Cracking Our Thinking Open Wider

Some, though not all books have it.

You’ll find it at the very end, long after the book text is done, after Acknowledgments and the Author’s Note on names being changed or events being merged, after About the Author and her degrees or that he lives by a small pond with his big dog, Matilda.

It is the colophon: About the Type.

The colophon is a handful of paragraphs, no more. This book was set in Linotype or Bembo or Scotch, it says. Then, a bit about the history: Opinions differ on its genesis or It was first cut in Italy by printer Giambattista Bodoni. And some identifying characteristics: well-proportioned letterforms, square serifs, sturdy Dutch type.

I have a quiet love for the colophon. It reminds me of the things I don’t think about. I think about the words themselves, not the font they’re dressed in. But somebody does think about this. Without font, there are no words to read.

In our daily comings and goings, there’s much we use that we don’t think about. There’s wisdom to that; we can’t overburden our minds. But often, it’s not burdensome, only enriching to open up our thinking. To wonder about who cleaned the room we’re meeting in or picked the cherries we’re eating, how it came to be that red signals stop and yellow signals caution, why “left” means departed (the dog left) and remaining (there’s one eggplant left).

Our thinking shapes our living. And I’m all for the colophons, questions, curiosities that crack our thinking open wider so our living can do the same.

The Lightning Notes is funded by kind donors. If something here strikes you, I'd be grateful if you'd consider donating. Click to Donate!