What Matters to Bob Fitzgerald

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Debbie Millman has an ongoing project at PRINT titled “What Matters.” This is an effort to understand the interior life of artists, designers, and creative thinkers. This facet of the project is a request of each invited respondent to answer ten identical questions and submit a nonprofessional photograph.

Bob Fitzgerald is a creative director for Boathouse, a full-service integrated marketing and communications agency in Boston, where he “humbly cuts through the bullshit.”

What is the thing you like doing most in the world?

Although it might sound a little expected, what I have found I enjoy most in the world is being a father. I have 4 sons and currently their ages range from 15-24. They are big and strong, hilarious  and all around cool guys. What I guess I like the most is being a part of them becoming men in their own right.

What is the first memory you have of being creative?

When I was in first grade I wrote a poem which I always remember as the first time I brought something from within me into being in the world. The poem was called ‘Blue’ and the first line was like – Blue is a color and a feeling too.

What is your biggest regret?

In early 2008 I found myself freelancing. At the time I felt I had honed my skills as a copywriter and creative director very sharply. Also I felt I had a good handle on how “the right kind of creative agency” should be established, structured and run. And so I started my own agency, which while successful in more than a few ways ultimately collapsed under the force of the economic implosion in late 2008.

How have you gotten over heartbreak?

Self righteous indignation. Often when circumstances have turned against me I have used those facts to drive myself to overcome those same circumstances. In The Last Dance there is an almost comical storyline that they come back to repeatedly – Micheal Jordon explaining how he took something personally. In a much less athletic, no where near as successful, and decidedly more uncool way, I find myself using that way of flipping the script in my life.

What makes you cry?

Extreme and utter frustration with both the fundamental inequities at the heart of modern society and the inexplicable cruelty of all of us to one another.

How long does the pride and joy of accomplishing something last for you?

The pride of an accomplishment lingers with me exponentially longer than the joy. I am not sure exactly what that says about me.

Do you believe in an afterlife, and if so, what does that look like to you?

I am not sure what I believe would be technically described as an afterlife. But I believe that at there is a part of every living being that is not of this world. I spent a good part of my teenage years in the company of Benedictine monks and I think that is where I picked up the idea that living beings are spiritual entities traveling in earthen vessels. And I think when a living being dies the spirit within is released.

What do you hate most about yourself?

In his novel A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, James Joyce wrote, “History is a nightmare from which I am trying to awaken.” As I have grown older, I have come to understand the patriarchal, racially inequitable and in so many ways unjust society that is mine. This is the historical nightmare I find myself in. And I very much dislike it.

What do you love most about yourself?

My sense of humor and the irreverence it has afforded me.

What is your absolute favorite meal?

Steak frites with peppercorn sauce, very buttery corn on the cob, Greek salad on the side and very cold Rainier cherries for dessert.