing industry to forget how much effort goes into choosing typefaces, layout and style for a book.</p> <p>Two things brought the topic to mind of late: <a href="" target="links">Jay Lake</a> tweeted a link to this <a href="" target="links">Lit Slits quiz</a>. Of course most of the clues to the books&#8217; identity come from the actual words the &#8216;slit&#8217; reveals. However, in at least one case, I knew the author and series immediately: whether or not you like Harry Potter, he&#8217;s got some lovingly designed, distinctive books. Even without the chapter headers in their zany serifs, the page brings the memory back to anyone who&#8217;s read those books.</p> <p>That&#8217;s what amazes me: how evocative the shape of a few letters can be, even when I couldn&#8217;t recall them at will or describe them to you. It&#8217;s like a more subtle version of the way smell brings memory in its train. I open my own copy of a beloved book and each previous reading is present in my eye on the page, my fingertips on the paper.</p> <p>I&#8217;m reading Ursula K. Le Guin&#8217;s <a href="" target="links"><em>Left Hand of Darkness</em></a> right now. I picked up this copy at <a href="" target="links">Ravenna Third Place Books</a>. It&#8217;s used, hardback, and it&#8217;s been on some journeys &#8211; it bears a Portuguese stamp from a bookshop in Brazil. And best of all, it&#8217;s from a book club.</p> <p>Oh, I know, that means it&#8217;s not collectible. It may mean the covers aren&#8217;t as durable, and all sorts of things. But this book is typeset exactly like the oldest of my dad&#8217;s book club books &#8211; books like Asimov&#8217;s <a href="" target="links">Foundation Trilogy</a>. It feels the same, smells the same. This is 100% pure old-school science fiction, and it fills me with nostalgia, even though the story is new to me.</p> <p>What books carry this extra meaning for you? Are there books whose beautiful design adds to your love for them?</p> Graceful exit 2008-07-28T08:03:10+00:00 2008-07-28T08:05:36+00:00 <blockquote>A long time ago we used to be friends,<br /> but I haven&#8217;t thought of you lately at all&#8230;<br /> <strong>-<a href="" target="links">The Dandy Warhols</a></strong></blockquote> <p>I&#8217;m back on <a href="" target="links">the friend thing</a>.</p> <p>If social networking had a cheesy 50&#8217;s film strip, the narrator would say, &#8220;Never again will you have to wonder what happened to that guy from math class. Never again will you lose track of that one <em>really cool girl.</em>&#8221; It&#8217;s an excellent theory &#8211; as we diffuse across countries and hop oceans, friendships can be preserved, connections strengthened despite distance. You can reconnect with people you thought you&#8217;d lost.</p> <p>But on the other hand&#8230;do you still like each other? You remember drifting out of friendships during high school as your interests and personality changed. How much more have you changed since then? If you still click, that&#8217;s amazing. But maybe that one <em>really cool girl</em> from high school doesn&#8217;t like me anymore. Maybe your drinking buddy from college has changed religions and given up on pop culture. It&#8217;s hard to rule out until you&#8217;ve had a good look at each other&#8217;s Facebook profiles, or until you realize you&#8217;ve been &#8216;networked&#8217; for six months and realizing you haven&#8217;t a word to say. And then there are the people you meet, the new friends, who you don&#8217;t end up seeing again. You move, they transfer schools or break up with your friend, and there they sit on your &#8220;Friend&#8221; list, someone you met twice and liked. Forever.</p> <p>When I am thirty, how many <a href="" target="links">Facebook</a>, <a href="" target="links">goodreads</a>, or <a href="" target="links">Jyte</a> &#8220;friends&#8221; will I have, and how many of them will really want me on their list? But on the other hand, who wants to &#8220;defriend&#8221; someone on Facebook, thus transforming the world&#8217;s most passive communication device into something a bit passive-aggressive?</p> <p>I propose a tapering mechanism. If someone doesn&#8217;t look at my profile, click &#8216;more&#8217; on my book reviews, or otherwise exchange digital high-fives with me for six months, let me fade off their list. Maybe the system can warn them first, ask them quietly if they really want me to go. Not with a plonk but a whisper, I will fall off their friends list, off their updates and off their radar. And if they ever wonder, &#8220;What is up with that weird Felicity girl, anyway?&#8221; they can search for me anytime. They can read my blog, shrug, and move on. We aren&#8217;t friends anymore, and that&#8217;s okay.