Sunday, July 12, 2015

...and per se and

I have been wanting to be able to write a better ampersand. My usual option is kind of wimpy (it appears at the end of the second row, above). So, I did some investigating. Most of the awesome ampersands come from writing with a calligraphic nib, or by using a typeset font, not from just regular handwriting. But still, a better everyday "&" is within reach. I want one that is simple and quick to do. I really like the "&" as it saves time AND has the potential to add some flourish to your writing.

While practicing various ampersand styles I realized this is one of those situations where being a lefty puts me at a disadvantage. The curves don't move the right way, the slant is all wrong, and the bottom part which looks best when it's bulbous has a tendency to end up a little cramped. Maybe I should develop a mirror-image version.

Also, while poking around the internet on the topic, I discovered two things:

1. Back in the 1800s the "&" used to be the 27th letter of the alphabet. Say what? Now I want to bring it back!

2. The name "ampersand" comes from when kids had to recite the alphabet in school, they would have to say "...X, Y, Z, and per se and" which would all string together when they spoke and end up sounding like "ampersand." Is this an internet hoax? I don't know, but I am going to ask my 92-year old dad about it. He still talks about learning the "Palmer method of penmanship," so maybe he also had to say "and per se and" when reciting the alphabet.

Sunday, July 5, 2015

I'm back?

Today am seeing what happens if I start posting to my blog again. I haven't been drawing much. Mostly just writing words and recording the temperature and weather in my journal.

Because I knew I would be posting a picture of the poem you see above, I tried a little harder on the lettering. Which, interestingly, made it come out not as likable as the letters I don't try so hard on. A good lesson there.

Basho was a Japanese poet who lived from 1644 to 1694. While on a months-long walking journey in 1682, he developed a style of poetry called haibun. According the the Poetry Foundation, "the imagery in haibun follows two paths: the external images observed en route, and the internal images that move through the traveler's mind during the journey."

I came across this poem in the Man Booker Prize-winning novel I am reading called, "The Narrow Road to the Deep North" by Richard Flanagan. It turns out the title of this book is also the title of a book of poetry that Basho published. Although, this new book is about Australian POWs held by the Japanese in World War II. I am reading it as fast as I can because it's so sad and gross.

What's on your summer reading list?