A page from Thoreau’s Journal
This is a page from Thoreau’s Journal, scanned from a copy of the original volume held at the Morgan Library & Museum in New York. It startles me a bit to see the sketch of a familiar object like an acorn embedded in text that looks all but incomprehensible.
It’s a testament to the quality of the Journal that Bradford Torrey and Francis Allen were willing to decipher all two million words of it, then edit it for publication in the 1906 edition.
Today a team of editors at Princeton are revisiting the Journal for an annotated scholarly edition that has already taken longer to produce than the 24 years Thoreau spent writing it in the first place. Volume 1 appeared in 1981, Volume 8 is the most recent, and there is still a long way to go.
DeVito/Verdi hits one out of the park
A friend and marketing veteran who works for DeVito/Verdi let me know about an ad campaign for Suffolk University that caught the attention of the Boston Globe.
In one ad, the Boston school portrays itself as “a university whose students have their nose to the grindstone instead of stuck up in the air.” Another describes Suffolk as a school for students who “rely on their will to succeed, not their father’s will.”
The edgy new campaign that brands Suffolk as a school for the common student will be launched Friday with ads in print, radio, television, online, and inside MBTA trains. It is the first university-wide marketing effort at Suffolk in eight years.
There’s no substitute for knowing your client, knowing your audience, and crafting a message that’s just for them. And it doesn’t hurt when you can tweak the Ivy League at the same time.
For more on the campaign, visit Suffolk University.
June on the High Line
Late yesterday afternoon, I took my first walk on the High Line in months. Flowers in profusion, including the glowing spires of the foxtail lily.
The figurative bull
E*Trade is certainly slinging some bull here, but whether it’s figurative or literal I can’t say.
Non-Advice for Writers from Jeffrey Ford
Jeffrey Ford, one of our best writers, recently posted this on Facebook. My wife, wisely recognizing it should not be lost, copied it and passed it along to me.
Recently a student at a writing program I’d visited wrote to me to ask for any advice I might have for his class about being a fiction writer. I told him I couldn’t offer advice. It’s not that I doubt good advice can be given, but I’m just suspicious as to whether it can be given by me. Instead I offered a list of things I, personally, believe to be true for myself (at the moment) and told them the more important question is what do they believe in for themselves. Here’s my list.
- You gotta love your work.
- Revision is the key.
- Master the skill of daydreaming and from time to time analyze its processes.
- Be a practiced observer.
- Take time to talk to friendly strangers.
- Only by forgetting about the money have I made money.
- Listen to children and animals.
- Speak your mind. Let the inmost become the outmost.
- Enjoy your freakin life.
- Be kind to other travelers you might meet on the path.
- Enjoy your colleagues’ successes.
- One must retain a zest for the battle.
- You will never learn more from a teacher or a workshop than you will from the act of writing.
- Swim through libraries.
- Family and friendships trump the importance of writing.
- Irony is the engine of the world.
- Vital fiction is not the result of hiding but an act of revelation.
- Be skeptical of advice.
- Always try to work with great editors.
- Never run with the pack as there is always a point where you will be left behind. Strike out on your own. Let your intuition be your guide.