robertogreco + letters   36

Casey Gollan on Twitter: "Will never get over how Robert Bringhurst blockquotes the biggest ever truthbomb right at the beginning of The Elements of Typographic Style https://t.co/vNuRNEqmX6"
"—Everything written symbols can say has already passed by. They are like tracks left by animals. That is why the masters of meditation refuse to accept that writings are final. The aim is to reach true being by means of those tracks, those letters, those signs — but reality itself is not a sign, and it leaves no tracks. It doesn’t come to us by way of letters or words. We can go toward it, by following those words and letters back to what they came from. But so long as we are preoccupied with symbols, theories, and opinions, we fail to reach the principle.

—But when we give up symbols and opinions, aren’t we left in the utter nothingness of being?

—Yes."

- Kimura Kyūho, Kenjutsu Fushigi Hen [On the Mysteries of Swordsmanship], 1768
robertbringhurst  writing  symbols  theories  howewrite  meditation  kimurakyūho  finality  tracks  tracking  signs  reality  letters  words  canon  principles  principle  opinions  nothingness  being 
january 2017 by robertogreco
Magnetic Letters Taught Us More Than How to Spell
"Psychologists are still studying “colored hearing.” They call it synesthesia, and it’s expanded to include more than just colors associated with hearing a letter spoken out loud. Associations between letters and colors are the most common form of synesthesia, but you can also get associations between numbers and colors, sounds and smells, even swimming styles and colors.

In 2012, Nathan Witthoft, then a Ph.D. student in psychology at MIT, put group of synesthetes through a series of color-matching tests. During the course of the study, he noticed something odd.  “For this one person, every sixth letter was the same color,” he said. “When I asked them why, they said they had learned it from this toy”—specifically, from the plastic letters included in Fisher-Price’s School Days Desk playset.

Today, those plastic letters are at the center of a scientific debate over what synesthesia is and how it begins. For more than a century scientists have been asking how synesthetes’ brains make connections between colors and letters. Now, it turns out that question could have implications for everyone—how we learn and how we remember.

The School Days Desk came out in 1972. It was one of the first projects toy designer Victor Reiling worked on for Fisher-Price. Just a couple years before, Reiling had been the captain of a Navy ship stationed off the coast of Vietnam."
synesthesia  children  childhood  2016  psychology  colors  toys  letters  words  maggiekoerth-baker  marycalkins  nathanwitthoft 
march 2016 by robertogreco
My Language, My Didot - Elushika Weerakoon / UX Pro, Designer, Type Nerd
[via: “TIL Sinhalese script got its curves because angular shapes damaged the palm leaves it was written on. http://cargocollective.com/elushika/My-Language-My-Didot … (ht @elushika)”
https://twitter.com/xuhulk/status/686305231999754240 ]

"I was once told that creating a typeface is similar to opening a can of worms: it is something that I shouldn't try unless I am an expert typographer. Despite these heedings, I knew I wanted to create a typeface.

Though I am a type nerd through and through, I am not quite a typographer. Perceived limitations aside, I decided to create a typeface in my native language, Sinhalese. Growing up in Sri Lanka, I remember noticing that the newspapers and books only had one style of typeface. Sans-serif or serif fonts were not used. The type was plain and consistent - which is fine - but I wanted to bring a level of inspiration and sophistication to the way Sinhalese is written."



"As Buddhism spread across the country, so did the writings. By the eighth century C.E., the writings became more developed and began to take on a shape similar to the present language. It was heavily influenced by Pallava Grantha (used in South India), well as the materials available to write on during that period. When the languages were written on stone, the shape of the letters was very angular with sharp edges. When palm leaves replaced stone as a writing surface, the shape of the letters took on a more circular form, because angular shapes damaged the leaf.1 Writings on palm leaves became widely popular, and books were transcribed on them. Buddhist manuscripts were copied and distributed among temples.

