Many years ago, I got a handwritten letter from a friend. Wait, if I’m honest with myself and with my blog readers, it was probably a decade or two ago. My friend glued a picture on the letter, a picture of a woman eating a granola bar. Except that the granola bar looked more like a piece of excrement rolled in nuts. Above the woman’s head my friend had written “some people don’t even know they’re eating sh*t.”
This image made me laugh in its absurdity and it stuck with me for a while. When the sordid image faded away, my friend’s simple words remained glued in my mind. It’s true. So that we can have an honest conversation without saying sh*t ten or more times, let’s call it “bad yogurt.”
I’m going out on a limb and say most people don’t even know they’re eating bad yogurt. There’s a lot of bad yogurt out there, most of it a far cry from any kind of bacteria-fermented milk product thought to have originated in Mesopotamia. Yogurt with chocolate chips, cheesecake flavored yogurt, and so on.
My observations this week have been about how long it really takes to produce quality yogurt. And don’t think I’m going down a path of technophobia and saying something like “life would be better if you were reading this blog post on a piece of papyrus you received by carrier pigeon.” No, what I mean is the old adage “good things take time” is true.
My friend Robin Swennes is a painter and graphic artist. She and I have worked together on a variety of projects ranging from business cards, Moxie Festival promotional material, holiday cards, and more recently, a promotional card for one of my “causes.” We do all our work via e-mail with an occasional phone call to make sure we’re on the same page. Sometimes, my “vision” starts out with a handful of papers and marketing collateral I’ve collected in my travels. I’ll send Robin an e-mail and I’ll say “I have an idea I want to work on. Here’s what I’m thinking and I’ll mail you some samples. E-mail me back when you’ve received them and had a chance to analyze them.”
I suppose I could e-mail her images, but because we’re usually creating something which will eventually be represented on paper, the relative slowness of the mail and the simmering of time is a positive ingredient to the work.
Sometimes, we’ll swap another handful of e-mails before she’ll design three to six samples for me to review. This will eventually be boiled down to one design image; she does the artwork and I’ll do the written content. And since we’re both working day jobs, most of this work gets done early in the morning or late at night.
On our last finished project, we had fifteen revisions before the final product went to the printer.
I suppose I could get some DIY graphics software and make something myself, but what do I know about graphics? Very little. So I leave it to someone who does to figure out whether a certain image will work as a piece of promotional material.
I am biased in my opinion, but I don’t think our collaborations have created any bad yogurt yet.
Keep your eyes open for the bad yogurt; there’s a lot of it out there. The good yogurt?
Might take some time.
I loved this post. Good things do take time. And go ahead and saw the limb off behind me when I say that “our 140-character obsessed world is producing far too much bad yogurt.” It’s ubiquitous and you just can’t turn around without stepping in it.
The Slow Food movement had it right. Why can’t we do the same with all things creative? Just slow it down!!
Thanks, Jim! I could have gone on and on but…I ran out of time.