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Author's Note

The idea to create fonts came to me in midlife. I had not studied type design, never imagined I’d spend any time at it, let alone so much time. On something of a lark, I digitized the casual handwriting of a colleague, and before long I found myself poring over old letters and journals, driven by an obsession to make authentic-looking simulations of antique penmanship—a tedious yet rewarding process that got me imagining the authors of all those handwritten sentences, why they chose the words they chose, what was going through their minds when they wrote them, even where they sat to write.

Several years ago, I bought a two-hundred-year-old farmhouse in rural Maine. The house was in pretty good shape, although the original barn had long since fallen. Some time after I moved in, the previous owner asked if I had yet met Lydia. It happens that she was referring to the ghost of a previous resident of the place, a nineteenth-century spirit she’d come to know. Too soon I ended up selling the house without ever meeting Lydia. But the idea of her stuck with me, and I thought of her often while modeling new typefaces after old handwriting. Somehow those thoughts—along with memories of a few good dogs in my life—inspired me to write the story you’re about to read.

I could not have finished this book without my incomparably talented daughter Sarah, her eye for words, and her ear for language. I’m immensely grateful to Denny Berry, Ann Parrent, Kristen Lindquist, Liz Snider, Craig Mathieson, and Alison Hill, so generous with their reading time and precise with their suggestions. I am indebted also to Kendra Harpster for offering gentle advice and encouragement to a hapless rookie novelist. And the cover would not have turned out so handsome without contributions from Ann Parrent, Madrona Wienges, and my dog, Jack. Thank you all.

A Note on the Type

The text of this book is set in Adobe Garamond Pro (www.adobe.com), a fine revival of the work of celebrated French type designer Claude Garamond; chapter headings and the cover type are set in Emily Austin (inspired by the penmanship of pioneer Texan Emily Austin Perry) and Broadsheet (modeled after Colonial American newspaper type), each from 3IP (www.3ipfonts.com).

 

 
 

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