I’m so glad I didn’t die…

‘I’m so glad I didn’t die on the various occasions I have earnestly wished I might, for I would have missed a lot of lovely weather.’ Elizabeth von Arnim, in a letter. [#quoteFriday] Born Mary Annette Beauchamp in Sydney, Australia on 31 August 1866, the prolific and, in her day, hugely successful author ‘Elizabeth’ von […]

Albanian Letters by Arthur Evans

  Design for Albanian Letters, a compilation of letters and reports on Albania in the 1870s by archaeologist and journalist Sir Arthur Evans, the latest book from the Centre for Albanian Studies now in print. From the blurb: In Albanian Letters Evans not only explores the implications of the key political events of this period […]

Ornate

Ornate Bond Street Christmas lights, for this week’s WordPress photo challenge. Also gives me the opportunity to let you know about my Mrs Dalloway and Virginia Woolf guided walk, 26 November, 6-8pm. More details and booking here. ‘Mrs Dalloway said she would buy the flowers herself.’ But even as she steps out into the clamour […]

If we could show you the future…

would you walk all over it? Back in the day, at the agency where I was working, we were pleased with this mailer to the customers of a flooring manufacturer announcing their new website. Those were the days – when you sent out a mailer to tell people you had a website. In a world of contradictions, perhaps not a […]

Ripeness is all

I’ve been reading Thomas Hardy’s Return of the Native for a walk I’m leading. The strange thing about Hardy is that you seem to feel the need to offer an excuse as to why you’re reading him, or maybe that’s just me. But anyway – Clym Yeobright (the ‘Native’) has recently returned to Egdon Heath, where he […]

Jack Kerouac’s essentials for prose

I just picked up Natalie Goldberg’s Writing Down The Bones and was struck by the four essentials that she quotes from Jack Kerouac’s ‘Essentials for Prose,’: 1. Accept loss forever 2. Be submissive to everything, open, listening 3. No fear or shame in the dignity of your experience, language, and knowledge 4. Be in love with […]

The Balkan Wars

Today received the running sheets for ‘The Balkan Wars’, my latest book design project. Always slight trepidation mixed in with the excitement of seeing the printed book for the first time. Happily all in order. This is my first book project with versions being published in three languages (almost) simultaneously – English, Macedonian and Albanian. […]

Lunch and art: The fictional and real

I’m reading Edmund de Waal’s brilliant memoir ‘The Hare With Amber Eyes’. Very late, I know. But, better late than never. I’ve had the book for quite a while, a charity shop purchase, but every time I picked it up the picture of the netsuke on the cover put me off. I’m still not sure […]

Carpe Diem – Proust on fishing

There’s no irony (is there?) that a novel the length of ‘In Search of Lost Time’ is in fact about seizing the moment – or rather, trying to understand / appreciate / experience the full depth of every moment. In this it is closer to the more accurate rendition of the phrase ‘carpe diem’ as […]

Remembering the Holocaust

When one works, one suffers and there is no time to think: our homes are less than a memory. But here [in Ka Be, the infirmary] the time is ours: from bunk to bunk, despite the prohibition, we exchange visits and we talk and we talk. The wooden hut, crammed with suffering humanity, is full […]

David Bowie and George Orwell meet in blank space

Blank space is the central theme in the design for two iconic works released this month. The album cover for the thrilling and unexpected release of new music by David Bowie, with strong allusions to his Berlin period, is presented in a blanked out cover of Heroes: In his post on the design, Jonathan Barnbrook […]

Proust on Procrastination

In this wonderful passage Proust nails procrastination and all the evasive and equivocal excuses we give ourselves for putting off until tomorrow what we should be doing today. Incisive, but also very funny. We may deceive others, or even ourselves, temporarily, but deep down we know: Had I been less firmly resolved upon settling down […]

Nymphette, I think I love you

It’s getting close to the day I see a printed copy of the Biographical Dictionary back from the printers. As ever, excitement mixed with some trepidation, especially since I have not seen the proof. I was looking for typographic adornments or glyphs to use in the design and found Nymphette. Perfectly named and perfectly shaped. […]

Starting Over

The ability to start over, forgive (oneself and/or others) and move on: isn’t this at the heart of personal success, as well as the ongoing success/prosperity of nations? An aside in Bring Up The Bodies by Hilary Mantel, which I’ve just begun and is every bit as engrossing and electrifyingly well written as its predecessor, […]