Steve Jobs

 Credit: Matt Yohe“Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma — which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.” — Steve Jobs


I went to MassArt to learn, live, and breathe everything. Our computer labs were packed with Amigas and Mac Clones. I was jealous of an upperclassman who could design flyers with QuarkXPress. I asked him how he learned, and he said “I just started using it”. He showed me the two basics, making a text box and importing a picture in a box. That got me going. I was a graphic designer now (if only in my own mind). You should have seen all of the triple border tricks and Helvetica that Duncan Wilder Johnson and I used for Spoken World Poetry promotional materials. I have nostalgia of the extended time I had to spend on those projects. All of that was at a time with little to no internet and Pine mail! All on a Mac. It was easy to understand and fun to do. Classmates of mine were layering Photoshop files and borking the MassArt network because files were approaching nearly 1GB!

Post-graduation, I got into publishing by archiving a publisher database onto CDs on a Mac. While burning discs, I was reading Journey to the End of Night. While scanning Bruce Lee’s personal photographs, I made art on the color copier. I loved going downtown, meeting new people, being a professional, eating sushi on Bruce’s birthday, and most of all…watching the extensions load on ‘my’ computer. I was good. They hired me from the temp agency. Within months, I was laying out cover mechanicals and revising text for the designers. I was left alone to get my work done. I made lifelong connections. I started my ever-changing and ever-evolving career. Life was good. I understood the Mac because I felt it understood me. Truth was, Steve Jobs understood me, or the type of person I am. We creatives don’t need to build our own PC. We creatives just want the thing to work, and it is worth the risk of crashing the computer when we really push it with too many Photoshop filters and layers. Keep the coffee coming, we have a press check this week and the manuscript just got turned in!

I suggest patience as a virtue to my students because my career did not go from point A to point B. Steve Jobs invented the Apple computer with Woz, invented Lisa and the Mac, left Apple, was at Pixar, returned to Apple, unleashed the iPod, and revolutionized all creative work with his vision. Getting that job in publishing was my Apple I. I’m not dropping the iPad on the world, but it took me a while to get to this happy & sober 36th birthday. I bounced to and from temp jobs, hourly wage jobs, courier jobs, shift manager jobs, to other publishing opportunities. Ironically I’ve never wanted to work particularly hard, something just drives me.

I’ve let myself be crushed by setbacks, losses of friends and family, drained bank accounts, heartbreak, therapy, treatments, moving apartments, and negative people. I never stopped. I did put down the drink and things started to get better. I bought this website. I’ve got this very real place to display my art and my writing. I’m surrounding myself with positive people. I can call on real friends. I came close tonite to making some phone calls because I was crying at the gym and the grocery store. Steve Jobs has influenced my life, and I’m sad that his family and the world have lost him. Where will I be 20 years from now at exactly 56 years of age? Hopefully influencing my family and friends and my place in a world in a positive way.

Two months ago, my therapist directed me to the Steve Jobs speech at Stanford. I was having trouble dealing with the loss of my friend Adam. She said the best thing to do was to live my life like Steve suggested here…as if every day was my last. To me, that’s the best way to give to Adam. That’s the best way to give to my family. And as I write my second memorial post of the year, this is how I can give to Steve Jobs. Give by doing. Do by giving. Live by living. Transform by transforming. Work by working hard at what I love and for who people I love working with.

I’m fully going to let myself be sad in bed now. Thursday, October 6, 2011 will be a great day. Birthday lunch with Mom and Dad. Work. Gallery show and pizza and movie night with a great friend.

From Paul Simon’s Paul Simon in Concert, a quote. “Say a few words? Well, let’s hope that we continue to live.” He then starts into the tune ‘America‘…

“Let us be lovers we’ll marry our fortunes together”
“I’ve got some real estate here in my bag”
So we bought a pack of cigarettes and Mrs. Wagner pies
And we walked off to look for America

“Kathy,” I said as we boarded a Greyhound in Pittsburgh
“Michigan seems like a dream to me now”
It took me four days to hitchhike from Saginaw
I’ve gone to look for America
Laughing on the bus
Playing games with the faces
She said the man in the gabardine suit was a spy
I said “Be careful his bowtie is really a camera”

— Clay S. Fernald, October 6, 2011