</p> The potential mystery of confederate gray 2008-07-09T14:12:56+00:00 2008-07-09T14:14:22+00:00 <p>In yesterday&#8217;s post <a href="" target="links">on the spelling of &#8216;grey&#8217;</a> (even I can&#8217;t believe the things I talk about sometimes) I was going to mention how I finally cemented that &#8216;gray&#8217; was the US spelling only by calling to mind the wrapper on my Crayola confederate gray crayon.</p> <p>I searched for a picture of this crayon, thinking that, such is the capacity of the internet for nostalgia and even indignation over necessary change that there was a chance someone would have snapped a picture of a surviving crayon. Behold, I could find no picture, and almost no mention of the thing (and the comments at the free republic aren&#8217;t the most reliable source.) Finally I looked at the <a href="" target="links">Crayola history of crayon colors</a> and discovered it was not listed. Other changes, like the change of Indian red (after a colorful soil in India) to chestnut? Yes. &#8220;Flesh&#8221; to &#8220;peach&#8221;? Certainly. But the axing of confederate gray? Nowhere to be found. Wikipedia, where lost information goes to find itself, does not mention it either.</p> <p>Now, I suppose one could impugn the honesty of the Crayola company, but I find it hard to imagine that they would be more ashamed of having &#8216;confederate&#8217; on a pretty genuinely confederate-uniform-colored crayon than of thinking all skin was peach-colored. Was there ever a &#8220;confederate gray&#8221; crayon? I had hazy memories of it being canceled amid a contest to name new colors. I&#8217;m sure the contest happened, but is this just the mutability of memory? Is &#8220;confederate gray&#8221; an urban myth that attached itself to my strangely capacious Crayola memory space?</p> <p>Does anyone else remember this crayon?</p> These are a few words I can never remember, Part I 2006-10-10T13:25:12+00:00 2008-06-08T13:03:38+00:00 <p>There are words &mdash; useful words, impressive words &mdash; that I have learned a dozen times and continue to forget. Sometimes I only half-forget them, but the result is the same. I must look them up to be certain of their meanings and attendant implications. Here is today&#8217;s:</p> <p><b><a href=";va=ontological" target="links">ontological</a></b>: to do with theories about the nature of being or what exists and the metaphysics appertaining thereto; or &#8220;relating to or based upon being or existence&#8221;.</p> <p>You mightn&#8217;t think this word comes up a lot; but you mightn&#8217;t be an English major then. Many of my never-rememberable words are in the field.</p> Childhood memories: Mother Ocean 2004-08-17T15:18:15+00:00 2008-08-14T11:21:20+00:00 <p>When I was little, my parents would take me to the beach, and my father would carry me in a sturdy baby backpack along the grey, shimmering margin. I don&#8217;t know, truly, if these are my memories, or back-formed images tricked out of photographs and later trips. But the later trips &mdash; those I know I remember. My mother would wear a quilted aqua jacket which I privately thought looked like Princess Leia&#8217;s Hoth vest, and my father would wear his sturdy brown corduroy coat with the big knobbly buttons, just as he would to work outside in bad weather. The corduroy was large of wale, and made a sound like a giant zipper when he moved his arms.</p> <p>My sister and I would wear little hooded sweatshirts or jackets, gathered tight around our faces to save our ears from the whistling wind, but there was no way to save our red noses from cold and dripping. Our bangs would tangle and fill with salt and sand as we dug and played. I loved to dig, and my sister, I think, loved to build, so she would set me to making the moat while she used the resulting pile to build a castle &mdash; one year, my parents bought her sand castle molds, and her castles rose perfect and tidy until the waters came.</p> <p>I would dance along the waterline, spinning in the wind or the sun, just as I do now, child that I am, when I see the sea. I walked along the coast alongside my long-legged parents, and ran like an excited puppy at every tantalizing treasure half-exposed in the sand &mdash; the fragment of sand-dollar that <em>might</em> have been a whole, the bit of wood that <em>might</em> have been a timber of a wrecked ship, the jelly-fish that <em>might</em> have still been alive, and wriggling, and dangerous. I would write my name in the sand, and then, as I grew older and came to look upon the ocean not just as a vast, beautiful noise, a force that had tried to draw me in when tiny, a m&eacute;lange of shimmers and shadings, but as the source of life, I would dawdle behind my parents and my sister as they headed up the beach away from the waterline, and write in the wet sand, &#8220;Mother Ocean.&#8221;</p>