“Almost all words do have color, and nothing is more pleasant than to utter a pink word and see someone’s eyes light up and know it is a pink word for him or her, too.” (Gladys Taber)
Back in my post grads day at the Ad School in Atlanta, I had a copywriting mentor (the actual head of the writing department at the school) who did a lot to challenge my writing style. My first few quarters there were all about settling in and embracing the process. But, as she reminded me on a few occasions, writing is about a conversation. Not a lecture.
Or as she used to say to me…. “Stop being so preachy!”
She was the one who introduced me to the writings of Tom Robbins. Still Life With Woodpecker was the first of his novels that I consumed. And there have been plenty more since. Doreen (the mentor) encouraged me to loosen up (I was heavy into preppy clothing, and she chided me one time during an end-of-semester review that the ads and copy I was showing for the final “looked like they came from someone wearing suspenders and a bow tie”). She quipped that I needed to “fill your bed with Jell-O and roll around in it nekkid.” For a kid from West Texas, this was just too….wild. (But boy has that, well, boy changed a lot over the last 20 years.)
She was also the one on the other end of the phone line that would remind me that “I had a quirky writing style that not everyone was going to get….let alone like. The secret to my job searching success would be finding the right place with people who DO appreciate my writing.”
But over the years, I have encountered some polarity to my writing. I guess I’ve had to face it through every interview I’ve been in. Or every time I’ve shared my portfolio with possible agencies.
The best thing, though, is when I HAVE found those connections. Having clients/employers/partners who totally get what I’m saying through my word choices.
So, as I’m sitting here thinking about the possibilities that 2010 will bring, I’m reminded by not only the words of Doreen, the grad school mentor. But also the quote from Gladys Taber.
Gravitate toward those who gravitate toward me. Those who don’t just see “pink” but actually feel pink when they see the word.