The Dutch East India Company captured the maritime colony of Ceylon from the Portuguese in 1656. During that time, the Dutch clergymen wanted to copy religious documents using palm leaves in the traditional methods of the island. After they realized this system was not working, a printing press was established in 1736 in the Fort of Colombo. The Dutch printed plakkaten, which were religious, educational and non-educational books in Sinhala and Dutch, between 1737 and 1796, until the British took over.4 The Sinhalese characters were wood cut by Gabriel Schade. 1"
sinhalese  writing  languages  history  letters  lettering  elushikaweerakoon  didot  typography  design 
january 2016 by robertogreco
Austin Kleon — How to graciously say no to anyone
"A couple of years ago, I was getting sent this article, “Creative People Say No,” at least twice a day. The idea was that creative geniuses say “no” to a lot of requests (like, a psychology professor researching processes of creative genius) in order to get their work done, so if you want to be a creative genius, you have to say no a lot so you can get your work done.

A bunch of people asked me what I thought about it, and I said, “It’s good advice for the rich and famous. Creative people say yes until they have enough work that they can say no.”"
no  advice  austinkleon  ebwhite  robertheinlein  carlsandburg  rejection  raw  zyzzyva  howardjunker  edmundwilson  bernardshaw  evelynwaugh  grouchomarx  sayingno  ianbogost  time  attention  correspondence  letters 
june 2015 by robertogreco
Frere-Jones Type
"Letters are scattered all over the living room floor. Not designs of my own, but toys for our son. Letters for sticking on refrigerator doors, fitting into puzzles, stamping in finger-paint, or floating in a bathtub. There’s even a bag of gummy letters in the kitchen.

They’re all made by different hands, and in varying materials. As far as I can tell, they don’t aspire to any explicit style, but only to present the alphabet with minimum distraction. But there’s more noise and confusion here than their makers may realize.

[image]
Q, I think

Most of these letters have rounded corners and terminals, which seems to be the prevalent style for toddlers. I think I understand the appeal: it’s fun and bouncy like a balloon, and you probably can’t poke yourself in the eye with it. Some letter sets got their intersections rounded as well, leaving them with a web-footed appearance.

[image]
Pretty sure this is a W

Unfortunately, the rounding-off and curving-in can weaken critical features of letterforms. So it’s an especially unfortunate thing to put in front of a child trying to learn the alphabet and gain confidence in knowing its shapes. It’s like making someone wear earplugs while they try to learn an instrument.

[image]
Undecided about being a B

We learn letterforms by their tendencies, like the importance of asymmetry in the capital ‘B’. As that left-to-right contrast is turned down for the sake of style (or ease of manufacture) the letter becomes less and less of a ‘B’ and more of an abstract lump.

[image]
K, more or less

The shape of a ‘K’ is all about diagonals and sharp intersections. Here, the manufacturer dispensed with the tight corners because the router apparently couldn’t handle it, and effectively skipped a letter of the alphabet.

[image]
I definitely know what that one is

As a type designer, I could hem and haw about the design of this ‘K’. The top leg looks a bit too light. The lower leg seems to taper towards its end rather than its join. Degrees of curvature at the terminals seem inconsistent. As a father, I’m just grateful that this actually looks (and acts) like a letter of the alphabet rather than a Rorschach test."
children  typography  alphabet  letters  2014  tobiasfrere-jones 
january 2015 by robertogreco
‘Not Nothing’ Tries to Capture the Artist Ray Johnson - NYTimes.com
"The Siglio book, edited by the poet Elizabeth Zuba, spans most of this history. The first entries, from the mid-1950s, are pure text, blocks of single-space typed prose. Gertrude Stein’s cut-and-paste approach to language is an obvious influence, jazzed up by Johnson’s penchant, verging on compulsion, for associative wordplay and puns.

Even when his work was text-intensive, though, he had an eye alert to shaping it visually. In a second 1950s piece composed of lists of isolated phrases — “Virginia gets tomahawk,” “regards têtes” — he slanted the lists diagonally across the page and turned half the phrases upside down, a graphic that could have been realized only by a radical reimagining of what a typewriter could do.

