SLOGAN


SLOGAN

by Sharon Stevens

“Tiffany’s blue box is a slogan without words.”

Words of Wisdom by Seth Godin

from Advertising Creative, Strategy, Copy, Design

by Tom Altstiel & Jean Grow

My husband and I were eating out at Jason’s Deli recently and I watched as a young mother tried to corral two little girls at their table. Juggling with keeping them seated in their chairs and retrieving upended juice boxes was a wistful and precious sight especially since our days of parenting were long past. Not wanting to intrude on their frustration I returned to my salad and conversation with my husband until I heard the woman quietly tell her daughter to sit down and eat her supper. (How many times have I said those same words?) But when she called the little child by name my heart absolutely melted as it was warmed with memories of long ago.

Molly. Such a simple symbol, and an old one at that. I didn’t think anyone named their children with such an unassuming, gender specific heirloom in this day and age. It only took a moment for me to be flooded with incredible tenderness at the mere mention of this old-fashioned name.

Instantly I remembered a little red, Radio Flyer wagon, a neighbor, lilacs, cottonwoods and a kindness without detail. Every sweet memory I have of childhood is related to Molly and then glory, rejoicing, sunshine, and the artistry of colors, so many colors, every color of the rainbow. I see it. I feel it. I smell it. I hear it. I even taste it. That’s what the sound of her name and her link to the little red wagon means to me.

I could never relate to a Tiffany box. My family doesn’t run in these circles. Hardly any of my friends connect to it either. On second thought, none of my friends, family or acquaintances would recognize such an item. As far as I know this kind of box can only be seen on Antique Roadshow on PBS where they are always reminding the public that the item is WAY more valuable if it comes in the original package.  And we don’t put much stock into this either, not because any of us are poor. We just don’t want to spend any extra money on a luxury that gives nothing in return.

The artist Jack Sorenson explains that it is so important to him to paint a picture that instantly tells a story to everyone who sees it. In his artwork you feel warmth, and love, sometimes a little high-jinks, but all in good fun, never ugly, no despair, just some good old-fashioned, down home thoughts.

As writers we must try to convey the theme and mood of our piece to our target audience. If you are writing about wealth and riches, by all means write about the Tiffany box, but then again pay close attention to the heart of your story. Even a sweet remembrance like O. Henry’s “Gift of the Magi” can be revived with a new twist to an age old tale. It’s the name of Tiffany that tells you someone is more than just a spendthrift with nose-up-in-the-air haughty, with lavish lifestyles, designer gowns of incredible red carpet sparkle, jewels with heavy bling from head to toe, and mega million dollar mansions. The blue box is the status symbol, but you have to have what goes inside before you can truly relate. They don’t just sell the box.

But give me the image of a little red, Radio Flyer wagon any day of the week. And send me those who fit into that vintage category and who enjoy simplicity and childhood memories as well.

These are my kind of people…the ones who will name their child Molly. After all,  a rose by any other name…

Sharon Stevens

SLOGAN


SLOGAN

by Sharon Stevens

“Tiffany’s blue box is a slogan without words.”

Words of Wisdom by Seth Godin

from Advertising Creative, Strategy, Copy, Design

by Tom Altstiel & Jean Grow

My husband and I were eating out at Jason’s Deli recently and I watched as a young mother tried to corral two little girls at their table. Juggling with keeping them seated in their chairs and retrieving upended juice boxes was a wistful and precious sight especially since our days of parenting were long past. Not wanting to intrude on their frustration I returned to my salad and conversation with my husband until I heard the woman quietly tell her daughter to sit down and eat her supper. (How many times have I said those same words?) But when she called the little child by name my heart absolutely melted as it was warmed with memories of long ago.

Molly. Such a simple symbol, and an old one at that. I didn’t think anyone named their children with such an unassuming, gender specific heirloom in this day and age. It only took a moment for me to be flooded with incredible tenderness at the mere mention of this old-fashioned name.

Instantly I remembered a little red, Radio Flyer wagon, a neighbor, lilacs, cottonwoods and a kindness without detail. Every sweet memory I have of childhood is related to Molly and then glory, rejoicing, sunshine, and the artistry of colors, so many colors, every color of the rainbow. I see it. I feel it. I smell it. I hear it. I even taste it. That’s what the sound of her name and her link to the little red wagon means to me.

