Tag Archives: culture

The Beautiful Game

The other day I watched a documentary on the situation in Brazil. There is a lot of news coverage around here these days concerning the plight of so many underprivileged in Brazil, and in the context of the World Cup, which starts tomorrow.

It was a depressing show. So much poverty and obvious corruption . . . and this is in one of the world’s booming countries?

I’m not going to make this post a political one. It’s certainly not for lack of caring, but more because there are millions out there doing just that.

Instead, I’m posting a new creation, something that reminds me of the hot and colorful images one often sees of Brazil, usually around Mardi Gras days.

It’s the first in a series I’m calling “Sum 14”, short for Summer 2014.This series is all based on a rather large base picture, from which I take smaller components and turn them into separate pieces . . . it’s much more than just cropping . . . you will see that by looking at the larger picture through this link, on one my Pinterest boards, “My Original Art”.

So given the events unfolding in Brazil – the World Cup – it seems only right to call this first in a series “The Beautiful Game”! Here it is, and perhaps in what is often the case with art, it is my expression of a hope for a peace, this time at an event in Brazil. I’m not at all optimistic about that, but at least the picture is somewhat cheery:

Picture called The Beautiful Game

Something Completely and Wonderfully Different

There is this small outfit that does remarkable videos, some of which have gone viral on Youtube. It’s called Zoochosis and to me it’s absolutely amazing what they are doing.

There is no need for to try to explain what they do – you can easily see that on the first short video (see below).

For some reason I think of my daughters when watching anything from Zoochosis, or perhaps them and the entire young-adult population. There is a lot of crazy out there, much of it pretty disturbing, and I know this sometimes troubles them. Also, so much of the truth of our collective history is well-hidden or sugar-coated, or both?

The messages in Zoochosis productions are stark in contrast . . . some are real eye-openers. Many would find much of their work disturbing or repulsive, yet my hunch is that those same people would probably prefer to bury their head in the sand and pretend some of the issues addressed are not important or even real.

There is usually humor involved, and it’s right up my alley. It’s so much more relevant than anything you will find on mainstream television.

That’s about it for now. The video below is the Zoochosis summary mentioned above. After that I’ve shared a link to one of my favorite videos of theirs . . . really amazing how this is all done mostly on a volunteer basis . . . set the knowledge free!

Beyond Surviving

digital painting called The Hunted (Cropped)

The Hunted (Cropped) – another play in progress.

I watched a very articulate documentary tonight, Surviving Progress. It was largely cathartic as it touches on so many issues, thoughts and concerns that I’ve had for years now. It’s about the human condition and presented honestly in the context of nature. If you decide to watch it, be careful as it can be disturbing. It was a little that way for me, and I’ve been studying this subject matter for about nine years now. I don’t write much about it because it’s frankly too depressing in many ways.

However, this film doesn’t come across that way . . . sobering yes, disturbing yes, yet still with a calming eloquence about it . . . the humanity of the those involved somehow shines through much of the horror. Oddly enough, there is prominent mention of the question, “Why?” and I mean that in the broadest sense. For years now I’ve viewed that as an almost dangerous question – a very mysterious one – and perhaps ultimately part of our collective Achilles heel?

Much More Than A Clock

Coincidentally, today also marks a day of the release of new scientific findings and warnings concerning climate change. This too struck a nerve, one that runs deeply in all my creative endeavors. The strike came by a statement made by a scientist on the news, “We’re running out of time.”

Such a simple statement perhaps it summarizes our entire predicament . . . our distancing from Nature and the absence of balance within it. I’m still amazed by how few people make the connection between time and gravity – they are inseparable – if we are “out of time” yet gravity continues, what does that say about us? Again, I no longer want to ask “Why?”

I’m sorry this is maybe a sad post to read. Still, it’s what’s on my mind. As a person who loves art, especially the process, I can’t help but wonder if it still has meaning anymore . . . have we passed a turning point that way too? More and more it just feels that way, though I wish it didn’t.

Ending On Another Timeless Moment

Finally, in the spirit of time, I’m going to post a little bit of writing. It’s from my first novel, one that will never be published. After I writing it I knew that these 121,000 words were not the right ones to launch upon the world, or even a few hundred readers! Still, it was a wonderful confidence booster and there was a lot of joy in the process.

Like Dawn at Last it has its tender moments. Since completion I’ve always felt like the only thing that really mattered were the words in the last two paragraphs. Somehow even these few words made all the rest worth writing, unpublished and all. They make me smile and I find peace in them. Since the book will never exist, here is my precious ending . . . perhaps you can use your imagination and fill in the rest . . . the past of it or the future? Or both?

