Rivers of white space ---- page two



Wordspacing is important she would say. Don't let it get too gappy, you'll get rivers of white that carry the eye down the page. It's distracting, she said. It's bad typography.

She had just broken up with a woman named Rennie. It was not a clean break--they'd bought a house together and everything. Then Rennie wanted out, demanded her share back so she could split. I heard about it many times. Lou managed to buy out Rennie's half of the house somehow, but she didn't find anyone to take her place.

She was good at layout. A customer wanted help with an invitation to his parents' anniversary. Something simple but unconventional. Something imaginative--his folks were creative types. Lou gave him an idea. She picked out an italic ampersand, Caslon or Baskerville I think, one with flourishes. She shot it under a mezzotint screen and blew it up so it filled half of the image area. She floated his parents' first names on either side. It turned out elegant. He sent a lot more business our way.

The garden went to hell. That had been Rennie's department. Lou tried, she really tried. But the spinach bolted and the lettuce went to seed too early. Slugs devoured the primroses. The peach tree went sick--it dropped all the leaves from its lower limbs and never got them back. Lou got a book out of the library to show her how to prune the rose bushes, but they never did look right again.
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