On Saturday evening, instead of watching March Madness, I met up with some old friends for a happy hour that stretched into the wee hours.

Yesterday afternoon, instead of watching March Madness, I provided a bit of constructive (I hope) criticism and writing tips to students who had entered their short films into a college film festival. Yes, me, the man who thinks this is the pinnacle of American cinema:

Last night, instead of watching March Madness, I went to a poetry reading. Yes, me, the guy who struggles to understand anything more complex than The Family Circus comic strip.

(The ghosts haunt me…)

My choices were based in part on the fact that Xavier didn’t make the Big Dance this year. But all three events were certainly more nourishing for the soul than watching a gazillion AT&T commercials. Oh, and let’s not forget the countless minutes of “official review” so the refs can add a tenth of a second to the game clock. Scintillating!

The Saturday happy hour was with some friends from my ad agency days. The traditional ad agency model is in a state of disarray. Too much consolidation, not enough creative freedom. But the folks I met and worked with during my agency days remain some of the most creative folks I’ve ever known. Writers, designers, artists, muralists, musicians. Big Idea generators, every one of them. They bring more beauty into the world. Yes, some of it is in service of commerce, but that doesn’t diminish the beauty… if anything, it makes it more admirable.

The student film festival gave me hope that the next generation of our “creative class” will be just as creative. The tools may change, but the ability to tell a compelling story will always matter.

The poets were folks who went to Xavier in the late 60s/early 70s and bonded over their love of the written word. To be able to portray beauty and convey emotions with an economy of words is a rare talent. And one well worth celebrating.

(excerpt above is from the book Also a Poet by Ada Calhoun)

The rise of technology — especially AI — has some folks thinking that our souls will be superseded by machines. But I know better. Flesh and blood, and human connection, are what will help us not just survive, but thrive.

Stay Classy, friends…. and stay creative!