Friday, February 5, 2016

"Sweet overtones of cocoa...subtle aftertaste of raisins"

The enticing words about a certain coffee blend in Trader Joe's recent flyer reminded me of days, some years actually, spent as an advertising and public relations copywriter for a small, shall we say limited market.  They reminded me of being hired to sell what were, at times, goods and services without unique aspects, sometimes almost without aspects of any sort.  A moving company whose only hook was that they wouldn't break your stuff, a pleasant enough seafood restaurant with lots of competition, an eating contest (!), radio spots for car dealers, plus a regional bank and a local dress shop that put on fashion shows.  Some of the copy I actually remember, a tiny portion of it won prizes from the area's advertising club, some I've lost altogether.

Mostly, what this train of thought brought up was how certain jobs help us find our muscle.  We grow stronger (or stranger) pushing against deadlines, occasionally turning nothing into something, digging and probing and prodding to unearth one bit of color or humor or drama around which to build a story, one that is mostly true.  We are strengthened by casting wildly about our stored language to find words that will elevate what is ordinary, regular, to something with a bit more shine.

We don't realize when we occupy them that these jobs are boot camp, from which we either wash out or get promoted.  Or choose to enter another line of work.  We don't know in 1975 that in 2016 we will look back and appreciate the impossible clients and interviews, passed along to us by a much more impossible boss as the last stop. This may have been the assignment that helped me believe everyone must possess sparkle, no matter how elusive.

It's all tap dancing.  Some of it requires a typewriter.


Kass said...

I'm wondering if the criteria for noticing sparkle in others is a result of your highly developed rhodopsin, the chemical that creates electrical impulses in the optic nerve...but really, I think something else is responsible for your sharp, detailed inner vision.

Marylinn Kelly said...

Kass - The gift of a new word! Thank you. I have, for some time, felt it was a synaptical issue, the jumping from one thing to a seemingly-unconnected other. It is one among a small bouquet of curious gifts that I treasure. I hope your Saturday is a cheery one. Here in Los Angeles County there are clear skies and will be warm sun, in the 80s today and climbing. It looks and feels like spring. Mother Nature can be quite the trickster. xo