L.V. Lewis 1928–2010

Mesquite trees are swaying
crooked, still dancing in time.
We’re just here waiting
watching you crawl towards the light…

Saturday afternoon, 1/16/10

My wife’s grandfather passed away Sunday evening, peacefully in his sleep, surrounded by his children and grandchildren. He was celebrated on Wednesday by way of words, songs, photographs and prayers. And during the last few days we spent in Texas with the family, most of my thinking was occupied with two related thoughts.

The first is a Steinbeck quote from East of Eden — “When a man comes to die, no matter what his talents and influence and genius, if he dies unloved his life must be a failure to him and his dying a cold horror.” L.V. died loved, and I know of no other way to say it than this: dying loved is something special, important, and to be envied. This is a good way to go.

The second is the simple fact that when I die, whether that finish line be distant or fast-approaching, no one will likely say, “That Joshua Blankenship, what an amazing designer he was. His contributions to the visual landscape of the world will be missed.” These are not the legacies that most of us leave. I will not be remembered for teaching someone how to properly kern type, I will be remembered if I treated them with dignity while I did it. I will not be remembered for having an amazing website, I will be remembered if I was an ass about it when I talked to others in similar environments. I will be remembered (or forgotten) by people, for how I interacted with people. I will not be remembered for pixels, no matter how meticulously I craft and place them on your screen.

This thing that I invest so much time and effort and hard work into is short-lived. The occupation/hobby monster that devours up half of most days in action and thought is fleeting at best (much to the unwelcome and necessary whittling away of my ego) and all-consuming at worst (much to the detriment of the people and relationships that will be my legacy.)

All that to say, I am and will always be passionate about design and writing and creating. I want to become a better version of myself in all these areas, for the rest of my life. But more than that, I want to live in such a way that I am missed when I go. I want to continually, wisely invest my time where I can have the missed-when-I’m-gone kind of return.