Here’s how it ends, and once again it has something to do with love. Without it why survive?

They remained in their upward gaze, into this and every night’s darkness, and though their eyes did not meet, a common smile spread from her cheeks through his cheeks. It began to rain softly, only a few drops here and there. Still no words were spoken, though Lance wanted to share his thoughts with her. He was thinking of all he had been through, the beauty he found in the mysteries of the universe, of love and peace. The joy of knowing mixed with the agony of explaining, like finding love in a drop of water and trying to pull it out, just to hold it and say, “See.”

At that moment Suzanne turned her gaze toward his face. She saw a raindrop on the side of his cheek and naturally she cupped his hand in hers, leaned forward and kissed his cheek on that very spot, saying simply and softly, “Voici.”

 

Julie's Pets

The Precious Pet Projects of Julie Whiteley

One of the nicest surprises about self-publishing is getting to know book reviewers. They have quite the story to tell, and each one is different. One such person is Julie Whiteley, who coincidentally is the first reviewer that I ever approached about Dawn at Last. I was quite nervous back then, feeling that I must maintain a cool distance. I thought that was required of the author. I’m glad I was wrong.

After getting to know Julie better – and a few others – it just seemed right to do let my followers have the opportunity to hear what she has to say. So here’s my interview. Enjoy it and learn . . . I know I have.

Can you give me a little about your background? How long have you been writing reviews? What made you pursue this hobby?

I started writing reviews 3 years ago when I began to notice authors becoming more vocal about the need for reviews. My family said I should write reviews because I read so much and I should share my thoughts with others, plus help an author out in the process. So, I thought why not?  So, I wrote my first review for Amazon and a professional reviewer tore it apart. I didn’t know I was being graded! I took that as a personal challenge and started writing reviews all the time, for every book I read, but stayed over on Goodreads instead of Amazon.  One day I got an email from Goodreads letting me know I was in the top 1%  of reviewers on that site.  This was another indicator that authors needed reviews.  So,  that was when I started taking things more seriously and got very involved all over social media and with authors personally, also on Netgalley and Edelweiss, and I started a book review blog.

Can you describe a typical week in the world of reviewing?

Oh that’s a good question. Instead of a typical week, though, let’s break it down into a day.   I have a blog post every day. So, I schedule the post,  then I start putting it  out there on social media.  I then answer emails for review request and other emails concerning tours, blogs, reviews etc.

After that I read, read, and read, then I start writing reviews. I like to write the review as soon as possible after reading the book so it’s still  fresh in my mind.  It can take up to two hours – sometimes more – to write a review. At that point I will either need to contact the author to let them know I have their review ready, or I will need to post it to Edelweiss or Netgally or one of the other sites I review for, then on to  GR, Amazon, and LibraryThing for starters.

I start prep work on the next blog post, interview or spotlight, check on all social media to touch base with other reviewers and bloggers, authors etc.  I may chat with Lawrence. LOL

Then I read some more!  I do this seven days a week.  I work on books in one way or another for 5 to 6 hours a day.

Is there anything you would like authors to know? Is that different for indie authors than for traditionally published ones?

What should  an author’s know?  They need a thick skin,  a positive attitude, must always be professional, even if this isn’t your day job, and above all be patient. Read a lot, research self-publishing and get advice before you even start  trying to promote. Beware of scams and paying for reviews and do not under any circumstances swap reviews with other authors.  Going a little further, I really don’t recommend having friends and family post reviews for you either. Trust me, this will come back to haunt you.  So, try to prepare yourself and arm yourself with some good solid advice before publishing your book.  Knowing what to expect and having some idea what works and what doesn’t will go a long way.  Also, you might want to know that most likely you will have to spend a little money to get your book promoted. I don’t mean buying reviews, but you may consider doing some book tours and putting your book on an indie author site like StoryFinds that will get you get some reviews and a little recognition.  Costs for joining are very reasonable and will help get the ball rolling for you.

Yes, it is different for independent authors. A lot different in fact.  Indies do not have a filter. The traditionally published author has a little help even if it’s a small publishing company.  There is  more money to spend on promoting your book, there are more contacts, more ways to reach people. The indie is out there all by themselves.  If their book gets promoted it’s because they used their own money and spent their own time building up a network of contacts and it’s a much slower process and  since you don’t have an advisor, you can make a lot of mistakes and get taken for ride if you aren’t careful.  On the plus side, you have complete creative control over your work. You are your own boss, so can write a romance then write a horror novel if you want. You don’t have to fit into any set mold and you aren’t under a contract or deadline. Writing can be something you do for pleasure away from your day job or you can turn it into a career option, it’s up to you.

You must have certain experiences that really stand out for you, both positive and not so positive – can you tell us a bit about them?

Positive far outweighs the negative.  I have built some wonderful relationships with publishers and authors since becoming a reviewer. I have had my reviews published in books, in publications, and I have had people send me personal notes, become friends with me through social media and we work together to help spread the word about great talent and good books.  I love this part of being a reviewer.  Most authors are very professional and nice.  In fact, just yesterday I got a card  in the mail from an author thanking me for the review and interview I did for him. I get personal notes, swag and some authors are kind enough to follow my blog and help me gain more followers.  Most authors are aware that reviewers are not being paid for their time and so they will do some little something to pay if forward. One of the best rewards though is seeing an author blossom and knowing that in some small way I helped them out.

Negatives: Spending hours on a book, the review, the blog post, and promoting on social media and never even getting a response from the author. No thank you, no kiss by *** or anything.

While many worship athletes, musicians, and actors, it was always authors that did it for me.  Becoming a reviewer has shown me another side of the author that I wish I didn’t have to know.  A little familiarity breeding contempt I think, which can lead to disillusionment and so it’s easy to get burned out.  Some authors have written one book and suddenly they think they are Ernest Hemingway.  They don’t ask if you will do something for them, they demand it and some can be really rude.  So, I’m going to lecture authors:

The statistics for reviews is dismal. People will rate a book but will not leave comments. I have to wonder why that is. Informal polls suggest reviewers don’t want to be hassled by authors to revise, edit or even take down the review. One reviewer expressed real concern when an author began stalking him online.  Seeing reviewers being trashed on social media sites is also a real turn off.  It’s no wonder authors have a hard time getting people to review books for them.  Again, be professional, even if this is just a hobby for you.  Always thank a reviewer for their time, even if the review was disappointing.

I’ve had my moments too, when  I wanted to know “What’s in it for me?”  LOL [Note – Julie sent me this clip from one of her favorite movies – Field of Dreams – and the author gets to walk I can so relate to this :-)]

Aside from reading, what are your other passions in life . . . chocolate goes without saying!

My pets are a HUGE part of my life.  I have two cocker spaniels and three cats.  They are all spoiled and so I have to spend a lot of time with them. Somebody has to do it  LOL  I also spend a lot of time spreading the word against animal cruelty and violence against women.

Where would you to go from here regarding your book reviews, personally and professionally?

First a personal comment. I hope to continue to increase my blog followers in order to reach more readers. I want to improve my writing skills and in the process write cleaner and more interesting reviews.  I am also working on calling attention to reviewers so that authors can appreciate the hard work that goes into writing a thoughtful review and to  work on a system that will compensate reviewers in some way and perhaps come up with a way for authors and reviewers to rate their experiences with  one another after a review has been completed.  Feedback from both parties could help us learn what we need to do to improve a system that is in terrible shape at the moment.  Do you think this is a good idea or do you think it will only increase the gap between author and reader? [I think these are fantastic ideas – it’s about time.]

Professionally, the future is wide open for some really great changes in the world of books and reading.  The short story will become a favorite of fans and e-series will grow in popularity.  I really do believe that books will become more interactive in the near future, giving the reader a say in what takes place within the story and the way the story ends. Alternative endings are already cropping up as well as books that offer the reader choices within the book on which path they would like the character to take.  It’s like reading a book three different ways.   I think video reviews will also crop up more often.  There are still a lot of changes to come and growing pains yet to work through, but overall it’s an exciting time for authors, books and readers.  I hope to be part of it in some way. 

 A huge thank Julie. If you would like to follow her, here are a few links, one to Facebook and one to her blog:

Julie Whiteley on Facebook          Julie’s Blog – Cluereview on Blogspot

75 times 365 gets closer to 24/7

I read a blog today that touched on the issue of security cameras, and in this case in the workplace. It reminded of a bit of information a year or so ago. Do you know that In major metro areas a person is on camera an average of 75 times a day – this was back in 2007!

There are also many studies all over the world talking about the current and future crisis of youth unemployment. A university education is certainly not a solution to this problem, nor is getting a trade. As I see it, the crisis is due largely to a lack of new industries, such as automotive, the telephone, and so many more that were launched in the last century. That kind of explosion can’t be sustained today, not by people nor by the planet.

The other issue is increased automation. Machines can lower production costs, increase efficiency, and create some jobs. However, the net effect may be less jobs overall.

I’ve had these discussions in the slow periods with a few of the workers at my 7-eleven down the street, especially with the young guy who’s been working there a few years now . . . the one with the honor’s degree in chemistry. We talk late at night while he’s whipping up tomorrow’s hoagies.

If you don’t believe me, it’s all on tape. We can actually watch each other live on the overhead monitor. One of these days I’ve got to remember to shine up the back of my head, maybe even use some of that glow-in-the-dark glitter glue?

Some guys will do anything for a halo effect!

On the serious side, it seems there are some simple solutions to all this mayhem. First, if I (we) no longer have any legal right to privacy, then dammit I (we) should have the right to at least look good on camera. After all, the president and so many others have their make-up crew nearby all the time, so wherever there is a camera there should be someone available to powder my nose, trim those nostrils, shine my head and so on. Voila, unemployment no longer exists.

I’ll leave it for you to add your own touch to these opportunities – feel free to add your own!

It seems appropriate to once again include that beautiful video, Diana Ross singing “Do You Know?” Aside from being gorgeous in both audio and video, it has this haunting cultural message to it. By the way, her image appears less than 75 times.

Finally, when you think about, almost everything in this Diana Ross video touches on the messages that are in Dawn at Last, right down to a little mahogany and especially the butterfly. You have to think about it though, and please do.

Leaves that look like rocks

The Good Men Project . . . and all that Jazz

Since my last post I’ve submitted my first article to The Good Men Project. I stuck to my guns and stayed on this topic of musing. That’s not so easy, given that the only gun I own is the one under my cap!

The Unexpected . . . 

It was a hard article to write, but with some fine editorial advice I think it came out pretty good. How do I know it’s good? Some might call it by “gut check” or intuition, but for me it has become more than that . . . it’s what I sometimes refer to as, “unexpected pleasant surprises”. They happen often enough in normal life, but when they show up in the creative process, it’s different.

Each surprise is a unique, though what’s common is this “just knowing” feeling . . . it’s a selfless kind of self-confidence. There is a personal trust in the musing that happens . . . like a little jazz? Sometimes there is this kind of a “wow” reaction, sometimes it’s more of, “Geez, that’s really nice!”

I’ve come to the point where I’ll seldom publish anything without doing that kind of check. Sometimes though, with complex or abstract issues, I’m guilty of being less focused than I need to be, for the benefit of others. One issue ties into many others, becoming complex, hence the need for more focus.

The Excruciating . . .

Strangely, the most difficult kind of writing for me is what I’ll call the promotional kind, and yet I spent the majority of my corporate life in that very activity.

There really are no “ah ha” moments in that kind of writing, except maybe with one recent exception. Like most writers, describing one’s work in a book description – the blurb – can be excruciating. It never seems to come out right. However, about a week ago a book reviewer offered to take a look at Dawn at Last. First she wanted me to answer one simple question, “What makes your book different than the rest?”

The answer flowed out with almost no effort. It took me longer to type it than to think it, which is always a good sign. Here’s how I answered her:

  1. It’s the way the lives (and stories) of six quirky characters interweave.
  2. It’s about love more than a love story – by the end you may wonder whether Love herself is the unsung hero.
  3. It’s excruciatingly difficult to peg the book into one or even two genres – it’s erotic but not erotica; it’s a mystery, though the crime is perhaps debatable; the underlying issues are really quite serious, yet dealt with in a playful & humorous way.
  4. When you read it for the second or third time, after waiting awhile, most likely you will read it slightly differently, and discover something new.
  5. Other than that, to finish the question, it has a great cover!
This is really what I’d like those curious about the book to know. I’m seriously thinking of changing my book description on Amazon and elsewhere to include these five points. You many not realize it, but my answer above says a great deal about the muses, about musing.
 
 
Now I’d like to just sit back and listen. In this context “listening” means reading, as in your comments. Since most of my readers are Americans, and given that’s basically thanksgiving now, I’d love to hear what you have to say . . . an anecdote here or there . . . one of your own little unexpected surprises . . . the ones that make for great big memories!
 
Happy Thanksgiving . . . and all that jazz!
 

