For most of my writing life, I haven’t particularly thought about letters. At least not much in an individual sense, and certainly not about how many there were or if I might run out. A stroke of the pen or a tap of the key and there it would be, an a or i or b, d, p, whatever, there to use freely. But working in letterpressland makes one very aware of each letter. And that they are not in infinite supply. And some are more finite than others. Sometimes there’s a workaround, sometimes you go to a different type face.
And sometimes, when you run out of letters, you work with it:
“The weirdest thing is, that when I ran out of ds and ts this time I started adjusting the poem to make it work, and then came home and adjusted those adjustments, then changed em again after a session with Mr. Webster at the shop today, and danged if it isn’t a way better-crafted thing.
Now I know: deprivation and constriction do have their up sides.” ~Lyn Dillin
Or from the “Keep it Wonky” Studio, where they’ve gotten most of their type faces from junk shops: “We don’t have full sets of all the letters of the alphabet, so what we write is dictated by that. It can be frustrating but ultimately it makes us more creative.”