The spring of my discontent Dreamed 5236 days ago | | 928 words

I am over this.
this job
this city
this life
this circle
this spiral

I am ready to get out. I am ready to move on. I am ready to leave this bullshit behind and really start doing what I feel I was meant to do. Design. Life. Feel. Again…

Richmond is like a coma. It has held me up and held me in for far too long. Was I ever meant for college? Maybe, maybe not? Did I really get anything from it I could not have gotten another way? I mean besides the multi-thousand dollar piece of paper that’s sitting on a box somewhere.

Advertising program? Mostly a joke. It didn’t give me what I needed to know, just how to sell more shit to people who don’t really want or need it. Hell, that’s what the industry is. I want to learn how to use design to better people and to empower. I want to change things thought design, good design. Not sell shit.

I miss the newspaper. I miss the people I worked with, the challenges it presented. I miss writing for the paper, even though most people never knew I wrote for it. I wrote a Q&A column every issue for a year and a half. I even had an entire page to myself for semester, or maybe it was a year, the semesters all run together in my head now. It felt great to be writing and designing my own page of each paper, in addition to laying out the rest of it.

Though I feel we never reached our potential there. I never reached my potential there. We were on a sinking ship. Going down fast. The Executive Editor and I were trying to keep the paper together and afloat, performing everything from writing to distributing the thing.

I remember the morning I met the person at 6am who came to get the paper from the shed where we left it to take to Hopewell and print, then return the printed papers to the shed.

I’m probably the first person to do that, and the only one.

Working 10am – 6am is hard on your body, and your mind. Most days I was there until 2-4 am and starting between 9 and 10am. Thankfully it was only two days per week, but those were l-o-o-o-ng days. But fulfilling ones (for the most part). There is nothing better than holding a newspaper in your hand and saying, “I made this!” and for me as the production chief (design monkey) it was the truth.

It was only after I left that a staff was in place to further the paper along, originally under my guidance, but I cracked. I lost faith in myself. I was a refugee from past years. I felt old and out of place. I couldn’t do it, so I didn’t. I folded. I left. I gave it up, all of it. The paper, the editorship, the web site, all of it, I gave up. Do I regret it? Part of it yes. I miss the paper and the people, putting it together. I don’t miss not having a cover story due hours ago from a writer that swore up and down it was be in on time.

(Lesson to any writer’s at college or high school publications: Love Thy Designer! It is he/she who decides how your article gets shown to the world. There were many nights we cut stories because they were too long or too short than assigned and promised by the reporter. The people who were reliable, I took more care to see there stories looked good and got a better placement. The people who were always late, didn’t get their stories in at all or just generally inconsiderate to my time and the paper’s rules got their stories on pages with lots of ads and usually no art. Which many times can be the death knell of a story. Overlooked and discarded).

So many times I was lied to by writers who promised to get their stories in on time. I resorted to late night (and I mean late night, like 2am) calls to their apartments and houses asking where their story was, or where the photos for their story were I was assured hours before were in and ready for me to place in the paper.

They weren’t so pleased, but neither was I, sitting up at all hours waiting for them to come through. I viewed it as a respect thing. If you don’t respect the paper or me enough to do your job, then I will show you the same lack of respect and call you up at all hours. I told them to when they left if something was missing, they would be getting a call from me. I think many of them did not believe me, they learned very quickly.

You have very little patience for tales and excuses when you’ve been staring at a computer screen in a closet inside a closet for 12+ hours.

7-11 must have loved me. I think I spent most of the $150 or so I made a week up there, every week on caffeine and food. A couple days I ate all three meals there. Needless to say, I have a fondness for certain 7-11 foods that never get old, and some things, I wish to never, ever see again.

We knew the employees there by name and they knew us, the frazzled, sleepy group that would wander in every couple hours for refreshments and sometimes just to clear our heads and get out of the office.

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