Life Lessons From A Giant Spider Attack or Pull Yourself Together And Stop F’ing Crying

If you don’t know Anne Taintor, you totally should!

Let me set the scene for you, it’s a beautiful day and I’m driving to the gym. I decide to roll down the window. That’s when a spider the size of a small dog dropped down and was swinging in and out of the car right at my eye level. I tried to roll the window back up, but, of course, that trapped us in the car together. I pulled over. “Pulled over” sounds calm and rational. What I did was more like swerve wildly while yelling, “OH GOD!!!!!!!” at the top of my lungs until I eventually stopped pretty much in the middle of the street.

I flung the door open and thought maybe I could knock it down with my foot. Yeah, I hit the spider into the car and it started crawling in the window switches. Oh hell no. Big ass spider gets in, I get out.

Standing next to my spider infested car, I was completely clueless as to what to do. I was really prepared to just let the spider have the car, because clearly he wanted it more then I did. People would probably be understanding. “Hey, did you get a new car?” “Yeah, spider the size of a toddler wanted the other one.” “Oh, yeah. That happened to my cousin.”

Approximate size of spider

But I knew that wouldn’t work. So, I tried to calm my abject terror and opened the door. To my surprise, the spider wasn’t behind the wheel about to drive off. He was crawling next to the seat on his way to the pedals and I squashed him with my shoe. VICTORY WAS MINE!

So the lesson to me was: even though you think the giant spider is going to eat your face off,  if remove yourself from the situation for a minute and regroup then you can find a new way to attack the problem.

“Beth, did you ever get the opportunity to apply this lesson outside of this death defying spider incident?”

As a matter of fact, I did! So glad you asked!

Recently, someone told me that my goal of being a graphic designer probably isn’t going to happen like I expect and I should reconsider. I listened and smiled politely during the thirty plus minute run down of all the reasons why I was not cutout to be a designer all while going from dumbfounded to profoundly sad inside. They may as well have said, “You know all the time, the money, the sleep, etc. you sacrificed to go back to school? Totally wasted.” As the day went on, my feelings snowballed until I finally decided they were right. I was pulling the graphic design car over, getting out and letting the spider have it. I had been defeated and I was done trying. I kept hearing my teacher’s voice in my head telling me, “Don’t let them see you cry. You can cry here, in my office, but never do it out there,” and managed to keep it together.

It was sorta like this. “Look, Lisa. If you look closely you can actually pinpoint the exact moment his heart breaks in two.”

The next day when I was removed from the situation, something inside shifted. I went from profound sadness to anger. I turned into one of those girls on Maury Povich shouting, “Whatever! You don’t know me! I do what I want!”  This person does not get to tell me when to give up. It’s not like I want to play in the NBA or become a ballerina (but you better believe I would rock the shit out of the Nutcracker). I’ve only been out of school for 3 months, so of course I still have a lot to learn. I may never be Stefan Sagmeister or Louise Fili, but I will keep learning and improving. I will get where I want to go, because I am either too smart or too stupid to stop and I absolutely refuse to hand the keys to my ambitions over to someone who doesn’t deserve them. No one but me gets to decide when I am finished.

Truth be told, I’m always happiest and at my best when I’m fighting against something. So, Captain Bringdown, thanks for the motivation and, one more thing before I go:



“Empty” Book Jacket Final and a Few Words of Wisdom

click to enlarge

Without further ado, here is the final version of the book jacket! If you are visiting me for the first time, the assignment was to make a book jacket for a fictitious book with the subject of our choosing. Sadly, Ray LaMontagne does not have a book coming out (at least that I know of). But if he was considering such a thing, this one could be had for the cheap! (*holding thumb and pinky up to my ear like a phone* Call me, Ray!).

My goal was to give people  who may not be familiar with him a sense of Ray and his music through pictures. In case you are still unacquainted with Ray’s awesomeness, his songs are rich with imagery, almost poetic. His style has been described as Van Morrison meets The Band, meets Neil Young, meets Jim Croce and a little Ray Charles.  In his 2011 tour he was most frequently on stage wearing a red plaid western cut shirt and worn in jeans. Plus, he’s not shy about talking his disdain for the city. He has a song called, New York City’s Killing Me that, if you couldn’t guess from the rather direct title, talks about how he’s tired of all the concrete and noise of the city and longing to get back to the country to “have a couple drinks with the good old boys.”

So, I really wanted to illustrate the warmth of his words, the richness of his voice, and the openness of the country where he feels most at home. It came out beyond what I had envisioned and I am extremely happy with the results.

In class we printed our book jackets and folded them on to an actual book. This is a crappy picture taken with my cell phone, but I was so happy with how it printed (that printer usually prints everything way dark) and looked on the book, that I had to share it. . Next week I’m taking a nice picture in the departments little photo studio and I’ll post that one in the design section (keep scrolling! There’s more below!).
And now for the words of wisdom part. In my Ray LaMontagne research, I found this really great interview from 2010 right around the time God Willing and the Creek Don’t Rise was released. Maybe it’s a little metaphysical of me, but I believe when you keep hearing the same message over and over again, it’s universe or God or what have you’s way of telling you something. So, I was kind of struck when I read this bit:

I always want to get better but, there are enough people out there that want to knock you down, there’s no sense in knocking yourself down…..Yeah, and I think that as much as I am self-critical, there is an inner strength there that has been there from the beginning and I’ve always known deep down that I wasn’t gonna let anything stop me. I mean once I knew what I wanted to do, I was gonna do it. And it doesn’t matter if anyone ever said, “you’re no good”, “we don’t like what your doing”, “go home.” It doesn’t matter. I always knew I was going to keep doing this, deep down.

The bolded sentence was almost word for word what someone else had said to me. So much so, that I think I reread that sentence three or four times thinking what a weird coincidence. As far as I know, that person is not a Ray fan or reading obscure roots music blogs. Message received, Universe. The second part is what I try to tell myself as often as possible. Even people with the best of intentions, can say something that shakes your faith and makes you question if your chosen path is the right one or just a silly pipe dream. But I choose to look at it this way- people who know me, know that “no” and “we don’t like what you are doing” has never really stopped me before, so I can’t see why this time should be any different. If I fail, then I will fail trying rather then wondering, “What if…”

As always, have a great week and be my Twitter friend!