Week 1: walking & talking, the teaching dilemma, meticulous tasks

Inspired by Ankur, I have decided to write short notes about my work every week. I still have misgivings about doing this (publicly), but no more squandering away my time wallowing in doubt. Instead, I am jumping in headfirst.

Among the many reasons I love leading type walks (I did one this past weekend) is that it takes me out of my comfort zone. There is a physicality to it, a sense of performance, that I both enjoy and dread. I find it hard enough to navigate crowded public spaces alone, doing it with a group of people, ranging from a dozen to three, needs a lot more spatial awareness than I’m used to having. I am still not very good at very gathering people at strategic spots so I can show them things and talk in the most effective way. Paharganj, where I have been doing walks for a year, is so overwhelming and ever-changing that no amount of planning leads to what I want to do. At Nicholson Cemetery, I think I was so happy at the amount of open space and quiet we had, that I became lax about positioning myself properly within the group and projecting my voice. These type walks have been a steep learning curve, and I find myself needing to learn skills I have never paid much attention to.

This year I took a conscious break from teaching. Last year I taught different versions of the same short, basic type design course at three different design schools, and by the end of it all I was incredibly exhausted. I also needed a bit of time to introspect and think about what I had been teaching, why and how. The only teaching-related thing I have done is be a part of a jury to give feedback to first-year social design students. I was pretty nervous about it – it was my first time – and arguably I prepared more for this jury than I did for some juries when I was a student. I had hoped that being in that space would help me make my mind up about when and how I want to get back to teaching, or at least nudge me in the right direction. It didn’t. Anyway, I met Rasagy yesterday. We got talking about our experiences with teaching, and how confused we feel about it. It made me realize that I haven’t given the subject half as much thought as I should if I want to make any kind of decision soon.

I love doing a few different kinds of work at any time because I think it makes me both more happy and productive. The option of going back and forth between different scales of thinking, drawing type and writing, screen-time and anything else is what makes the work week interesting. Unfortunately, last week was an unholy mixture of meticulous kerning, typesetting and testing that left me very irritable and feeling overworked. I expect this week to be only slightly better. How can the year-end holidays not be here yet?