“Directions for the Construction of the Text” — Albrecht Dürer
(From Of the Just Shaping of Letters).
THE letters which are usually called “text,” or quadrate, it was formerly customary so to write, although they are now imitated by the new art, as presently I shall show below. Although the alphabet begins with the writing of A, yet shall I (not needlessly) in the first place undertake to draw an I; because almost all the other letters are formed after this letter, although always something has to be added to it or taken away.
First make your I of equal squares, of which three are properly set one over the other; and the top of the top one, and the bottom of the bottom one, divide in two points, that is to say, into three equal parts: then set a square equal to the others in an oblique manner, so that its diagonal be vertical, and its angle on the first point of the top square. In this way, this oblique square shall extend with its angles more to the left than the right. Then produce upwards on either side, after the width of the superposed squares, right lines to meet the sides of the oblique set square. Next do below precisely as you did above, except that you must set the angle of the oblique square on the second point, that is, the one farthest to the right in the bottom of the lowest square; and let fall your lines on either side upon the transposed square: so will I be perfect; only above it draw with a fine pen a tiny in-crescent. Continue reading ““Directions for the Construction of the Text” — Albrecht Dürer”
“Hollow” by Breece D’J Pancake
Hunched on his knees in front of the three-foot coal seam, Buddy was lost in the back-and-forth rhythm of the truck mine’s relay: the glitter of coal and sandstone in his cap light, the setting and lifting and pouring into the cart that carried the stuff to the mouth of the mine. This was nothing like shaft mining, no deep tunnels or up-and-down man-trips, only the setting, lifting, pouring, only the rumbling of the relay cart and the light-flash from caps in the relay. In the pace of work, he daydreamed his father lowering him into the cistern: many summers ago he touched the cool tile walls, felt the moist air from the water below, heard the pulley squeak in the circle of blue above. The tin of the well-pail buckled under his tiny feet, and he began to cry. His father hauled him up. “That’s the way we do it,” he said, laughing, and carried Buddy to the house.
But that came before everything; before they moved from the ridge, before the big mine closed, before welfare. Now, at the far end of the relay, the men were quiet, and Buddy wondered if they thought of stupid things. From where he squatted he could see the gray grin of light at the mouth of the truck mine, the March wind spraying dust into little clouds. The half-ton relay cart was full now, and the last man in the relay shoved it toward the chute at the mine-mouth on two-by-four tracks.
“Take a break” came from the opening, and as he set his shovel aside to rise from where he knelt at the coal face, Buddy saw his cousin Curtis start through the mine-mouth. Curtis was dragging a poplar post behind him as he crawled past the relay cart toward the face. Buddy watched while Curtis worked the post upright from the floor to catch the weight of the ceiling. It was too short, and Curtis hammered wedges in to tighten the fit.
“Got it?” Buddy asked.
“Hell no, but she looks real pretty.”
Continue reading ““Hollow” — Breece D’J Pancake”