Beasts and the Nature of Prayer

Robert Bringhurst

A typographic mind is just as alert to the invisible as to the visible. It is a mind with at least four feet: one in the visual, one in the manual, one in the lingual and one in the logical. Each of these feet has several toes: abstract, tactile, aural. Crickets, as you may know, have taste buds in their toes and ears in their front kneecaps. Typographers are equally bizarre. Their ears are in their eyes; their tongues are in their hands. It is their fingers more than their lips that constantly threaten to move as they read.


In simple terms, what drives the typographer is the existence of something to say. Or of something that speaks, if you like to put it that way. Typography is the sound of one hand speaking, vivid in the mind's eye, vivid in the mind's ear, and silent as a prayer.
The Typographic Mind issued as The Devil's Whim No. 16 by Gaspereau Press in 2006.

A typographer's prayer is of course addressed to the reader. And a pamphlet is an old form for a new idea — the hybrid sensory-swapping mind. What is here at play in world of typography reminds me of architectural renewals such at the Gladstone Hotel which has produced a nice postcard quoting Jane Jacobs (beautiful but marred by an unmodest claim of "Only at the Gladstone"): Old ideas can sometimes use new buildings. New ideas must use old buildings.

Consider silent prayer as idea-building as four-footed as the beasts of the typographic imagination.

And so for day 1198