Johnson had his art heroes — Joseph Cornell, Kurt Schwitters, Allan Kaprow, the Fluxus founder George Maciunas — whom he acknowledged in his correspondence work, placing their names alongside those of pop stars, art world potentates and personal friends. Name-dropping, if that’s what this was, is a recurrent feature of Johnson’s art, but it’s different than Warhol’s celebrity chasing.

Like Warhol, Johnson had an appetite for glamour and the politics of who-knows-who. But he was impatient with hierarchy. Warhol was a worshiper, Johnson a collector, a cataloger. In his work the same plane of importance is occupied by Marcel Duchamp, Anita O’Day and Toby Spiselman, a Long Island friend. It’s hard to imagine Warhol heading up an Anna May Wong fan club, but Johnson did. There’s a sense that for him all names are equivalent in value, are all collage elements, all “nothings,” or rather somethings, equally useful and even soothing in their sameness.

This is not to say that Johnson’s correspondences are embracing and warm. “Every letter I write is not a love letter,” he once wrote, and he wasn’t kidding. Wary distance was Johnson’s default position. When writing to people he didn’t know — Jacques Derrida, say — he could sound jumpy and twisty or haughty. Even in letters to close friends, like the historian William S. Wilson, his most astute biographer, Johnson tended to dance around difficult, intimate subjects.

He would almost certainly have leveled a cool stare at the 21st-century interest — amounting to a faith — in collectivity, collaboration and social practice as utopian models. Mail art, on the surface, looked democratic, nonelitist, even populist; theoretically, anyone could join in. Yet Johnson’s reports from New York Correspondence School meetings speak of members who were summarily banished from the roster for some infraction or other. Johnson himself, in what feels like a punitive spirit, dropped people from his mailing list. Was such policing meant to be tongue-in-cheek, mocking how the real world operated? Impossible to say. Johnson wore ambiguity like a shield.

Occasionally, though, we see him let down his guard, as in a 1975 letter: “I just can’t take it. Overload. My history is too much for me. By the way, the big emotional event of the year is the departure of Richard Lippold with a young Italian.”

For all the zany exuberance surrounding Johnson’s role as mail-art webmaster, there’s a lot of darkness in the book. Death is a running theme, in Johnson’s tight-lipped bulletins on the demise of artists (Albers, Eva Hesse) and weirdly repeated mentions of dead cats. He describes, with gusto, crushing insects in his apartment, and recounts, with bizarre hilarity, the killing of a rooster he witnessed at a boozy art party. His attitude in the telling is beyond irreverence, close to delight.

But was it really? Any conclusions drawn about Johnson’s psychology from his writing must be provisional. He was a master at covering his tracks. Even friends like Mr. Wilson, a frequent presence in his correspondence, felt they barely knew him. He might as well have been the E. T. that he sometimes looked like. We read the correspondences of artists and writers in search of some truth beyond what they give us in their work. But the only sure truth about Johnson is the work: pioneering, stimulating, witty, angry, exasperating and like no other. If there’s a lot we can’t know, that’s O.K. Mystery is part of his beauty and his lastingness."

[See also: https://pinboard.in/u:robertogreco/b:31e2f33614a6
http://kaleidoscope-press.com/2014/06/readray-johnsons-bookspublished-by-siglio-press/
http://sigliopress.com/book/not-nothing/
http://sigliopress.com/book/the-paper-snake/ ]
rayjohnson  collection  catalogs  lists  namedropping  hollandcotter  104  elizabethzuba  blackmountaincollege  bmc  mailart  art  overload  nothings  happenings  concretepoetry  poetry  writing  letters  fluxus  georgemaciunas  allankaprow  josephcornell  kurtschwitters  hierarchy  horizontality  death  irreverence  newyorkcorrespndenceschool  collectivity  collaboration  socialpracticeart  collectivism  ambiguity  2014  books 
august 2014 by robertogreco
Reading Design · An A List Apart Article
"An Entirely Incomplete List of Things a Non–Illiterate Designer Should Know Before Being a Designer:

• That text will inevitably be read before it is looked at

• That words themselves make remarkably effective clip art

• That the self–conscious layering of messages usually subtracts more value than it adds

