Week 9 and 10 – Looking back, looking ahead

Week 9 and 10 – Looking back, looking ahead

Austin Kleon’s Tuesday newsletter linked to this article by Helena Fitzgerald in The Atlantic; an ode to “Dead Week”, the final week of the year, nestled between the Christmas holidays and New Year’s, a week outside of life’s daily rhythm, when nothing really matters – “a time when nothing counts, and nothing is quite real”. I recommend the entire article, it’s short and perfectly encapsulates what these days feel like for many people – certainly what it feels like for me.

I got Covid around 12th December, and it took a week to just get through it. The week before Christmas, I dragged myself to my desk area to “work” for two and a half days, and on Thursday before Christmas I took the train home. I spent two days with my mum and stepdad before my stepdad tested positive on the 24th (Merry Christmas!) and my boyfriend came to pick me up, along with a huge bag of food. Since then we’ve been at home, eating, resting, dusting off our brains to make space for projects we didn’t get round to thinking about before.
As I write this first draft of this entry it’s the morning of the 29th – the first morning I haven’t woken up with a headache since the 12th. The rest of this week will bring a little work, a few creative projects, and socialising with my boyfriend’s family. Who knows, I might even go outside on New Year’s Eve and socialise with people.

2022 was a really busy year for me. I moved in with my partner, giving up a flat I loved and my cherished solitude with it. I quit a job that was draining me of my life force and started one that takes much less, and have had to re-learn what it’s like to not live for work. It created the headspace that allowed me to think about my graphic design aspirations, and to start working towards them. I’ve written a lot of fiction and the odd blog post (hello!). I’ve spent time with friends and family.
Altogether, it’s been a really, really good year. These 3 weeks of (forced) rest have recharged me in ways I wouldn’t have expected and are the perfect ending to an eventful 12 months, and the perfect time to prepare for the next year.

I have a number of intentions and goals for 2023, first of all of course to keep going here and to keep learning and improving my work (and producing way more of it!). I have my first commission going already, and hope to be able to post about it in the spring.

Design progress

  • I’m slowly making my way through an advanced Illustrator class. It only occurred to me the other day, but Illustrator is different from, say, Photoshop or InDesign in that it requires you to get a feel for its tools. With the other two programmes, knowing what is where already gets you very far, and if you don’t know something, one of the thousands of tutorials will get you there. That doesn’t work with the Width tool. I don’t know how often I’ve used it, but we’re still enemies. It feel like both a welcome challenge and an annoying delay of my process. But it’s worth it, because:
  • I have my first commission! A friend has commissioned a logo from me, so I’ve been making sketches and coming up with ideas, and just sent over the first drafts to her. Naturally I have no clue what I’m doing, but I learn best by doing, even if it’ll take a while. I hope to write about it when it’s done.
  • I’m also working on a set of business cards for another friend, to be done in January.
  • And a logo for my boyfriend’s freelance invoices.

I’ve been reading

Almost exclusively The Discovery of Heaven by Harry Mulisch. It’s a 900-page beast (in German), a 1990s Dutch novel about, uhm, Creation, and Heaven’s plan to return the Ten Commandments via that one special human being. It’s hard to put into words something that is so all-encompassing and much, much smarter than me, but if you don’t have the time for 900 pages (although I highly recommend), there’s a 2001 movie with Stephen Fry and Greg Wise. I saw that movie in my teens during my Stephen Fry phase and have been trying to read the book ever since; at last, I have accomplished it.

Other things I’m into

  • Life Is Strange is on sale on pretty much every platform right now, so I bought myself the Arcadia Bay Collection. It feels like a blast from the past, a game I thoroughly enjoyed watching when it came out in 2015, and now I’m playing it for the first time. I did this after downloading the DLC “Wavelengths” for Life Is Strange 3 and didn’t want to leave that world. I forgot how much I dislike Chloe, but the rest of the game makes up for her with its atmosphere and attention to detail.
  • I regret to inform you that I’ve been caught up in the Notion craze at last. There’s too much going on for my little brain to hold it all in, so an organisation system was needed, and I’m now keeping track of my 2023 goals, my general to do list, my graphic design projects and (hopefully soon) my reading on Notion. What can I say, it is indeed awesome.

If you’re reading this, I wish you a happy new year 2023. May it bring good things only.