One day in June, 2014:
It was a rainy, damp day. Mould spores were antagonising my sinuses; and as I ruminated on the pain throbbing it’s three month long beat: boom, da boom, boom, along the bridge of my nose, piercing its un-relentless way into the bones of my face, forehead and cheekbones, I pulled a snotty piece of cotton wool from my left nostril, and, tugging a clean piece of cotton wool from an organic tampon, rolled it into a ball, and proceeded to shove it up my nose, in effect, replacing the old ‘nostril plug’ with a clean one.
The pain had been going on since April; and my left nostril had been plugged up with cotton wool (the cotton from a tampon was the only cotton wool I could find that didn’t release the fumes of bleach into my already inflamed nostril). There was no defining event that caused the pain. Nothing I could blame, apart from myself for being in constant agony. I had an appointment with an Ear Nose and Throat specialist coming up, but it was another month away, I’d become to accept the solemn, cacophony of pain.
It was a school day and, as I applied my mascara, ready to be on my way to Victoria University, I wondered why the hell I was doing this to myself. The 2 hour drive through traffic; the anxiety of wondering if I could stay in class (due to there, hopefully, being no air-borne fragrances forcing me to leave); the sinus pain made worse by the pressure of the mask I needed to wear to protect my upper respiratory system; the possibility of exposures that may take days to recover from; the guaranteed 24 hours needed to recover from the drive alone. Just thinking about all this was exhausting! Realising it was about to happen was producing anxiety. And the pain (did I mention the pain?) was pissing me off…
First up, I had ‘Editing II’ class where we were learning the ins and outs of the publishing industry. That went well, the tick sheet was all ticked in my favour: the whole class stated they weren’t wearing any spray deodorants or fragrances. And I could stay. I removed my mask, was greeted with air only permeated by carpet fumes, and washing powder residues; I turned the air filters up, and completed my work, took notes, then left class feeling like a *normal human being partaking of student life on campus.
Second up, I was in the library’s Perfume Free room with author, K A Cook; aka my mate, Kim. We were going over fonts, trying to work out which one would be best for the PDF version of my book. Smashwords only allowed a few stilted styles, but that day, Kim gave me a quick lesson on Typography. Font Ninja that they are, my mind soaked up a squelch of useful learnings. And then… It happened: I met Nymphette; and this was ‘The Day I Fell in Love… with a font’!
Adobe Garamond Pro; Adobe Sans Source Pro… these were all beautiful. But after I met Nymphette, and just about lost my mind over the most minute details, I was smitten.
As you can see, it’s not even an alphabetised font; it’s more a stylised set of calligraphic swirls, symbolic of feelings, perhaps: dainty, gay, pretty, artsy: all adjectives I’d use to describe Nymphette. It’s the kind of typography that makes me think of a painter taking a brush, and with several flicks of the wrist, creating a hidden alphabet that means different meanings to different people who mean to read it differently and get different meanings because how can it mean anything else? It’s just so different.
Nymphette can be found for free over at Font Squirrel. Thanks, Font Squirrel; you’ve changed my life. Forevermore, your lovely Nymphette will support my book title in the header of my pages; and in the footer, Nymphette will cradle my author name, Mischa van Loder, along with my page numbers.
My eBooking lessons with Kim have paid me dividends in skills I will use for life. Books have been my best friends since I was a child; and to be able to create a real live book (as opposed to the miniature ones I’d staple together as a child), is a dream come true. To sit alongside someone who has mastered so much and is able to articulate their mastery in a manner that’s easy to model, is a wonderful gift. Thanks Kim. Thanks VU.
Ergo, along with the positive comes a negative. Such is the zen-like duality of everything. Every single word I read is now done with an air of judgement. What font is that? How dare they use Papyrus? Don’t they realise it’s screaming: unprofessional? Then, while driving to the library at VU the other day: “Yes, yes, this graphic designer must of adjusted the kerning to fit that phrase onto that van.” (Yes, these are the type of thoughts I’m thinking about at traffic lights.) I am consumed by fonts. Design. Photography: all morphing in with the words agitating around my head, waiting to spill out onto a computer screen.
The semester has finished. I have my Diploma, Yet, I’m still creating my way to some type of success, Usually, this time of year, I’m in relax-sit-on-my-bed-binging-on-movies type of mode; but no, I’m still working on another eBook. And each Thursday I still make my way to the perfume free room at the library so I can continue being a normal person with a purpose.
To be consumed by typography is a beautiful thing. To be consumed by anything is a beautiful thing when life just feels like it’s too much to bare. And for that, I’m really grateful.
*Normal describes a state of mind one has when comparing themselves to others who they perceive to be normal (aka neuro-typical)
(One day in September, my partner found our kitchen sink was blocked with black mould. Within a few days of cleaning it and airing it out, my nostril began to heal. Fiddle dee dee! I hate mould!)
K A Cook: Three Simple Words: I’m an Author
Free Fonts!: Font Squirrel