• That the practical value of white space towers over its value as a design element

• That the deep symbolism of a design decision, referring perhaps to a treasured memory of the designer, is irrelevant to the person attempting to glean something from the work

• That print designers who gauge their work on the screen, and web designers who gauge their work exclusively on their own machines, are arrogant in their disregard

• That the physiobiology of reading is one that demands easy points of exit and entry

• That simply paying attention to the design of type, or distinguishing it as “fine” or “invisible” or “classical” is like making a big deal about putting salt on a boiled egg

• That letters are not pictures of things, but things

• That words are not things, but pictures of things

• That arbitrarily altering (or allowing software to alter) the shapes of letters, and the spacing between letters and words, is done at one’s own risk

• That emphasis comes at a cost

• That overstating the obvious can be effective, but not all the time

• The precise point at which a quantity of information no longer requires assistance to be differentiated from another

• The knowledge to back up design decisions clearly without falling into a fog of hidden meaning, or so–called “creativity”"
deanallen  typography  design  webdesign  alistapart  2010  usability  ux  interactiondesign  graphicdesign  whitespace  reading  howweread  words  letters  webdev 
february 2014 by robertogreco
Sol LeWitt’s Advice to Eva Hesse: Don’t Worry About Cool, Make Your Own Uncool | gwarlingo
"The unromantic truth is that being an artist in any field is hard work. Because artists need a lot of time alone in order to create, they wrestle with loneliness and insecurity. They face continual self-doubt, as well as the criticism of others. Many artists work with no financial safety net or healthcare. Those who do have some financial stability often work day jobs that drain precious time and energy from their creative work."

"Making space and time to create without interruption is difficult but essential. Our competitive culture rarely rewards stillness and imagination. From childhood, we are programmed to stop day dreaming and told to be constructive and busy instead."

"Artist Sol LeWitt understood fear and the importance of doing better than anyone.

In 1960 he met Eva Hesse, and the two artists formed a decade-long friendship. As Stephanie Buhmann details, “despite superficial disparities (LeWitt’s oeuvre is usually thought of as idea-driven while Hesse’s works reflect the opposite: intimacy, personal gesture, and physical sensuality),” the two artists shared a lot in common. “While Hesse drew inspiration from Minimalist aesthetics and the conceptual clarity that characterized LeWitt’s work, LeWitt respected Hesse’s devotion to the trace of the human hand in art.”"

The letter:
Dear Eva,

It will be almost a month since you wrote to me and you have possibly forgotten your state of mind (I doubt it though). You seem the same as always, and being you, hate every minute of it. Don’t! Learn to say “Fuck You” to the world once in a while. You have every right to. Just stop thinking, worrying, looking over your shoulder wondering, doubting, fearing, hurting, hoping for some easy way out, struggling, grasping, confusing, itching, scratching, mumbling, bumbling, grumbling, humbling, stumbling, numbling, rumbling, gambling, tumbling, scumbling, scrambling, hitching, hatching, bitching, moaning, groaning, honing, boning, horse-shitting, hair-splitting, nit-picking, piss-trickling, nose sticking, ass-gouging, eyeball-poking, finger-pointing, alleyway-sneaking, long waiting, small stepping, evil-eyeing, back-scratching, searching, perching, besmirching, grinding, grinding, grinding away at yourself. Stop it and just DO!

From your description, and from what I know of your previous work and you [sic] ability; the work you are doing sounds very good “Drawing-clean-clear but crazy like machines, larger and bolder… real nonsense.” That sounds fine, wonderful – real nonsense. Do more. More nonsensical, more crazy, more machines, more breasts, penises, cunts, whatever – make them abound with nonsense. Try and tickle something inside you, your “weird humor.” You belong in the most secret part of you. Don’t worry about cool, make your own uncool. Make your own, your own world. If you fear, make it work for you – draw & paint your fear and anxiety. And stop worrying about big, deep things such as “to decide on a purpose and way of life, a consistant [sic] approach to even some impossible end or even an imagined end” You must practice being stupid, dumb, unthinking, empty. Then you will be able to DO!

