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Monday, July 4, 2011

Celebrating Calibri

It happened by accident. My computer threw a highlight over my entire essay and, in a flash, changed the font. I sat staring at the new typeface, bleak, no nonsense—looked like what a cowboy would hunt and peck with. The letters are sticklike, smoothly rounded, no serifs, nothing fancy, just desolate and hammered-down simple.

The Calibri font, pictured above.

For years I had been using Times Roman. It was and still is, I think, the preferred font. I wrote and published close to a hundred stories using it. I toiled through my first novel with it, too. Add to that attempts at other novels and ten thousand emails—all Times Roman. So when my computer sneezed, I was ready for a change, a change that complemented another one in me.

For years my writing had also been thinning out, becoming sparer and sparer. The high grass of jabbered-out phrases was now all but a barren dirt earth of truth. The farm on my emotional real estate is, I like to imagine, Lovesome Dove herself. Today I sit in stick furniture, feeling austere, Calibri now at my fingertips, like my hound dog on my dry, dusty, unpainted porch.

Termed a “Humanist” typeface and also called “Venetian,” Calibri is from a family of fonts from the 15th century, regarded as the unpretentious typeface of Italian humanist writers like Guillaume Budé, to name one. This is all interesting, but I’ll take just the word “humanist” to heart as I write my way forward.