Type and memory

From In the Garden of Type, by John Tranter:

I went to the South of France recently, to visit my Aunt Helene. She’s getting on now. When she was still a relatively young woman she gave up her typographic practice and moved to a retirement village, the Home for the Disappointed on the little island of San Serife, in the Mediterranean. The people in Bembo, the only town on the island, are mainly employed in the printing and publishing industries, so she feels at home there.

Aunt Helene has her own cottage, with a garden out the back: she calls it the Garden of Type. It’s a place for abandoned things, she says, and typefaces that have been lost and then found again. When the weather’s misty she wanders down there in her slippers and turns over the soil and kicks things around.

Nothing seemed to grow there now, and I asked her what the garden was for. “To remind me to remember to remember,” Aunt Helene explained. “Soon I’ll be the only one left who remembers what metal type looked like, or what blotting paper was for.”

“You sound like Henry Miller,” I said. “I remember he wrote a book called Remember to Remember.”….

(Via wood s lot.)

At the request of the BBC, Zadie Smith recalls a “defining moment” that shaped her writing:

when I was very young … I came across a boy who I thought was extraordinarily beautiful.

I think that partly the rapture of that, and the wanting something that I could never have made me start writing to the extent that I wrote in my teenage years and onwards….

(Via Moby Lives.)

LA Weekly talks with novelist Mian Mian, author of Candy. “I used to be underground, now I’m a [Shanghai] media phenomenon,” she says, explaining that “she became a writer ‘probably because I couldn’t be a singer. My voice is fucked up because I took too many drugs…'”

She likes living in Shanghai: “It’s like I’m the queen. The only downside is that it looks like it’s impossible for me to find a lover in this city. I guess nobody wants to fuck the queen.” (Via Bookslut.)


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