Picture 1964 me. Actually, a few years after this picture, in another house, but not yet 10 for sure.
As part of my acute sensitivity to my family’s dilemmas, I understood that my Mom was unhappy, in part because she wanted to start her own business. Lots of reasons why the little sewing shop she had closed. One of those reasons being my Dad not being comfortable with her being by herself in the neighborhood. I don’t know if things were getting boisterous at that time, but Daddy would have been worried, regardless. He was hours away, upstate New York, being a butcher. If anything untoward happened, he couldn’t protect her.
And yet, protecting her mental and emotional health was most likely relegated to the hands of Jesus. So, yeah: her shop had to close down. And my memory of that time is that the lack of independence, freedom, etc, sent my Mom deeper into darkness. But, like many poor people, there was no choice but to persevere. So, she trained to become a nurses’ aide.
Anyway, here I was, not yet 10, realizing that money was too tight to mention and the source of enormous pain and nonsense in my family. It occurred to me that perhaps I could help. I vaguely remember making little notes in childish overloopy script, making stories in my little diary, and just basically really loving seeing my own handwriting on the page.
Then I got the idea to start a greeting card business. How hard could it be? I’d use paper and make little drawings and make up little quotes, then sell them to my elementary school friends.
I can remember the feel of the construction paper and crayons and the box I kept my intellectual property in and the whole sense of excitement that I was going to change our lives for the better through creating a business, something my Mom wanted so desperately to do.
I made enough to fill a shoebox. I took them to school. I don’t remember one sale. And since my memory is a sieve, you might say: “but you must have sold one!”. I think not.
Fast forward (so dang fast) to my hippier days. I loved making my loopy script. It mattered less whether anyone else liked it. It was for me. This tendency, this love of the loopy font, continues to this day. I have been starting my art practice with my face and my sayings (yes, I have a little narcissist in me, probably. but I’m hermit enough not to hurt anyone). What was I saying? Oh right. My art practice is illustrations of my face with various emotions and a saying that goes with it. The saying was always in the loopiest script imaginable – barely legible without a lot of time, and not what I wanted in the end, although I published anyway.
Then the thought hit me: what if I could create my own font? Slurp it into my devices and apps and use it as my go to? I did a little digging and found this:
And then digging around further I found this:
And after a very small learning curve, which will of course not be the same as the many experts who study this stuff, and you should hire them or buy their fonts post haste, because mine doesn’t adhere to design principles, just what looked good to me, I present:
Which I used in today’s piece: