#WFH Diaries: Juan Camillo Garza of Preacher

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to wreak havoc around the world, we're checking in with people in the creative industry to see how they're doing. Here's an update from Juan Camillo Garza, a junior copywriter at Preacher in Austin.

Give us a one-line bio of yourself.

Two kids stacked on top of each other in a trench coat trying not to get found out.

Where are you living right now, and who's with you?

Walking distance from the capitol in Austin, Texas. No roomies but my upstairs neighbor Joy has been talking to me between the floorboards our porches share.

Hi, Joy. 

What's your work situation like at the moment?

I'm not the person who can roll out of bed and work in pajamas. I wake up before the birds do, get ready the same as pre-apocalypse, and then hop to my writing station.

Describe your socializing strategy.

There's something inherently unnatural about talking to a computer screen in an empty room, right? We're all here, one spotty signal away from literally talking to ourselves. So I try to make the facetime count. I continually ask myself, how can I share what couldn't be shared before in a meaningful way? Yes, there's this distance between us. But it's a distance that reaches between our homes. And how intimate is that? For better or worse, this is an opportunity for a new level of closeness, not distance.

What are you reading?

My mentor Maxx Delaney recently recommended The Savage Detectives by Roberto Bolaño. That and the Tao Te Ching when I need to meditate.

What are you watching?

The slow hands of the clock, friend. Just like you.

What are you listening to?

João Gilberto, Devendra Banhart, Marvin Gaye, Adron, Chet Baker.

How are you staying fit?

Reps. The trick is reps. One bite of mochi, one bite of salami, one handful of shredded cheese from the bag.

Have you taken up a hobby?

No, nothing new. I've been practicing flamenco guitar for about a decade and a half, though. Wiping the dust off my instrument has felt like catching up with an old friend.

Any tips for getting necessities?

Bring a battle axe. No, kidding. Be sensible and grab only what you need. We are more at risk for a shortage of reason than a shortage of supplies.

An awkward moment since all this started.

Here's the scene: You're in the middle of a Zoom meeting, the laptop starts dying, you're wearing a dress shirt and nothing else, the charger is across the room. What do you do?

Best work email you got since all this started.

After a literary reading I organized, "Preacher Open Book," someone emailed me and let me know it was the first time they felt truly connected since the beginning of their self-quarantine. That was really special.

An aha! moment since all this started.

Seeing the nimbleness of my team has been really inspiring. Yes, we are in the business of creativity, sure. But seeing firsthand that our creative power isn't beholden to a brief, a brand, or even an office has felt like a hundred eurekas all at once.

What's your theory on how this is going to play out?

Austin is one of the only cities I've been to where creatives are more interested in collaborating than competing. I theorize—and this is easy to do because it's already beginning to happen—that the collaborative spirit of the city is going to allow it to adapt, transform or flex into whatever is necessary to keep it weird and magical. Flexibility is our armor against uncertainty, I think.

And as for me? No theories. I'm taking it day by day. In the meantime, though, my flamenco guitar will be singing, my pen will be writing, and my camera will be shooting.

See the full #WFH Diaries series here.

Tim Nudd
Tim Nudd was editor in chief of the Clio Awards and editor of Muse by Clio from 2018 to 2023.

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