My vicarious heartache

They were still using this process at the University of Nebraska in 1973, when I gave up my scholarship at Macalester College rather than complete my senior year; and stayed in Lincoln at what had been my summer job, editorial assistant for a grant-funded publisher.

By Willi Heidelbach (License)

One of my tasks was going to the typesetting shop to pick up silverprints for my boss to proof. I loved that place and I can still remember how it smelled. I would have liked to learn such a fine skill; and I regretted that typesetting had become redundant and was no longer viable as a career path for a young person. 

I have been thinking quite a lot about that job during the Pandemic. My father had told me when I was 8 that if I wanted to be an artist, I’d have to learn to do something else for a living. I know now that’s not necessarily true. But at the time of my first real job, I was so happy that there was a dayjob that I could love, working in an editorial capacity for a boutique publishing company. And then I graduated from college exactly in the middle of the 1970s recession. The kind of company I wanted to work for disappeared because funding dried up. 

It was my first major disappointment and during the Pandemic I’ve realized that I never got over it. The career that I wanted never happened because it couldn’t. I am sure there are many young people who’ve been thwarted on their paths because of Lockdown related cancellations and postponements. I think about that often and have felt vicarious heartache. 

Ironically, excerpts of my “Covid journal,” including stills and writings, will be included in a Lincoln, Nebraska based digital age boutique publisher’s collection of writings about personal experiences during Lockdown. #COVID19 #Pandemic #goals #disappointment #sylviatoystlouis