Friday, August 18, 2006


I flew back from Boston on Monday and have been tied up in work and recovery every since.

First, I need to mention what an amazing thing the world of typography is. Over the past week I have met many wonderful, intelligent, thoughtful and generous people. Typography is a weird combination of working class craft combined with aesthetic vision. It has the mystery of the old-time guild system combined with the solidarity of working class unionism. I have yet to meet a typographer who isn't interested in helping others to achieve their goals. Sometimes I am amazed that I somehow happened upon this craft and thereby have the privilege to meet and interact with such wonderful people.

If I can give even half of what has been given to me, I will be happy.

In that spirit, let me introduce you to Susan Vass. Today, she is a comedienne working as a successful speaker at all kinds of events. But when I met her, she was a typesetter. I was working at Graphtronics, a subsidiary company of Dahl & Curry, for something like $5 an hour. The Typesetters Union sent Susan in to see if she could stir up some organizing activity. She was the one who informed me that union scale for people with my skills was $13 an hour. Inspired by her agitating, I walked into my supervisor's office and demanded a raise. And I got it.

It is things like this that make a profound difference. Never doubt that you can change someone else's life for the better. Susan did so for me. I've done my best to pass it on.