On writing, like carpentry, it goes back a long way with me. As a five year old I found a small hand saw of my grandfathers in his kitchen and started sawing away on a kitchen drawer. In first grade I read about Zeke the carpenter and I wanted to be one.
The writing began a few years later, just two or three years later in the fourth or fifth grade, the teacher had us write pen-pal letters to another classroom in a different state being taught by a friend of hers. It caught on.
In the eighth grade while at the beach with my cousin, we met some girls and exchanged addresses and the pen-pal thing went on for a year or two before petering out. I always enjoyed writing and receiving notes, cards, letters. Much more so than a phone call. Once the phone call is over, the memory went with it, or so it seems. A handwritten letter was read, over and over again. I still reread cards and notes sent snail mail, their worth is not lost on me.
Phone calls are easy, a hand written something, takes a bit more effort. A hand made card, written upon and then sent, always arrives, dripping with love.
No this writing thing goes back further than my carpentry, well maybe not further, that saw thing happened before I was able to write. I did build a napkin box for my mother while in the sixth grade which she kept for years. Had I put in the time and effort into this writing trade as I later did as a carpenter who knows where I’d be sitting.
Over the ensuing years I did continue to write letters, I keep journals, still. Although the earlier ones have been lost, with the memory is going, writing today helps with the diminishing returns on a body wearing out not being able to stand up to the tasks of being a carpenter any longer, so I guess the writing thing will come to the surface as long as the mind stays sharp, that being questionable already by some.
Years ago, I started sharing on paper, thoughts I had while reading the Bible. Sending them out to those expressing an interest in receiving them. Three uncles always offered encouragement. The letter writing as such , being copied, hand addressed, stamped, then posted and sent, was not always well received. O well.
At one point I’d send post cards, the plain Jane, pre-stamped, sold by the USPO. I used a drafts-mans lettering aid to help with keeping my terrible handwriting somewhat legible. I could squeeze quite a few words onto one of those cards.
I started putting these ‘Gospel Thoughts’ as they came to be called, into the local newspaper in the city where I lived at the time. I’d work an extra Saturday to pay for it and the writing continued.
Considering the pen-pals, the cards, notes and Gospel Thoughts, when a local college offered an evening course in writing post cards for business purposes, I signed up right away. The concept of the class was putting together a business advertisement that would catch the recipient’s eye, making an impression from the start.
This was geared for local advertisement by businesses in the neighborhood. We were taught it had to be ‘done from the front door to the waste basket, a thirty or forty second time frame’.
Pithy advertising. My vision was a bit different than the others taking the class. I wanted to condense my Gospel Thoughts to the same time constraints. The understanding of the word ‘Pithy’ came from a recipient of my writing. Telling me my writing were Pithy. I had to look that one up.
That pithy-ness, I’ve tried to carry over into my other writings as well. I’m not sure how successful I’ve been, I’ve been asked for more, more words, more, more, more. I’m reluctant to give. Very reluctant. If you’ve noticed the magazines with their full color spreads, and much fewer words, leaves little for a fertile mind. But then, their selling, I’m not.
In doing this selling, we as a society, are being sold short, very short. Snake oil come to mind, snake oil and misquoted gems from the word of God. One being ‘money is the root of all evil’, taken as is, the rise of socialism is upon us. Taken as intended, “the love of money is the root of all evil” it’s corruption, not capitalism, that’s the problem.
Words or pretty pictures? We know what sells, and many of us are very much aware of this.
It would seem I’ve lost the pithy-ness somewhere in the midst of this narrative.
More, more, I’ve been told.
Michael j beebe