Writers are odd birds. Some of us are snobby. Most of us need excessive amounts of coffee and cigarettes to survive. And all of us take great pride in what we do. Some of my favorite memories from my former life revolve around fighting with my editor and trying to get the man not to change my lede. It's the whole "writing for the audience" thing that took me the most time to get used to.
Even for a tried-and-true seeker like myself, I knew eight months ago I would have to change. The days of just being a writer are over and if you are, odds are you're working in some ramshackle bungalow on an island named after a great chief that liked orange soda. Sorry for the Joe vs the Volcano reference.
Anyway, in January, I decided to forgo that flat screen T.V. (not fun) and buy the entire Adobe Creative Suite, or as industry insiders like to call it, CS4. I dabbled in InDesign before and I'd heard of Photoshop, but I knew when I eventually got up for work again someday, I'd need those skills. My girlfriend hurls phrases around like "improving your skill set" and "being the total package" and when we're not arguing about which part of Vermont we'd like to visit or how chunky her marinara sauce is, I tend to think she's right.
Fast forward to today and although I am not a Jedi yet, I can design a pretty mean newsletter. It might not come close to that of the great graphic designers of Christmas past, and sure, I want to vomit pea soup at the mere mention of an "alpha channel," but it's cool. It's safe to say that when the rest of humanity was drinking low grade lager on a dock this summer, I was in a room learning how to add a color to a box and kern the letters of a headline.
I also deserve a medal for being able to hold my concentration. Picture this: you're cropping a picture and it's not working. You take a sip from your fourth cup of dark roast and your father comes through the door. He takes out his false teeth - tops and bottoms mind you - and plops them on the desk two feet away and loudly asks "what's for lunch?"
Fighter pilots ain't got nuthin' on me.
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