Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Poem, Circa 2003



Here I sit, motionless, against a tree,
A tree so duly vivid and indefinite,
I dare not move for fear it will disappear.
And yet this leaf (Is that a purple hue
Glistening through its paper-thin beauty?)
Which here does fall seems so much bigger
Than that tree in all its fleeting fantasy,
And all the sprawling plains it claims.
As beads of light soak my supposed skin,
Drowning has never felt so good.
And white clouds, dream clouds,
Shift helplessly like droning sheep,
The flock calmly closing in
Above my familiar pasture.

But night will end.
And the tree will wither at a morning whisper.
That I cannot change.
And so I should smile at the sunrise.
What else is there to do?
Still I hear only sounds of breezy fingers,
And see bowing blades of grass.

Now I walk silent, indifferent,
Down the path I know too well,
So well in fact my feet carry themselves,
And I chatter my teeth in sync
With the sound of crunching foliage
And each footstep that I let go.
My only sign of life--My squinty eyes, nearly closed,
Closed by the western sky.
My blind procession halted only for a moment
By frigid knives hurled from angry wisps above.
And then I carry on.


Matthew Carter

The article on Matthew Carter was surprisingly interesting. I never before considered that the development of a typeface (font) could be so intricate and artful. It is especially amazing that the procedure was once an even more terribly painful process. Technology has truly affected all facets of life, it seems--even the letters I'm using on this very page. Who'd have thought?

I also found it interesting that the article presented the business side to Carter's work. On one hand he is an artist with all of the freedom that the designation entitles him to. On the other, he needs to make a living and cannot truly simply produce any typeface he wants. As the article notes, businesses, such as Microsoft, want legibility over intricacy. Plus, the article comments that there are only so many variations to put on a letter before it ceases to be that letter anymore.

It seems the most commonly used font now is Times New Roman.

It is easy to see why Times is so popular--it's highly legible and professional. Nearly all of the academic writings I've ever submitted for grading have been in Times. However, I've known some of the less computer literate generations before me to prefer Arial (or maybe that's just my dad!). Arial is less appealing to me precisely because of the lack of tails on the letters (san serif). The article points out that Arial turns the state of Illinois into an ambiguous collection of vertical bars -- Illinois, for example.

My personal favorite font is Garamond. I can't show it here, as Blogger doesn't offer it (maybe I could figure out how to get it on here...), but it has a thin, almost Gothic presentation. Twelve-point font size generally doesn't cut it with Garamond, so it's hard for me to use it on an academic paper, but I still like its looks and feel nonetheless.

Visit 1001 Fonts.com to download some free fonts.

What's your favorite font and why?