Back in March of 2020, I posted to the home page letting site visitors know that as a home-based business, Fantastic Realities Studio Would remain in operation. As I am fond of pointing out, so long as we have a roof, power, and remain connected to the ‘Net, we can work and continue to serve our client’s graphics and design needs. We’ve the capability to conduct meetings online via Facetime, Google Hangouts, or Zoom. A lot of skill sets and technologies that I had put in the “that’s interesting. I should check it out sometime,” suddenly fell into the “I need to learn this stuff right the heck now!”
I suggested that people “hunker down, take care of yourselves, stay safe, care for each other. Please take all appropriate health precautions and practice good hygiene and steps to prevent illness as recommended by the CDC. We‘ll get through this!” I had assignments, things to study, household chores and projects, and doing some live streaming. There was food in the pantry, and our pretty little rural mountain town was not a hot spot. We were good. It’s Spring. But that was in early may of 2020…
As a home based self-employed Creative Pro, I’M “officially” working – but most of the people I work FOR were closed, off the radar, or just no longer will have the resources for discretionary design projects. Almost no new assignments had come in, and it’s been radio silence from most of my clients. That’s raised the eyebrow. Just a bit.
I have rather resented even CONSIDERING the idea that I might be facing involuntary retirement. At Sixty-Two I am a grizzled and battle scarred veteran of the Desktop Publishing wars. Entered the biz in 1980 B.C. – Before Computers!
I know that the other side of this thing is going to look different from before. No idea what that shape will be. I remember that two consecutive years like 2008 – and I’d have been driving a school bus. This is arguably worse. School buses in most of the nation are sitting idle till at least the fall (of 2021!. I hope most of my peeps, overwhelmingly small businesses and organizations, are still sanding when we get there.
And fast forward…
This sat in the “drafts” queue for about a year as I got distracted by the day to day details of coping and being, “In The Box,” leaving the house only for groceries and a few distanced outdoor events. Thankfully as a self-employed professional, I already work from home! In the intervening time, as it turned out some of my clients have indeed closed their doors, other took their art chores in-house to save money. some are deferring graphics projects or have been observing radio silence. Even one of my long tine vendors has dropped off the radar. One of the reminders that our economy – especially the post 2008 “recovery” – was a rather fragile, and a profoundly unequal thing going onto the crisis.
But now vaccines are being distributed and there seems to be a light at the end of a long exhausting tunnel. I, and my entire household have been vaccinated and we are cautiously re-emerging along with our local community. The CDC recently announced New Guidelines lifting most masking restrictions for fully vaccinated people. Things are looking up out there.
Of course we’re not done yet. There is a sizable population in America resisting vaccination and that leaves vulnerabilities, and may keep us from reaching herd immunity. I understand part of it as the big Pharmaceutical companies and our Political Class have given us all more than good reason to not fully trust them. As a nation, we managed to turn a public health crisis into yet another political divide, worsening and prolonging the ciris. Meanwhile in India, a new mutant strain of the virus is ripping though that country causing tremendous suffering, and its starting to spread into the region and further. One of my concerns, with the world acting as a massive petri dish, eventually the virus could mutate into something truly virulent and savage. It’s essentially a race between the virus and vaccination at a global scale.
Yes “normal” is going to have to be a bit different. But things do look more encouraging than this time last year. Hang in there everyone. We’re still standing, I hope all of you are too.
– Kurt Griffith, May 2020