Life Without Fear

I wonder how many people in our culture, or any culture for that matter, really understand this teaching:

Girl in Yoga Position

Found on Pinterest, originally from Amy Jirsa – Quiet Earth Yoga

I know it may be very hard to comprehend the truth of this, especially in the part of the world I live in . . . this way of thinking is not widely taught. Certainly the main stream media, and many other institutions, do not want you or I to think this way – it flies in the face of greed when you think about. It’s also bad for a lot of business.

Put as simply as I can, this is why I like watching butterflies and trees and the wind and the clouds. There is this truth there, life without fear. That is part of what inspires me. Enjoy your Monday.

Going Where No Reader Cares to Go . . . in Cyberspace

This is a follow-up to my previous post, Reading, The Environment, though you don’t necessarily have to read it to understand this one.

A lot of what I wrote in that post is verified in a way by the following four articles I’ve found on this whole issue of ebooks, book publishing, reading and independent authorship.

Forbes Magazine – Excellent Article on Indie Books

The Verge – Ebook Self-Publishing

Publishers Weekly – Best Selling Ebooks of 2012

Huff Post (Canada Books) – Smashwords Owner’s Predictions for 2013

The pros and cons of self-publishing are really well described in these articles above. That need for filtering comes up time and again – essentially my list of Top 10 is my own attempt to do just that – here’s what I did.

Methodology

First, I picked a popular category, such as “Literature & Fiction> Romance”. From there, I went where no man dares to go – below the Top 100 – into the depths – as deep as 1,500 titles under the See! I’d have searched further down, would have liked to see what #28,043 looked like, but I couldn’t. The system wouldn’t let me get past 1,500 which means that if there is a book I want to look at down there, I need to use the search function, so I’d need to know the name of it, or author or ISBN.

Selection Process

To begin, the main sort I use in any given category is “New & Popular”. Basically, when I go deeper I’m looking for less popular, yet good reads – kind of like panning for gold.

My selections are close to random. I ignore popular authors that are down the list, dead or alive, and there are a ton down there – people like Charles Dickens, Herman Hesse, Hemingway and many, many more. There also plenty of living writers down there, but with their older titles. This is kind of odd though, given that the sort is “New & Popular” – huh?

I also found one sub-genre kind of amusing. Did you know that on one site, if you look under “Literature & Fiction” you can find a sub-category called “Literary Fiction” – too funny!

For any given category I pick out around fifty books to look at. I don’t look at price, try to ignore covers and titles, but what I do look at is page counts. On the lower end, I don’t include any under 200 pages – to me that’s close to a novella. Almost all the titles are around 250 – 300 pages, and a few are closer to 400. I’ve also kept away from books that are part of a series, unless it’s the first book.

Looking Inside and Then Some

Once I’ve gotten this list together, I start previewing more than reviewing. This is really a two-step process, and one that typically results in about 80% being discarded. With the remaining 20% I go back and take a closer look, and from there the list gets whittled down to titles that I’d definitely consider buying based on what I’d read.

This is not the same as doing a book review, nor was it ever intended to be. There are a few real benefits as an indie author in doing this kind of exercise, at least for me. I’m fairly well read, really eclectic interests, and I don’t need to read a ton of classics to know whether my book is worth reading, or is “marketable”. After all, if the classics are the benchmark, there are tons of successful, well-written books that fail that test.

Final Selection Criteria

First is the “flow” test. Call it style if you will. If something is written this century or the last, I really don’t want to have to work at reading every second or third sentence. I’m pretty sure everyone reading this understands what I mean. By the way, if you are thinking grammar should be first, that stuff’s gone with the 80% – I’m past that stage.

The next thing is the boredom factor – Have I read this before in one form or another? I realize there may be all kinds of plot turns and twists down the road, but one does get a feel for this. Often it’s uninteresting characters or overly long, drawn out setting descriptions, or perhaps a tinge of melodrama, that makes something boring. It’s almost like many writers are simply trying too hard to grab your attention, and it has the opposite effect.

Third, there is the novelty aspect – it’s pretty easy to tell when a story is just going to get better – kind of like it’s worth buying just to see what actually does happen. I really avoid copycats. As an aside, I’m guessing that in some genres, a solid 10% or more are basically fifty shade knock-offs, and I haven’t even looked in any “erotica” categories . . . yet!

Results

After all of that I had a list of 10 books that I’d say are worth reading as they are published. While I didn’t keep track of the ones that were “close”, I’d say there was about another ten – these are the ones who simply need a little editorial polishing – as stated in those articles at the top, there is a big demand and need for those editorial services.

As it turns out, I have a bit of egg on my face with my Top 10 list, but at the same time I also had one of those “ah ha” moments. The embarrassment came when I did one more final check for independence. I discovered that 7 of the 10 books I chose were actually published by a major publisher, in print first, so the authors are not indies. That means that in the end, after going through over 150 titles, I found 3 that I’d say are really good indie books, on par with the standard set by traditional publishers.

The “ah ha” aspect is that this kind of validated my process, and my skills, at picking out talent. By accidentally mixing indie authors with traditionally published ones, I inadvertently validated the results!

Conclusions

Realizing this is still a very crude process, based on the 3 of 150 titles I found, that means that perhaps 2% of indie titles really have market potential. What does 2% mean though? Well, first, how many indie titles are actually out there? Smashwords is definitely a major player in launching new indie works. They’re putting out almost 100,000 a year now, and cumulatively they are at about 250,000. Then there are other similar services, as well as number of indies who simply publish directly, with no intermediary.

It’s not easy to get a handle on that number. I’m sure there is a strange exaggeration out there about the total books available – the highest number I’ve come across is something 4,000,000 – I don’t think so!

My best estimate, and I think this may be on the high side, is perhaps there are 500,000 ebooks available, fiction only and by indies, and novels (say 70,000 + words). On the low side, using that criteria, it may be as low as 300,000. If my 2% estimate is in the ball park, that means that there are about 6,000 to 10,000 indie works out there with serious market potential – that’s where issues like discovery come into play.

To put that into perspective, as I found in one of those 4 articles mentioned at the top, the traditional publishers claimed that they had 1,000 titles that sold 25,000 or more copies in ebook format in 2012.

I’ll leave you to draw your own conclusions on that . . . this post is getting very long as it is. However, aside from the numbers, I’d also say that it seems like the overall quality of writing that many readers’ find acceptable has certainly gone down. I’m saying that because I looked at a couple of current bestsellers by indie authors and I know that neither of them would have made the first cut in my selection process – that makes the market somewhat unpredictable, certainly from the traditional point of view.

Finally, through all of this, one huge intangible benefit is the confidence I’ve gained about SUNNI KNOWS. I’ll put my book up against any indie standard, or one for published works, so for me it really is an issue of discovery.

If you’re a non-Kindle user, you can order my book on Kobo . . . then you can read it on your favorite e-reading device . . . have a great weekend!

Top 10 Reasons To Work From Home

This title isn’t quite complete – it should also include something about working solo, so in this context, here goes!

  1. On birthdays, at the surprise office party, I get all the corners, and now the cake only has 4 pieces!
  2. Some of those telemarketers can be really sweet, my bff for a few minutes, especially if she can manage to turn off that “Your call may be monitored…” function – still wondering when my quality will be good enough not to require the control purposes.
  3. When it comes to softball, now I’m always at bat!
  4. Over time, you learn that overtime is actually two words.
  5. Ellen can actually be pretty cool . . . over time she’s taught me to dance!
  6. You learn that staff meetings are something you can do in bed.
  7. Eventually you need to call an exterminator to find all the post-it notes.
  8. You no longer have time for two hours of minesweeper every day.
  9. You can give the cleaning staff the day off, and sometimes, if you’re really nice, it’s okay to make that two or three!
  10. Dreaming – day or night – goes uninterrupted and turns into an amazing novel or some fine art!
  11. Going out for pizza becomes an adventure . . . enjoy this video, it’s hilarious:

The Pizza Adventure!

Finally, if you’d like to add to my list, feel free to comment . . . love to hear from you!

Catalog Writing, and then a Book

If you’re familiar with my blog at all, you’ve probably figured out that I enjoy the now-old TV show, Seinfeld.

One of my favorite characters is Mr. Peterman, mostly because when the show was in its heyday, one of main job duties was writing catalog copy for the gardening catalogs I was running – yeah, there were a few “Elaines” around!

Contrary to what the video might suggest, when you write for a catalog, or for advertising, you really are forced to write concisely, yet effectively. The legends (gurus?) of advertising used to claim that all writers should have a stint in advertising. If you think that’s pompous or silly, here’s three writers who spent some time in advertising as copywriters:

Salman Rushdie

Helen Gurley Brown

F. Scott Fitzgerald

I could say more, but then I might be accused of being a windbag . . . should we just keep it at pompous? Honestly though, since I’ve never been to Africa, I’d really like to tell you some of my hockey stories . . . they’re funny. Ha, there’s even a little of that in Dawn at Last!

Salman Rushdie on Seinfeld