Monday, July 12, 2010

Déjà Vu

It happened again. I was in the middle of my presentation at our Nuts & Bolts Conference and I got to our magazine cover slides and had to pause in front of Issue 13, stand back and regain my composure. I thought I'd gotten past it, I thought the sadness had left. For those of you who don't subscribe to or purchase 3x3 on the newsstand you missed my editorial in Issue 14 so if you were at our conference or have heard about what happened let me explain.

As the new year arrived I was optimistic; even with the bad economy I was looking forward to 2010, but it all changed with the death of Nick Dewar at the end of January. It hit me hard. Here was someone I barely knew, only through our emails and the article that Brian Rea submitted last issue and of course by the work that I have admired since starting this magazine. Nick was special. And the loss at such a young age is tragic.

The thought of dying never occurred to me in my twenties or thirties, I was spared from any tragedy but as I grew older I began losing people I cared about, people who had made an impact on my life. My mentor and boss in a tragic boating accident; my copywriter partner, mother of four, from a mysterious illness; my marketing director who battled most of his adult life with an arterial disease that had taken his leg. All died suddenly. A couple of them I hadn’t spoken to in years, yet with all of them the grieving process took weeks sometimes months to go through.

When I learned that an insidious rampant leukemia took Nick’s life, the loss somehow paralysed me. Fear took over, not a fear of death but of life—I was wracked by sudden doubts about the future. Optimism turns to pessimism. The what-ifs began. Would anyone enter this year’s show? How many people would continue to support the magazine in this economic climate? Could we sustain two magazines and our annuals? Would we have to lay-off people? Fear of the unknown can cripple creativity and bring everything to a halt. Conquering the what-ifs is tougher than facing the what-is.

I’ve been fearful many times in my life, there were times when I’ve been unemployed for months at a time, there have been divorces that took their toll emotionally, physically and financially and yet I survived and many times thrived as a result of these debilitating occurrences. It’s been like déjà vu these past several months, but as always the practice of moving forward without looking back can counter the what-ifs of life. That and a bit of luck. People did enter—more entries from more places than ever before. First quarter subscriptions are up. We added an intern. The issue is out. Life—is—good.

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