This is about speed, and also the lack of that

Who is this man, and why does he look carefully calibrated to be satisfied, but not so much that you’d think him smug?

The answer will be found in a 75 year old book. And also in the book section of the site, where we formally meet the man, the myth, the legend. You can see more of that particular book here. Then, please do look at some of the other books I’ve highlighted.

Speed typing champion. Who knew there was such a thing? He’s doing that on a manual typewriter, of course, and that’s very fast. On my computer, just now, I took a typing test and hit 96 words per minute. That’s faster than the average typist, the site assured me, but still rather pedestrian compared to Mr. Hossfield. And I imagine any given modern computer can have its keyboard operated faster than a classic typewriter.

Sometimes his name is spelled Hossfeld. Whichever way he spelled his family name, I like to think the typo really annoyed him.

This evening I hung a shelf. This involved a hammer, a few nails and a few more holes. Also, there was one exasperated sigh. But I put a shelf up. Now, this part isn’t the amazing part. I am no expert, but I can claim a fair mastery of the common hammer and both of its two main uses. What’s most interesting about this is that I just eyeballed it. There are empty walls and stacks of things to hang because this is a process that takes time.

Too much time, truth be told. There must be ideas, considered, forgotten, reapplied and philosophized about. Sometimes, if the first 14 stages of the process are successful, the frame sits at the base of the wall for a time, for further in-depth consideration.

Then, and only then, if you find the right item for the right patch of wall, you have to measure everything. There’s the distance from the left corner — this one most come first for some reason I don’t understand — and then from the right side. Equidistance must be preserved, or if further displays are warranted, steps must be taken to allow for an appropriate spatial relationship of multiple framed works. Then you have to figure out the height. Of course we’re not going to solve the timeless dilemma of what is truly eye level, but that’s running through your mind when you hang things. Also, does this thing need to be mounted in a stud? And is this nail the right weight?

Hanging thigs is a process, is what I’m saying.

Tonight, I just said Looks about right, and started driving nails. It was a powerful and carefree feeling. Not so much a smugness, but a satisfaction.

And then I looked beyond the window, to the other side of the room. The same wall. The asymmetrical, blank wall.

This is going to take a while.

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