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The Printer's Slump

The printing blues I have felt for almost a year didn't take hold right as the pandemic hit. Rather it was like a slow burn. When things 'got crazy' many lives and occupations shifted, we altered or obliterated as people knew them.

I wasn't afforded with a ton of extra time or anything like many people were in the beginning of the pandemic. And this isn't a complaint - it's a comparison. I'm grateful I was able to keep my job and resume a life that was not incredibly different than pre-pandemic times.

But the grind of the the daily hum drum slowly tap-tapped at me. My day job and toddler had continued demands of their own. As a printer who schedules jobs when my daughter sleeps - be it a nap during the weekdays or after the night time routine has commenced - the time and drive continuously work against me. But I have managed for a couple of years so I can't say the burnout of those parameters and exceptions were the issue since I didn't have issues finding time and the desire to print.

But as time marched on in the way it does and the pandemic became serious - at least to those who thought to take it seriously - my lack of drive for personal printing as well as incoming custom printing jobs waned. In some ways it was a relief since finding the time was always tricky.

It's funny because in 2020 we watched social media feeds detail nefound inspiration from all corners of your friends and followers. Some learned to bake bread - others covered their surfaces and walls with succulents and talked sweet nothings to them as they met time with balance. And we all know the good times don't last long. Discovering quick inspiration vs. finding that a craft is buried in your soul waiting to be discovered are different things entirely. A sparkler on the fouth of July vs. the coals of an overnight pit bbq fire.

One of the first things I remember doing when the shit hit the fan was to find out which of my local liquor stores offered curbside and downloaded the Drizly app which probably algorithm'd my way into my social media feeds. But that socially acceptable newfound discovery for drinking away the pandemic wasn't anything novel to me, and that quickly passed since at first not only did money seem to be even more scarce, so did other things. Not that I have drank away a pandemic. I have crested that part of my life and even I was tired of myself for thinking that would help.

Days blurred together and still do almost 14 months later. And in that time since early March the darkness that enveloped our country in both the pandemic and with it's related bastard uncle (Uncle Sam)  things dulled in my creative world. And continued to do so for a long time until I wondered, if after 10 years, I might be losing my drive to print. A thing that I considered to be in my blood was being filtered out of my viscous Red 032 blood and into the blankness.

If I'm not a printer, what then? The identity crisis lurked. I also stopped playing and learning guitar - another sign that things, not unlike succulents, didn't need that much care before now required a forced amount of care to maintain. But for what?

It was a long winter with the presses barely spinning, but they have now - in late April 2021 - started getting inked again. With a few custom jobs happening and some personal projects like printing for the APA and also greeting cards, I feel like I'm back and out of the slump. I was worried for a while. What does one do with 10 years of printing knowledge and equipment. If that part of you withers, what's left and what's next. If nothing interesting to offer or do  - I just can't.

And luckily I don't have to.

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