I could never relate to a Tiffany box. My family doesn’t run in these circles. Hardly any of my friends connect to it either. On second thought, none of my friends, family or acquaintances would recognize such an item. As far as I know this kind of box can only be seen on Antique Roadshow on PBS where they are always reminding the public that the item is WAY more valuable if it comes in the original package.  And we don’t put much stock into this either, not because any of us are poor. We just don’t want to spend any extra money on a luxury that gives nothing in return.

The artist Jack Sorenson explains that it is so important to him to paint a picture that instantly tells a story to everyone who sees it. In his artwork you feel warmth, and love, sometimes a little high-jinks, but all in good fun, never ugly, no despair, just some good old-fashioned, down home thoughts.

As writers we must try to convey the theme and mood of our piece to our target audience. If you are writing about wealth and riches, by all means write about the Tiffany box, but then again pay close attention to the heart of your story. Even a sweet remembrance like O. Henry’s “Gift of the Magi” can be revived with a new twist to an age old tale. It’s the name of Tiffany that tells you someone is more than just a spendthrift with nose-up-in-the-air haughty, with lavish lifestyles, designer gowns of incredible red carpet sparkle, jewels with heavy bling from head to toe, and mega million dollar mansions. The blue box is the status symbol, but you have to have what goes inside before you can truly relate. They don’t just sell the box.

But give me the image of a little red, Radio Flyer wagon any day of the week. And send me those who fit into that vintage category and who enjoy simplicity and childhood memories as well.

These are my kind of people…the ones who will name their child Molly. After all,  a rose by any other name…

Sharon Stevens

CHRISTMAS


CHRISTMAS
by Sharon Stevens
My husband was outside mowing as I was finishing up this week’s blog on the first day of summer. With the recent rains he was already behind in keeping the weeds at bay. In the house I had just cut up a cantaloupe to put in the refrigerator, really wishing for homemade ice cream instead that signified a return to summer memories. Within the last couple of years our area had faced deadly drought, reminders of the dust bowl days that once had sucked the life out of every living thing, wildflowers included.
May 29th celebrated the 70th anniversary during World War II of Bing Crosby’s recording of “White Christmas”. Jeff Messer, the chaplain of Bivin’s Foundation had posted in the Amarillo Globe News about the story, and described what a morale booster this was for those in service and those on the home front.
When I think of Christmas like everyone else I picture glittering snow, shiny tinsel, curling ribbon, rolls of wrapping paper, evergreen and holly wreaths, and of course Santa Claus. You wouldn’t think that summer months are the perfect time to remember the holidays, but in all actuality this is a great time to set down family memories.
The Otwell Twins describe dressing in holiday costumes when it was still sweltering in California. The Lawrence Welk specials were taped in late summer, and they told me it was hard for everyone to get into the Christmas spirit weighed down with heavy velvet under the hot stage lights.
Jack Sorenson tells me that when he gets ready to paint his Christmas Santa his wife turns up the air conditioner and decorates his studio in twinkling lights encircled around the tree. The only thing missing is the yule log crackling in the fireplace, and gingerbread cookies along with a glass of milk waiting on the hearth for ole Saint Nick.
For years publishing houses and magazines called for submissions six months ahead which meant that June is the time for holiday stories. With the Internet and Facebook you would think that you could wait until at least the fall to send in polished work, but they are already deciding what will go into those issues. Chicken Soup for the Soul is one example that needs those tales shared.
Even if you are not interested in sending in a story of Christmas or Hanukah celebrations or disasters, now would be a great time to stretch your writing skills. As you are watching the grass grow or melting in summer heat pull out your writing utensils and try to capture the shiver of building snowmen, the warmth of hand stitched quilts, the smell of pecan pie and so on and so on. Take every little bit of the experience and shape it into a story. Write a poem and weave the threads together. Pen a song that helps you to remember just why you celebrate with your families and friends this special time of year.
You may be surprised to find you have a classic on your hands that sends a timeless message to be read year after year around the family hearth.
And now I think I will go get a piece of cantaloupe out of the fridge and imagine its snow ice cream, all the while dreaming of a “White Christmas”.
Sharon Stevens