A letter is a map,
an anciently originated succession of markings,
a thought cartography,
story in a story.
Flow on, in, through —
a sequential tabulature:
the message drawn,
the story told.
The letter is a portal
to another way of seeing.
Look at a letter, a string of letters in a worded construction,
and the reader goes from one place,
to another place.
Might be good to define magic.
It could be suggested that the inherent character of magic is transportive, it moves comprehension from one plane to another. An observer of something magical is transported from one realm to another, or perceives another plane in addition to that which might be commonly accessible to others. Magic, aside from the coin disappearances and card twirling, could be expressed as a perceptive movement — things cross consciousness. Entities appear. Forces engage and transform circumstances. In what you see and know, the magical translation moves to a different pacing – a surprise engenders transposition of understanding. Magic and creativity are intertwined, since in the qualities of translation of circumstance and perception are interwoven to generate wholly new ways of seeing things.
In a matter of definition, the experiencer is transformed.
Comprehension is transported.
And comprehension, to prehend, is to hold.
What, in your journey, do you hold?
Apple noted this in their first-time positioning
of the iPad, with Peter Coyote’s voiceover.
“A magical and revolutionary device at an unbelievable price.” (2010)
The conventional wisdom presupposes that magic is “the power of apparently influencing the course of events by using mysterious or supernatural powers.”
Mostly since “I believe,” as the song goes, “in magic,” and the making of it.
Could a letter be magic? That legacy is about 5,000+ years old. And this is, by no means, linked solely to western culture. The idea of the alphabet and the phrasing of magical symbolism,
spell-binding and biding, protection and
the warding-off of evil are
traditions that extend, in Asia, even to this day.
Very early in my career,
the idea that the alphabet written
has this innate power might be expanded upon
as a positioning — one, a letter drawn is reflective, it’s drawn from the mind and is seen and understood by the mind. What that letter means is a deepening of that impression. Draw the word, the lettering string. Read that word, and you’re carried somewhere, held, transfixed, spellbound in the story.
Two, there is deep magic in their legacy, gathered from the stars and nature,
the scribed demarcations of a reach
to a higher potential, clarity, relating,
and that carrying away,
the content held in memory.
Add details, color, the form and shaping of the mix of content between the letter and its meaning and that migration is all the more powerful.
Hence, in 1977,
in a commission from Robin & Heidi Rickabaugh
in a series of creative collaborations at Rainbow magazine, created, designed and published by their partnership, I drew out a magical comparison between the idea of a letter, a word, and how they might be made to shine in one grand gesture, called
“The Rainbow Garden of Herbs.”
In that craft, bewitched or otherwise, I drew that entire broadside as a new experience [for me] of combining that inspiration of the drawing of ideas, words themselves, and inter-leaving them as a layering of content — all rendered freehand on one vast sheet of handmade paper — an interpretation of one, nestled to another, as a garden whole. I mixed my own pigments, stirred-in gums and water and rendered that as a lustration, a shining, an illustration.
For me, it was a magic moment,
for I’d long believed in
the idea of a word,
could have power.
The Stop Sign.
Pass With Care.
Sure, these are signs,
but they hold a layering of meanings that go beyond the mere glance.
Stop, which might be defined as a magical word of holding and protection [in fact, many protective phrases and incantations essentially begin with stop.]
While one might not define
such a simple message as anything mysterious or supernatural —
but the power of it is realistic enough — message and design, combined,
translates content from one plane to another point of perception
creates a new string of insights.
As with everything,
there is a message
inside the message.
There is a code,
in the draft of a letter, that is
deeper that the line alone:
A demon entrapment bowl,
with written incantation,
for protecting home and family
NIPPUR [400-700 AD]
And as we all know,
it’s never just the facts,
it’s the story, the practice,
that you believe in,
magic or not.
Even an herb
can have import.
TIM | Portland, OR
The Strategy of Holism | Emotionality
and Design Engineering
the world of work: