Last week, I had the privilege of meeting Brian Allen, a local letterpress artisan. His studio was a paper-lover’s dreamworld.

Hipsters worldwide, wipe that drool off your lip! Yes, this is real, actual Helvetica!

Hipsters worldwide, wipe that drool off your lip! Yes, this is real, actual Helvetica!

Besides the obvious exponential leap in street cred I gained by getting to hold Helvetica (I know!), I was immersed in my very favorite sort of decision: which paper to choose? And, oh, the lore! Brian prints with a genuine 1850s cast iron letterpress. While he was showing me the process and we talked papers and inks and logos — I’ll get back to the logos in a moment — he explained the printerly provenance of upper and lower case and the phrase, “out of sorts.” To all this besides, he has massive talent and also many books filled with paper samples, letterpress and logo designs, and oh, it was just glory!

Artisan printer Brian Allen's c. 1850s press.

Artisan printer Brian Allen’s c. 1850s press.

Now, before you start to wonder if I’m moving to Portland and growing a beard and having my next book printed in a truly authentic way, I will tell you why I was there. My next book, Tea and Crumples, is set in a tea and stationery shop of the same name. We won’t finalize the logo till the end of the month, but suffice it to say: 1. It’s gorgeous; 2. Custom stationery was called for. Brian Allen will print the custom letterpress stationery for the store, so that each note card will be a true work of art! {Go check out Brian Allen’s work!}

My adorable son Pip pointing out my books on display at Barnes and Noble! "Can't Buy Me Love?  What does that mean anyway?" Hint: the heroine is a freegan.

My adorable son Pip pointing out my books on display at Barnes and Noble! “Can’t Buy Me Love? What does that mean anyway?” Hint: the heroine is a freegan.

But before you go off to dream your letterpress love story, there’s news about my first book, Can’t Buy Me Love! I will be reading and signing copies this Thursday, August 15 at 7:30pm at the Southpoint Barnes and Noble in Durham, NC. Come out to meet me if you’re in the area. I would love to sign your book! Bonus: a very reliable source has hinted that there may be a small amount of opera singing tossed into the reading. Hope to see you there!