2018–19 Newsbook

I've always documented news stories in my sketchbook, mostly just news about the environment. But as I've worked in newspaper design the past few years I've become ardent about my documentation. I love the news. I love understanding political timelines, contexts, and spotting hypocrisies. It's become a creative obsession for me, so this year I started a news book wholly dedicated to my interpretation of the political, environmental, and social happenings of 2018 and 2019. I cut up newspapers I get from all over the country, TIME, magazines, and any other relevant publication that I feel is necessary to nail the context. I still trip out that newsrooms literally publish entire books every single day of the year, jam packed with all sorts of perfectly edited content.

Maybe the craziness of 2018 isn't unique in it's anxiety — maybe every year from now until humans self-destruct will be disorientingly divided. I've been watching the Handmaid's Tale lately and my psyche is unnerved and disturbed: I see the show everywhere, in every crevice of modern society. This book helps me make sense of the discomfort and answer my screaming WHY?!?s.

Title page to my news sketchbook

Trumpy tweety

Gatefold cover to a climate change section

Unfolded climate change section

Detail shot of 2 additional flaps for climate change

Inside pages

My pile of newspapers and publications that I still need to read through (left) and my stack of stories clipped together, organized by topic (right). I've never appreciated paperclips as much as I do with this project.

My holy workspace as I lay out the Parkland shooting spread

'The Bell Jar'

I recently read The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath. I really enjoyed her witty writing style and wish she had lived longer to publish more books. I read the book because I heard the following passage and it felt freakishly personal and timely to me at this time in my life:

My book

My book

"I saw my life branching out before me like the green fig tree in the story.
From the tip of every branch, like a fat purple fig, a wonderful future beckoned and winked. One fig was a husband and a happy home and children, and another fig was a famous poet and another fig was a brilliant professor, and another fig was Ee Gee, the amazing editor, and another fig was Europe and Africa and South America, and another fig was Constantin and Socrates and Attila and a pack of other lovers with queer names and offbeat professions, and another fig was an Olympic lady crew champion, and beyond and above these figs were many more figs I couldn't quite make out.
I saw myself sitting in the crotch of this fig tree, starving to death, just because I couldn't make up my mind which of the figs I would choose. I wanted each and every one of them, but choosing one meant losing all the rest, and, as I sat there, unable to decide, the figs began to wrinkle and go black, and, one by one, the plopped to the ground at my feet."

'The Sirens of Titan'

My book

My book

I recently finished Kurt Vonnegut's The Sirens of Titan. I liked it—didn't love it. I appreciated the simplistic existentialism of the book. For something written in 1959 it feels like an impressively relevant book in modern society with Vonnegut's commentary on organized religion and free will. I guess I didn't like the lack of details and elaboration, but it was a chill, pleasant read that will quietly remind you that no one knows why humans exist. Here are some of my favorite lines from the book:

  • "...it came to me in a flash that everything that ever has been always will be, and everything that ever will be always has been."
  • Her face, like the face of Malachi Constant, was one-of-a-kind, a surprising variation on a familiar theme—a variation that made observers thinks, 'Yes—that would be another very nice way for people to look. [This description made me laugh. Such a peculiarly poetic string of descriptions.]
  • "These words will be written on that flag in gold letters on a blue field: Take Care of the People, and God Almighty Will Take Care of Himself."
  • "The worst thing that could possibly happen to anybody," she said, "would be to not be used for anything by anybody."