Thursday, March 29, 2012

The Music of the Night

Tonight is a little more Jack’s Mannequin and a little less The Civil Wars. That’s just a reference to the station I chose on Pandora, not any reference to my mood. I had one ear plugged into my Poison & Wine radio station all afternoon anyway. I’m ready for something with a little more energy.

It’s a little weird to write from home. I don’t remember the last time I wrote prose while in my apartment. It’s been a while. I often write lyrics or poems, but not prose. I usually fill the kind of time prose takes with video games, books, or movies.

On a completely random note, I’m finding it difficult to remember to use Oxford commas. We don’t use them at work so I spend plenty of time deleting them from copy. Yes, you can get paid for that. It’s a little weird, but hey, if they want to pay me to delete commas, that’s cool.

I am, however, applying for a new position at work. We have three web copywriting positions open and the hiring manager told me specifically that she wants to tailor one of those positions to an entry-level position that uses my skill set, which she thinks the team needs. I’m not entirely sure what she thinks that skill set is, but the entire copywriting team, web and direct, apparently to have good things to say about me when I’m not around.  

The woman in HR who is in charge of recruiting called me down to her office today to talk to me about what they want from me. She had a conversation with our new SVP of Creative Services and they decided they wanted me to go through the whole application process in the standard way. This means they want a portfolio from me, even if I have to fake it. This is contrary to the information I received from the hiring manager and it’s clear that the three of them ought to sit down and have one conversation instead of several different conversations depending on who is talking to whom.

In the meantime, I’m submitting to the will of the gods and doing what was requested of me. I don’t really mind, since I really don’t have anything else going on most of the time and can just get paid to make this portfolio. My current plan is to gather the articles that I’ve had “published” on our company Intranet, include a few of my poems (specifically one titled “Seeming” that uses clothing metaphors heavily), and make up some fake ads/copy for the company.

Which is what I spent my afternoon doing. I jacked the template for our retail postcards from the server and made up two ad campaigns with original copy. I may do a third. Considering I’ve written hundreds of poems and a collection of lyrics I’ve never bothered to count, it’s not as though that kind of creative writing is challenging in the slightest.

At the recommendation of our senior copy editor, I’m going to find some pieces I’m not familiar with and come up with my own names and copy for them. He suggested finding the actual clothing, but I think I’m going to just take advantage of my access to our images server and find a few worthwhile archived pieces and include them with my “copy”. When I’ve put everything together, I’m going to have him take a look at it and tell me what he thinks. He’s pretty critical, so that should be good. Lord knows, I hate it when I write something, ask someone to edit it and all they have to tell me is that my work is wonderful. I’m not so talented that I don’t need to edit at all. If there aren’t typos somewhere, I’m sure some of my transitions could be improved. Somewhere in all those sentences there has to be one that is weighty, awkward or could at least use improved diction. Telling a writer his first draft is wonderful is actually kind of insulting, I think. Perhaps disrespectful is better. Take a second and think about it. You’re my editor. Edit.

In other news, writing is going pretty well. I haven’t done as much work on any of my creative projects as I’d like, though I did write the first scene of a comic/TV show out. That’s the Angelus entry. It’s friend’s only due to wanting to protect my copyright-worthy ideas. Of course, I haven’t made it a week yet, but as things stand, come tomorrow I’ll have written approximately seven thousand words. Only 155 weeks to go!

I jest. Not regarding the intended amount of time, but that I’m counting. This is about the journey, not the goal. It’s about the art that stems from it and the growth of self. It’s about self-discovery and creation. Stories and entries are the byproduct. They’re the scenery you see as you drive down Highway 200 through Montana: the breathtaking beauty of a twisting highway married to the curves of the Clark Fork river. My work is the vista we see from one of the many viewpoints along the way. They’re beautiful and we’ll never forget them, but it’s the drive that matters. Without it, we’d see nothing.

Thank you, if you’re still reading, for heading out on the road with me. When we stop for the night, let’s pull out Kerouac and read aloud to each other. I’ve never read it, myself. It’s on my list, along with Fahrenheit 451. Whaddya say?

I was thinking about how this project adds up in the terms of psychology. According to the scientists I’ve been reading, it takes 10,000 hours of practice to achieve Mastery of anything. In those terms, Bradbury’s little challenge to the want-to-be writers of the world makes a lot of sense. I don’t think writing a thousand words every day for three years will quite add up to 10,000 hours, but it’s certainly a damn good start and hardly includes the uncounted hours I’ve done so since I was a child.

If nothing else, I’ll walk away from this with an awesome habit. I hope it helps me accomplish one of my other desires while I’m at it: I want to be someone who inspires others through his passions. My announcement of this plan already had someone declare a similar intent, though he has yet to follow through at all. But hey, that’s enough to make me smile and chalk one up for my purpose. If someone wants to walk my path with me, that’s wonderful. In the meantime, the guy singing Edwin McCain’s “I’ll Be” while he’s wandering down the halls at work is pretty good company.

And a thousand words, goodnight.


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