school. She refused to sign the nal adoption papers. She only relented a few months
later when my parents promised that I would someday go to college.
And 17 years later I did go to college. But I naively chose a college that was almost as
expensive as Stanford, and all of my working-class parents' savings were being spent
on my college tuition. After six months, I couldn't see the value in it. I had no idea what I
wanted to do with my life and no idea how college was going to help me gure it out.
And here I was spending all of the money my parents had saved their entire life. So I
decided to drop out and trust that it would all work out OK. It was pretty scary at the time,
but looking back it was one of the best decisions I ever made. The minute I dropped out I
could stop taking the required classes that didn't interest me, and begin dropping in on
the ones that looked interesting.
It wasn't all romantic. I didn't have a dorm room, so I slept on the oor in friends'
rooms, I returned coke bottles for the 5¢ deposits to buy food with, and I would walk
the 7 miles across town every Sunday night to get one good meal a week at the Hare
Krishna temple. I loved it. And much of what I stumbled into by following my curiosity and
intuition turned out to be priceless later on. Let me give you one example:
Reed College at that time oered perhaps the best calligraphy instruction in the country.
Throughout the campus every poster, every label on every drawer, was beautifully hand
calligraphed. Because I had dropped out and didn't have to take the normal classes, I
decided to take a calligraphy class to learn how to do this. I learned about serif and san
serif typefaces, about varying the amount of space between dierent letter
combinations, about what makes great typography great. It was beautiful, historical,
artistically subtle in a way that science can't capture, and I found it fascinating.
the art of producing decorative
handwritten lettering with a pen
style of typeface with decorative
lines on the letters (e.g., Times)
style of typeface with simple lines
the style and appearance of
printed matter; the art of arranging