Quick update: general busy-ness

Activities are coming along swiftly here, although nothing momentous is happening (that’s okay).

The second batch of advance reading copies (ARCs) of Ethnic Knitting Discovery arrived from the printer late Wednesday afternoon, and by 7:45 a.m. on Thursday all copies had been assigned to their next destinations and packed for shipping, and were by the front step awaiting carrier pickup. There are twenty flat-rate Priority Mail envelopes in that box.


I’m done with ARCs for this book. We seriously need the real print run
now! It’s out of my hands at the offset printer and all I can do is

Other things in the photo: I finally bound off the tops of the Opal socks (Rainforest collection, Ladybug color). This is the sock yarn I bought in at Knitting with Class Sitka in June. I worked one of the socks from the center of the ball and the other from the outside, as usual . . . I like to keep my socks in parallel so I always end up with two: toe, toe; foot, foot; heel, heel; and so on. Because of the printed color sequence in this yarn, and because of some luck-of-the-draw about where the strand started and ended, the colors move in opposite directions on the two socks. I’m amused. My feet need to be compatible, but they don’t need to match.

The books.

I’ve been having one of those pick-it-up-put-it-down reading times when nothing struck me quite right.

What you see are the books I’ve read all the way through—or will have soon.

It’s hard to see the full title on the library copy of Kabul Beauty School, by Deborah Rodriguez with Kristin Ohlson. I met Kristin last spring when we shared lodging during the American Society of Journalists and Authors annual conference; the book was just being published and I’ve been watching for an opportunity (i.e., a free space in my life) in which to read it. That moment finally arrived.

Debbie Rodriguez has a heck of a story and Kristin Ohlson is a dynamite writer who helped her tell it.

Debbie Rodriquez brought beauty salon equipment and skills to
Afghanistan (lots of info on different aesthetics; Afghan beauty is not
U.S. beauty). The world of U.S. beauty salons is more foreign to me
than I’d likely feel if I sat down in a group of spinners who all spoke
different languages. I get a hair cut, I blow it dry (or as dry as I
have patience for), and I’m done.

The book as a whole gives one perspective on women’s lives in Afghanistan; Rodriguez’ impetuosity and intercultural naivete are both charming and alarming. The book and its NPR-reported aftermath both enlightens and raises questions about cross-cultural efforts and communications and the responsibilities we humans have of figuring out how to interact with each other without causing harm, always tricky regardless of the intentions.

I’m especially glad to know about Kristin’s blog. She’s a smart, caring, tough, and ethical writer. One of the problems with telling someone else’s story (as Kristin did with Debbie Rodriguez’s story in Kabul Beauty School) is that you don’t get to tell your own story. Kristin’s blog lets her do that, and I enjoy her own insights into Afghanistan, which are a recurring part of that blog.

I was also reminded of Jennie Wood’s work with Rubia.

It’s an ongoing challenge for every human to figure out how to reach out hands that help other people discover their own strengths—and how to accept the hands that are offered to us so that we can do the same.

The other book, which I’ve still got a dozen or so pages to read in, is Leslie Cabarga‘s Logo, Font and Lettering Bible: A Comprehensive Guide to the Design, Construction and Usage of Alphabets and Symbols. I’ve been reading a few pages every evening for a while.

I got the book as a lark; the book I was looking for was Learn Fontlab Fast (not that I have FontLab software, but I’m curious, and curious with a problem to solve that might require font-design software).

However, I ended up with this one, too, and it’s been the book I haven’t been able to put down. The pages are dense with information so between two and four a night is plenty. It’s eclectic and opinionated and contains a lot of extremely practical information for messing around with digital type.

A page I read last night reproduced an imaginary dialogue that type designer W. A. Dwiggins published in 1938 in a prospectus for his Electra font. The dialogue is between Dwiggins and Kobodaishi, described here as the Buddhist patron saint of the lettering arts.

Now, I spent a lot of time last year reading about Kobo-daishi (spelling change reflects source) in another context: that of the Shikoku Pilgrimage, and wondering what would be involved in doing the pilgrimage. On foot, of course. It’s possible that simply reading about the pilgrimage in depth, looking at the maps, and understanding its history and current state fulfilled my quest. Or not.

More on that later, most likely. Topics that have intrigued me for years keep coming into my conversation, sometimes after long lapses.

I’m always intrigued when I notice anew how everything connects, sooner or later. If you pull one (metaphoric) thread and keep pulling, you will ultimately—if you have enough time and the ability to sustain your efforts—find everything in the universe passing through your (metaphoric) hands.


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