Monday, January 6, 2014

Snow Day with Francesca

For anyone living in the middle of the country, it's hardly news to say that it's been frigid cold for the past 24 hours or so, and for the next 12, too. The cold moved in after it snowed about a foot, which is plenty for these parts. It gave me flashbacks to the Northern Ohio winters of my youth.

Almost everything in St. Louis was closed today. Various enterprises are opening up late tomorrow morning, to allow the severe cold to blow off. Highs back to the upper 20s Fahrenheit tomorrow, and 30s after that. But temperatures of nine below? Er, no thanks. Still, it's been sort of fun to hunker down; it's prolonged the sense that 2014 hasn't really gotten underway.

I spent much of the day working on a book review of Chip Kidd's GO; A Kidd's Guide to Graphic Design. My take on the project was not unrelievedly positive. When the review appears, I'll point to it. But the book, conceived and designed for young people, reminded me of just such a person...

Last summer I made mention of (and showed a fragment from) a wonderful handmade book sent to me by young Francesca R., the daughter of an old friend. (That friendship feels ancient, in the best sense, though Mike and I are not. Yet.)

I had sent them copies of Spartan Holiday, including extras for Francesca, a budding bookmaker, to tear apart and repurpose.

Her gift was a marvelous thank you.

She's making reference to this spread in Shanghai Pictorial, among other things.

Tonight seems like the ideal moment to share Francesca's story with readers of Graphic Tales. Those of you Out East, receiving our Polar Vortex as it's pushed off your way, bundle up, yo!

Francesca's tale concerns a snowflake, who narrates in the first person.

She and her snowflake have an admirable sense of self-possession. And she is dead-on, as any friend of children or connoisseur of snowflakes knows. No one is like her.

No doubt that wonderful sense of herself is traceable to her warm home and loving family.

So put that warm sentiment in your wood-burning stove, rub your hands, and wait this sucker out.

Happy New Year, all!