I have much confidence in you and even though you are tormenting yourself, the work you do is very good. Try to do some BAD work – the worst you can think of and see what happens but mainly relax and let everything go to hell – you are not responsible for the world – you are only responsible for your work – so DO IT. And don’t think that your work has to conform to any preconceived form, idea or flavor. It can be anything you want it to be. But if life would be easier for you if you stopped working – then stop. Don’t punish yourself. However, I think that it is so deeply engrained in you that it would be easier to DO!

It seems I do understand your attitude somewhat, anyway, because I go through a similar process every so often. I have an “Agonizing Reappraisal” of my work and change everything as much as possible = and hate everything I’ve done, and try to do something entirely different and better. Maybe that kind of process is necessary to me, pushing me on and on. The feeling that I can do better than that shit I just did. Maybe you need your agony to accomplish what you do. And maybe it goads you on to do better. But it is very painful I know. It would be better if you had the confidence just to do the stuff and not even think about it. Can’t you leave the “world” and “ART” alone and also quit fondling your ego. I know that you (or anyone) can only work so much and the rest of the time you are left with your thoughts. But when you work or before your work you have to empty you [sic] mind and concentrate on what you are doing. After you do something it is done and that’s that. After a while you can see some are better than others but also you can see what direction you are going. I’m sure you know all that.

You also must know that you don’t have to justify your work – not even to yourself. Well, you know I admire your work greatly and can’t understand why you are so bothered by it. But you can see the next ones and I can’t. You also must believe in your ability. I think you do. So try the most outrageous things you can – shock yourself. You have at your power the ability to do anything.

I would like to see your work and will have to be content to wait until Aug or Sept. I have seen photos of some of Tom’s new things at Lucy’s. They are impressive – especially the ones with the more rigorous form: the simpler ones. I guess he’ll send some more later on. Let me know how the shows are going and that kind of stuff.

My work had changed since you left and it is much better. I will be having a show May 4 -9 at the Daniels Gallery 17 E 64th St (where Emmerich was), I wish you could be there.

Much love to you both.

Sol
sollewitt  evahasse  chuckclose  gwarlingo  michellealdredge  2011  art  artists  glvo  work  doing  making  makersschedule  childhood  creativity  time  focus  iraglass  stephaniebuhmann  insecutiry  loneliness  self-doubt  howwework  criticism  miltonglaser  canon  1965  inspiration  letters  correspondence  motivation  psychology 
february 2013 by robertogreco
We Will Be Close | Photos by Jesse Ragan
"Words and letters catch my eye pretty much everywhere I go. Some are ugly, some are beautiful, and some are simply bizarre. All are working hard to communicate something, but sometimes they communicate more than they mean to: humor, irony, poetry, or even something mysteriously poignant. That’s when I take out my camera.
We will be close... staring from now into forever."
vernaculartypography  quickfixes  hand-paintedsigns  hand-letteredsigns  brooklyn  handmade  via:litherland  irony  humor  words  letters  photography  nyc  signs  typography  jesseragan  from delicious
october 2012 by robertogreco
Debbie Chachra’s letter to her teenage self « Science Club for Girls
"You’ve registered to take auto shop and electrical shop at your new school in the fall. I hate to say this, but the classes are kind of going to suck.

"I hate to say this, but the classes are kind of going to suck. You’ll be the only girl in both…"

You’ll be the only girl in both, and the boys are going to give you a hard time, and the teachers aren’t going to notice or care."

"It’s not going to be the best of experiences, but I want you to hold onto how much you love making stuff."

"There’s a distinctive pleasure to holding something that you’ve made, and you’ll get a tremendous confidence boost from it – it’s the difference between, “I’m not sure,” and “Of course I can.”"

"But let me tell you – the future is pretty awesome. … ou will not believe what I’m holding in my hand right now…"
teens  adolescents  adolescence  history  letterstoself  letters  past  srg  learning  making  science  girls  1984  2010  debchachra 
october 2012 by robertogreco
Why Not Be Jubilant? - Lapham’s Quarterly
"The secret of success is concentrating interest in life, interest in sports and good times, interest in your studies, interest in your fellow students, interest in the small things of nature, insects, birds, flowers, leaves, etc. In other words to be fully awake to everything about you & the more you learn the more you can appreciate & get a full measure of joy & happiness out of life. I do not think a young fellow should be too serious, he should be full of the Dickens some times to create a balance.

