Life with Arial

I see life clearly in Arial twelve point, when I am typing. My mother says it is too basic a font, unrefined and rather ambiguous. But I see it as straightforward, smooth and undemanding, generously allowing me get on with what I want to write, rather than having to work through the sweep of clever lines and blocking corners. Times New Roman, for example, feels quite alien to me and rather overblown. Since everyone chooses to use it, it seems to have become rather full of itself.

Perhaps my preference for the Arial typeface merely reflects the differences between my mother and me. While I enjoy a challenge, at times I can find myself too easily unbalanced and overthrown; I need to be able to see where I am plotting my path, well in advance and with no nasty surprises. Keeping going can be a rather tedious, short sighted sort of preoccupation, so that the last thing I need is life with extra knobs on. My mother, on the other hand, seems to be able to dismiss complexity easily. “Darling, it’s nothing I haven’t seen before.” It makes me smile, broadly, but I keep my loyalty to Arial. Besides, Arial sounds like its brother, the Archangel Ariel, whereas Times New Roman sounds like an oppressive, imperialist stride.

Before long, I’m going to start narrating for the audio copy of my first book, which is being published on 4th March. I’ve never done anything like that before, but it will get me out of the house, make me work, and focus my mind on producing a good sound. When I write, I like to talk through my work anyway, which I hope has been good practice for what happens next. In a sound-proof booth I shall be speaking into a mike, a sound engineer working with me just beyond the glass. Hopefully, just me and her. (I was going to say “him” but I threw that in there just as a little surprise.)

I’ve been busy preparing an audio script, double spaced, lots of room to remind me to slow down, and in twelve point Arial, which will feel familiar and soothing. I like the thought of an angel with me, when I am speaking aloud the most intimate details I have ever shared – an unusually emotional challenge. It is easy to write confessional material late at night in the privacy of home. But speaking it aloud, how will that feel?

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