We’ll be right back!

Yup, there’s been a big interruption in blog posts. There’s been a lot going on. We sustained some heavy losses here at Western Civ World Headquarters: my beloved pets Lizzie and Gus passed on in the last few months (Lord help me, I’m still a mess). Also, I moved from Syracuse, NY back to my house in Franklin, PA and my dad lives with me here now. I’ve been busy making the place accessible for him. I apologize for the lapse. Life happens.

For the past year-and-a half I’d been able to take advantage of the almighty worldwide plague to post regularly. Much of the information had already been researched, so it was kind of easy to crank out paragraphs every weekday morning while we were all locked down.

In the end, though, it’s unhealthy to be glued to one’s desk, writing about stuff I already know.

While reorganizing my work-space I unearthed my library of books that had been in cardboard boxes for a long time. One of my interests is plagues. I own a handful of books about rats and lice and bacilli (I’m a nerd. You know this already). I mention it because these books tell me humankind has been through pandemics dozens of times. We always react the same way: like idiots.

Johns Hopkins released a study this past week that says the lockdown was unproductive and caused more harm than good. It shows that there was little discernible curtailing of COVID by keeping everyone in their homes. I’ll go further than that. The lockdown was a giant squashing of creativity.

There’s a big exciting world out there, but you and I were discouraged—prohibited—from experiencing it. That kept us from growing. How? Well, I used to be a graphic design instructor at Pittsburgh Technical Institute. PTI’s president, Jack McCartan, was fond of saying at faculty meetings that ‘the answers aren’t in here.’ He meant that there’s only so much a teacher can bring to the classroom. You need to go outside the school’s walls to find what you’re looking for. I took that message to heart and helped organize field trips to New York City and Chicago where we met some bigshots of the graphic design world (Seymour Chwast, you guys). Listening to successful designers and art directors, those students got more education in an afternoon than I could ever hope to give them in an entire quarter. To learn, to stretch yourself, you need to go outside.

Gang, get out there and live your lives. Wash your hands, keep your fingers away from your faces, don’t lick any doorknobs. We only get this one life and it’s a pretty short run. Make the most of it.

We’re coming up to the grand finale of The Western Civ User’s Guide to Reading & Writing. Posts will resume soon.

Back to the beginning of The Western Civ User’s Guide to Reading & Writing.

Don’t forget: I wrote another Western Civ User’s Guide! Back to the beginning of The Western Civ User’s Guide to Time & Space.

3 responses to “We’ll be right back!

  1. Thanks for catching us up, John; it has been so quiet from your corner. I knew about the loss of your beloved pups but wondered what was going on in addition. Taking care of aging parents is a huge challenge on so many levels. I know, having been there. If you want to chat, you’ve got my number. Until then I look forward to reading your WC posts!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Ilene—you are a sweetheart. Yes, this senior-care gig is all-consuming! It demands that I be more organized and efficient than I was. I’m reorganizing my studio. Once that’s done, I’ll be able to tackle some billable work. I don’t have the luxury of simply working all day until it’s bedtime. Now I have to work around scheduled mealtimes and laundry and handling my dad’s various needs/requests. We’ll do it! I just may phone you—did you do illustration work while you were a caregiver? I wonder if the Graphic Artists Guild has a support group for freelancers who take care of their elderly parents—if not, maybe I’ll start one!

      Liked by 1 person

      • I hear you, John. I remember wishing I could clone myself to handle everything. We can certainly talk about it. As far as I know, there was no help/ respite care for such situations from GAG but you can ask Fred; he would know more about their inner workings. My situation was different in that my parents lived in LA so in addition to lots of red-eye flying, there were many interstate legal and medical issues to deal with. I could write a novel but would rather not relive everything even though they’ve both been gone for many years.

        Liked by 1 person

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