Thursday, August 18, 2011


For fans of David Hockney, you may know of an incredible "alphabet" book he illustrated in 1991 as a fundraising project for the AIDS Crisis Trust. Twenty-six well-known writers were asked to consider each letter of the alphabet and submit essays, poems, short stories, etc. in response to their assigned letter. My favorite came from Norman Mailer (who recently won the Literary Review's Bad Sex in Fiction Award for something else) for the letter F.

Mailer basically cops out of the project by sending a letter back to David's editor, which is then printed as Mailer's submission. It's quite funny and he coins the term "the fonts of Fucking," which made me wonder if there isn't a typesetter out there considering the best fonts for erotic fiction. I'm imagining a seductive, almost scripty, serif that sows seeds into the soil as it reads along the page, but I digress. If you haven't seen this book, find it. Julian Barnes and the letter "U" is my second sinister that word "unless."

Oh and if you don't know who David Hockney is, you might recognize one of the models that appears moderately naked in many of his paintings as his mentee/muse, Ian Falconer, well known for his New Yorker illustrations and the famous children's book character, Olivia (the Drag Bio-Queen Pig)...ah, the small uber-gay world of publishing.

1 comment:

  1. Speaking of a font of fucking as a serif that sows seeds into the soil-- I once was told at a party full of over-educated people (self included) that the original Old English meaning of the verb "to fuck" was to sow a field by using a long stick to poke a hole in the ground and then dropping a seed inside. I don't know if it's true or not, but I find the connotations delightfully rich. Ever since, fuck has been one of my favorite words.