Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Your hero 'writes' again.

It's been one of those months that reminds me somewhat of the good old days, when I was a full-fledged member (in excellent standing) of the magazine writers' fraternity. I've got a nice little essay in the May issue of Family Circle, on the stands now. The section, titled Road Trip, is an anthology of reflections on the role of cars in our lives; it begins on page 137. Darcy Jacobs (a writer's editor if ever there was one), was nice enough to let me be one of two men to make the cut. Avid SHAMbloggers will recall that Darcy and FamCirc also published my memoir on the special times I enjoyed with my grandson, Jordan, when he lived all too briefly in Pennsylvania. Meanwhile, my (uncredited) interview with men's-rights attorney Joe Cordell is a sidebar to a major piece on divorce in the April issue of Men's Health, which lingers on the stands. No doubt you've heard some of Cordell's in-your-face radio spots. Those of you who think that the world has turned completely around such that men now enjoy equal standing with women in the eyes of Family Court...you really need to read this interview.

Don't get me wrong. The PR writing that lately gets most of the play on my LinkedIn page and professional site is, for the most part, an honest living. I've done award-winning annual reports for NYSE-listed companies, and I'm enormously proud of those. I got my clients' respective messages across with flair, via many nice touches that are atypical in that type of writing; I like to think the awards we won recognized me for it. (I say "we" because the client wins the awards; my corporate work is anonymous.) I've taken on public-relations projects that were every bit as complex and challenging as any investigative piece I ever did for magazines including Harper's, The Los Angeles Times Magazine, American Legion, Worth and others. I've done superior work in branding or re-branding. PR can also be a spectacular living, certainly on a pro-rata basis. There've been periods in my life (2000-2010 in particular) when 2- or 3-week PR projects paid all the bills for six months or more. There was one ongoing damage-control scenario some years back that paid as muchby itselfas I'd earned the previous year. This was a headline news story—you'd remember itbut as is invariably the case in such work, I am not at liberty to divulge the client or the precise nature of my activities. I can tell you that I made a difference in the way the rest of the media handled, and especially reflected on, the story. 

Alas, that kind of work hasn't come along much in recent times, and regardless of my success at it, it never quite felt like...real writing...anyway. The writers in the audience know of what I speak. Real writing is reflective, original (each time), and writer-generated. It may be written with an audience in mindotherwise why write?but the presentation and point of view are uniquely the author's.

Ah well, I drone on. 
I grow old, I grow old... 

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