Apparently, I’m the weird one — because I love to write


Last week, we spent two days in Des Moines at Drake University for freshman orientation before my son attends in the fall. One of the sessions for parents and students involved learning about “the Drake curriculum” and its emphasis on critical thinking and preparation for an ever-changing future. The idea is to give students the skills to react when change occurs, to be prepared for it to happen, and even to anticipate it.

This, of course, is distinct from a curriculum that prepares a student for a profession — period. I was warmed by the presentation inasmuch as it focused on writing as a tool toward learning, mastering information and analyzing it. It forces students to consider a problem, how to approach it, what resources they require to address it and so on.

The professor, Jennifer McCrickerd, was an engaging speaker, somewhat self-effacing, with a good sense of humor. At one point, in her discussion of writing, she noted how much she hates to write. And she observed that, if we’re all honest, everyone hates to write. She went on, as I tweeted at the time:

I understand her point. Few people get how difficult writing is. Facing a blank screen can be daunting. Finding the right words in the right order. Revising. Just collecting the material can be draining. Even as I write this, I’m struggling to find precisely the right vocabulary words to convey some of the ideas I’m trying to express.

Organizing what might be a vast collection of information into something conversational, concise, logical and even eloquent is not something just anyone can do.

My heavens, I love to write. So I’m happy to be the weird one.

(Image courtesy of shira gal, via Flickr, under Creative Commons license.)

The economy of nice


In the two weeks since launching Greentree MediaWorks, my independent media consulting business, you might imagine that I have been networking like crazy to meet people and make connections.

To a person, every single one I’ve met has been gracious and helpful, eager to offer ideas about more people to talk to, advice about getting the business up and running and, amazingly, some have even had some work to throw my way.

Not one person has declined to meet with me.

I have mentioned this to several of them in my conversations: How nice, welcoming and helpful everyone has been. That’s amazing to me because, basically — and everyone knows this — many of the people I’m talking to are already doing this. I’m asking for their assistance to set up shop and compete with them.

And if they’re not media/PR consultants, they are still being extremely generous as I try to extract information from their formidable brains.

I mentioned this to several of them — particularly the PR consultants. One of them noted that she had a number of people to thank for helping her get established. She’s happy to pay it forward in this way.

Maybe it’s a St. Louis thing. I don’t know. I’m just grateful that people here are looking to raise the tide for everyone. 

So, I’d just like to extend this thank you to all of the people who have agreed to meet with me since this chapter began in my life (and I have more who have said yes to meetings that haven’t happened yet).

(Image by Jeff Kubina via Flickr under Creative Commons license.)

Fun facts about St. Louis from Charlie Brennan

I enjoyed hearing KMOX’s Charlie Brennan today at the Community Service Public Relations Council luncheon in downtown Clayton. He’s promoting a book, “Amazing St. Louis,” and the longtime KMOX morning talk anchor has a lot to say about how cool he thinks St. Louis is.

Among some of the fun facts he talked about:

Jacques Chirac, the former French president, once operated a forklift for a company in St. Louis.

Missouri is the only state mentioned in all four big, epic Ken Burns documentaries: “Baseball,” “Jazz,” “The Civil War” and “Prohibition.”

While we all know Tums is made in downtown St. Louis, Brennan worked to get a plaque installed on the building to commemorate the fact that it’s the only place Tums are made. However, corporate executives wouldn’t have it. He says the company feared revealing that fact would attract terror threats.

Thanks for reading. And you’re welcome for that award-winning photo from the luncheon.