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This was a great thing to read on a Monday: “How I See Words in My Head” by Douglas Coupland.

This essay got me asking myself if I am a visual person or not. I love words and how they fit together to make sentences, and I get quite a charge when I can write something that I feel is effective. I saw Trumbo on Friday, and his sculpting of words was inspiring. But I also love letter forms, fonts, kerning, leading, and all the things about words and letters that comprise a visual element.

I want to be a visual thinker. I think it’s admirable. But am I such? I love design but am not as good at it as I’d like to be. I’m not as good a writer as I’d like to be, either. Would I become better at both with practice, or would I become better at one and not much better at the other? Can a person be stuck in between? Can I be so egotistical as to assume I’m someone who can straddle the fence?

I think that an inevitable and necessary step for written culture over the next few decades is going to be the introduction of a détente between the visual and literary worlds—at the very least, an agreement to agree that they’re not mutually exclusive and that each feeds the other.

Maybe it is possible to be a little of both. I do know one thing, and that’s I don’t know what font I see in my head when I think of a word. I think it depends on the word itself. I’ll see “icon” in a different font than I would “fleuve.”Does that make me a non-visual thinker? Or a visual thinker who takes the literary into account?

I am who I am, and I really don’t need to define it. I just wonder if I’m in for some surprising revelation, like the one Douglas received during the interview, were I to think about it in any seriousness.

(Found via Daring Fireball, of course.)

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