I think your philosophy on religion is okay. I think every person should think, act & believe according to the dictates of his own conscience without too much pressure from the outside. I too think there is a higher power, a supreme force, a governor, a something that controls the universe. What it is & in what form I do not know. It may be that our intellect or spirit exists in space in some other form after it parts from this body…"
interestedness  nature  balance  fathers  1928  appreciation  happiness  belief  religion  presence  noticing  wisdom  living  life  whatmatter  parenting  letters  jacksonpollock  interested  from delicious
september 2012 by robertogreco
New Tools for Men of Letters
"The new graphic arts devices are, I believe, capable of working the other way—as implements for a more [p.180] decentralized and less professionalized culture, a culture of local literature and amateur scholarship.

This possibility is especially important today, when electric power promises to develop the village at the expense of the metropolis, and when shorter working hours offer a prospect of leisure to a population of which an increasing proportion is being exposed to college education.



Today the Western scholar’s problem is not to get hold of the books that everyone else has read or is reading but rather to procure materials that hardly anyone else would think of looking at.



Western civilization now expects even poetry to fit the Procrustean bed of the publishing industry.



The art of conversation, with its counterpart the dialogue [p.186] as a literary form for presenting ideas, has also declined since the days of Galileo, while the art of advertising has advanced.

…"

[So much more, but another reaction: academics will always hope everyone is more like them.]
poetry  printing  duplication  microfiche  microfilm  near-print  micro-copying  books  photo-offset  learning  decentralization  professionalization  wpa  greatdepression  dialog  conversation  letterwriting  letters  ruricomp  rural  local  localstudies  academics  academia  research  writing  amateurresearch  amateurism  literature  graphicarts  liberalarts  leisurearts  leisure  education  community  publishing  microformats  mimeograph  media  technology  communication  scholarship  digitalhumanities  1935  robertbinkley  dialogue  artleisure  from delicious
june 2012 by robertogreco
Twitter by Post - The Morning News
"…if you get the chance to look at some old letters—properly old, from the first half of the 20th century, or older—you’ll see that they weren’t always long screeds. In fact they were often kept short and to the point.

A bit like social media updates, actually.

A letter back then might simply ask one question. The reply would answer it. Just that. A letter might describe a single event, or pass on a single piece of news. I’m pregnant. Your father is dying. I was sent on patrol last night, and I survived. I love you. I still love you. I no longer love you.

Simple, short messages. That’s what the post was for. That’s why postal services were so frequent, and why there were so many deliveries.

The post mattered. People love updates."
communication  gilesturnbull  2011  shortform  mail  letters  updates  socialmedia  postcards  usps  twitter  from delicious
december 2011 by robertogreco
Especially Mysterious Letters by Lenka & Michael — Kickstarter
"We need help!

We're sending letters to everyone in the world, one town at a time. The letters all arrive on the same day, just like a huge dollop of fresh cream blobbed on the whole town. These cheerful handwritten letters prompt chats around neighborhoods and whip up all sorts of community curiosity and giggling confusion."

[via: http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/646138685/especially-mysterious-letters/posts/125549?ref=base ]
letters  letterwriting  art  conceptualart  mystery  mysteriousletters  lenkaclayton  michaelcrowe  2011  classideas  kickstarter  from delicious
october 2011 by robertogreco
the average font: alphabet - a set on Flickr
"This project shows what a font would look like if it consisted of all typefaces installed on my system. Every character from a to z is drawn using every single font with a low opacity. In total there are over 900 typefaces in my library. I didn’t exclude the ugly ones.

more info: www.moritzresl.net/average-font/ "

[via: http://roomthily.tumblr.com/post/10464185326/average-font-f-by-moritz-resl-overlay-of-900 ]
blur  typography  fonts  letters  averages  design  art  moritzresl  from delicious
september 2011 by robertogreco
Children of Troy « Snarkmarket
"This little correspondence cracked like lightning in my head. I mean, it’s no big deal; it’s a small thing, it’s a letter, they were both in Michigan, it makes perfect sense. And yet, and yet: Clifton Wharton, president of Michigan State University, and Marguerite Hart, librarian of Troy—a tangible thread connected them. And as soon as you realize that, you can’t help but imagine the other threads, the other connections, that all together make a net, woven before you were born, before you were even dreamed of—a net to catch you, support you, lift you up. Libraries and universities, books and free spaces—all for us, all of us, the children of Troy everywhere.

What fortune. Born at the right time."

[…]

"And it’s not the librarian laughing and crying at the same time here; it’s me. Every time I’ve read these letters, it’s me."
snarkmarket  robinsloan  libraries  troy  cityoftroy  books  memories  memory  childhood  reading  librarians  connections  knowledge  freespaces  letters  universities  michigan  michiganstate  ebwhite  isaacasimov  cliftonwharton  margueritehart  johnburns  1971  2011  publiclibraries  education  learning  experience  comments  from delicious
june 2011 by robertogreco
The curious history of chain letters. - By Paul Collins - Slate Magazine
"Unlike the unfortunate Zorin Barrachilli, the chain letter lives on. If that 1974 sample from an online archive of chain letters sounds familiar, it's probably thanks to generations of e-mail and photocopying. But the real origin of the letter wasn't the Netherlands: Like any truly great crooked scheme, it began in Chicago.

It was there in 1888 that one of the earliest known chain letters came from a Methodist academy for women missionaries. Up to its eyes in debt, that summer the Chicago Training School hit upon the notion of the "peripatetic contribution box"—a missive which, in one founder's words, suggested that "each one receiving the letter would send us a dime and make three copies of the letter asking three friends to do the same thing."

The chain letter had been born."
culture  gullibility  psychology  chainletters  peripatetic  contribution  box  email  spam  letters  from delicious
november 2010 by robertogreco
dinky pictures: ordinary love stories
"in a day or so, i will leave bombay for a longlong time. i wrote ordinary love stories in tribute to andre jordan, one for every friend who came to bid me fare-thee-well. and they wrote some back for me." [via: http://twitter.com/tanushri_shukla/status/24598432658 via: @robinsloan]
classideas  writing  letters  love  appreciation  tcsnmy  from delicious
september 2010 by robertogreco
slacktivist: A letter dated August 7
"Jourdan Anderson, a citizen of the United States living in Ohio, sent the following letter to Col. P.H. Anderson of Big Spring, Tenn., who, according to American law, "owned" Jourdan Anderson as property prior to emancipation.

The letter is dated August 7, 1865, and was sent in response to Col. Anderson's invitation to return to Tennessee to work as a laborer.

The letter provides a valuable glimpse into the atrocious reality of our history, but it should also be studied and relished as one of the all time great examples of the cheerful and elaborately polite "Screw you.""
slavery  race  history  us  letters  writing  classideas  jourdananderson  freedom  from delicious
august 2010 by robertogreco
Neuroskeptic: What You Really Feel
"Arthur Schopenhauer is my favorite 19th century German philosopher. Not that this is enormous praise given my attitude to the others, but anyway, here's one of his pearls of wisdom (source):
via:cervus  emotion  emotions  neuroscience  philosophy  psychology  relationships  life  letters 
july 2010 by robertogreco
Scribes Thriving As Ghostwriters In Mexico City - Sun Sentinel
"People have been coming for years to the public scribes of Santo Domingo Colonnade with the stuff of their lives -- love, disillusionment, longing and commerce.

In times gone by, the scribes brought out sharpened quills and ink to record the sentiments of Mexico City`s timid, illiterate or harried. More recently, they set up their typewriters.

Although the tools have changed, the scribes still reduce the dramas of life to paper with style and compassion for those unable to put their feelings into writing.

Since Spanish Colonial rule in the 1850s, about 25 scribes have been sheltered under a colonnade near Santo Domingo Church.

Hipolito Ortiz, who has practiced the trade for half his 50 years, said business is flourishing but is not what it used to be. The education level has risen in Mexico, meaning many lovers, children or businessmen can write their own missives. In addition, the telephone has opened the possiblility of direct communication."

[via: http://www.flickr.com/photos/readinginpublic/4603776421/ ]

[See also: “The disappearing tribe of India's letter writers”
http://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-india-26379747 ]
writing  mexicodf  mexico  history  recordkeeping  transcription  typewriters  writinginpublic  services  communication  memory  literacy  illiteracy  letters  letterwriting  df  mexicocity 
may 2010 by robertogreco
McSweeney's Internet Tendency: The Real Timothy McSweeney.
"I was intrigued by the letters so much that I kept them in a drawer in my room, wondering if Timothy was actually related to us...When a new letter would arrive, she would hand it to me, usually without reading it. I would pore over it for clues, then would add it to the stack...So many years later, when I was conceiving a name for this literary journal, the name Timothy McSweeney's Quarterly Concern occurred to me...made sense on many levels...honor my Irish side of the family & also allude to this mysterious man & the sense of possibility and even wonder he'd brought to our suburban home...Knowing that the journal bore the name of a real person who had endured years of struggle threw melancholy shadows over the enterprise. But the McSweeneys insisted that the use of the name was acceptable, even appropriate, given Timothy's background as an artist & search for connection & meaning through the written word. Since 2000 we've implicitly dedicated all issues to the real Timothy."
daveeggers  history  writing  fun  journalism  celebrity  obituary  mystery  mentalillness  glvo  names  naming  letters  correspondence  mcsweeneys  weird  mentalhealth 
february 2010 by robertogreco
IJ (digraph) - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
"The IJ (lowercase ij) is the digraph of the letters i and j. Occurring in the Dutch language, it is sometimes considered a ligature, or even a letter in itself – although in most fonts that have a separate character for ij the two composing parts are not connected, but are separate glyphs, sometimes slightly kerned."
language  dutch  ij  digraphs  letters  kerning  linguistics 
november 2009 by robertogreco
Scholar’s Choice: Letter from Roberto Matta-Echaurren to his son Gordon | Canadian Centre for Architecture (CCA)
"Dearest Gordy: A big happy and meaningful new year—Since you seem to feel that your life has become a senseless driving from here to nowhere—you need an end, let it be architecture (remember that no where can be now here).
matta-clark  robertomatta  architecture  via:javierarbona  letters  correspondence  parenting  chile  art  glvo  gordonmatta-clark 
october 2009 by robertogreco
Postcrossing - Postcards Traveling The World
"It's a project that allows anyone to exchange postcards (paper ones, not electronic) from random places in the world."
via:russelldavies  classideas  geography  letters  mail  postcards  fun  postcrossing  socialnetworking  exchange 
june 2008 by robertogreco
From The Magazine : Radar Online : What better mentor for a 10-year-old than Charles Manson? Little Billy seeks life advice, and America's most notorious killers are happy to oblige
"What better mentor for a 10-year-old than Charles Manson? Little Billy seeks life advice, and America's most notorious killers are happy to oblige"
crime  children  prison  humor  letters 
april 2008 by robertogreco
Core77.com :: View topic - to cover letter or not to cover letter
"Why use a cover letter? Why not just put it all in your e-mail? it seems so old school, and doesn't make much sense."
etiquette  jobs  work  writing  coverletter  letters  email  norms  standards 
february 2008 by robertogreco
PingMag - The Tokyo-based magazine about “Design and Making Things” » Archive » Dainippon Type Organization: Fun With Japanese Characters
"the Dainippon Type Organization breaks Japanese Katakana, Hiragana, and the alphabet into pieces to recompose the parts and produce new characters - like turning Katakana in Kanji looking characters and the other way round"
art  design  japan  japanese  media  type  typography  toys  hiragana  katakana  letters  symbols  english  language  writing  play  pingmag 
july 2007 by robertogreco

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