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COMMERCIAL

By Sharon Stevens

 

How do you write cute on a blank page?

I’m not talking about cuddly, kitty-cat cute, but the kind of cute that translates to Super Bowl cute! You know what I’m talking about, don’t you? How can anyone write the kind of cuteness that inspires someone else to create a thirty-second televised spot that is worth $4,000,000.00? What makes a normal human being able to turn a thought into something that can be further created into a mega-commercial? What makes moments, which can eventually be watched by many millions all over the world, the universe, for the millennium? And not only for just this one Sunday in particular, but for as long as cyberspace exists, bouncing all the way back and forth from every satellite in a Star Wars outer space.

What elevates a word so far up the media ladder it becomes an icon discussed and hashed, twittered, and treasured by anyone who has technology at their fingertips?

I can’t do it!

Oh sure, I can print the word C U T E. But when I write it, it’s just that, a word. And all the while someone else sets it to paper or gives it tangible meaning, well, it just doesn’t come out the same.

I know this, and so does everyone else who reads anything I write. I cannot take a single word and condense it down and make it come out “write.” Of course, I can’t take a million words and try to say the same things either.

How do they do it? What do they have that I don’t have? Of course they probably have a salary that gives them the freedom to do whatever they want, and a staff (how many staff?), and an unlimited budget. Incentives, how many incentives do you think they encounter in the run of a day. What cutesy offices do they have to keep the creative juices flowing? Do their secretaries hold all calls when the team is in the inspirational mode? Oh wait. That is so last century. What do they set their cell phones, I Pad, Blackberry’s, laptops, Mac’s or what have you to get them on the right track? Do they have windows to watch the skyline, or do they go out and watch a movie and munch popcorn to get them into the mood? I just can’t fathom! What’s the secret?

Someone has to write the scripts, the words, and the print. Someone has to dream the graphics, the colors, see the patterns in their heart and soul. And someone has to hear the music, not only the notes themselves, but how the lyrics combine together with the message. People spend their whole lives preparing for thirty seconds on air SEEN around the planet. And I’m not even talking half-time. Why couldn’t that be me?

I have my grandfather’s diary from World War I in France, and on January 28, 1919 he writes that he “Went down to the “Y”(YMCA) for entertainment first there was a good fine real picture and then a party of four Frenchmen: two men and two women entertained us with some high class singing. Some kind of a show that they charge $1.50 to $5.00 in some of the cities.”

Grandfather was a young man, and for the first and last time in his entire life he was millions of miles away from the family farm in East Texas. When he describes “high class singing” you can bet he meant HIGH CLASS so much more than what he wrote in his little notebook that he kept tucked into the pocket of his uniform. If they charged $1.50 to $5.00 a show, then you knew he recognized what a treat that was for not only him, but all the patriots in his unit that were in service to Uncle Sam ninety five years ago.

Because I have his diary and read the entries from the time he enlisted till the time he was discharged, I can read in between the lines and ascertain what kind of man he was, and what his interests were so many years ago.

With the Super Bowl commercials being so brief, someone has to know the audience and gauge the reaction of the world way before anything ever hits the airways. So what if four million dollars are spent on thirty seconds…how many millions are collected in the making of that one spot? What research is done within walls and outside the box from the years before all the while looking into the future, with focus groups that determine cuteness from ugly with a flicker of their eyelids, or a nod of their head, or a text on their hand held devices.

Cute just takes on a whole new meaning!

Oh how I wish I had that kind of talent! Sure I’d like to make a million dollars profit off of thirty seconds, but just as importantly (yea right), I would like to have millions look at my word “cute” and know what it meant and share my “cute” to friends, families, and neighbors, in every “Nook” and cranny all around the world and back. If just for once the majority could understand what I was trying to say and “share” accordingly.

And maybe then MY “cute” could become marketable. After all, there’s only room for ONE cute for every Super Bowl. Isn’t that write?

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HAMILTONIAN


HAMILTONIAN

by Sharon Stevens

Author Jennifer Archer encouraged us to celebrate National Book Week by choosing a book close at hand, turning to page 56, reading the fifth sentence, then posting it without listing the title of the book or author.

In an old used paperback I had culled from the shelves, next to my writing space (Natalie Bright, August 8, 2011) I found, “They ain’t nothing but animals, they really ain’t.” (1)

What fun! Intrigued I then took it one step further. My husband and I were stocking college textbooks on the shelves of our Buffalo Bookstore getting ready for the fall semester at WTAMU and I came across the words “In addition, some youngsters got involved painting artistic travel posters to decorate the area.”(2)

In another book I found “As if they were spiritual consumers, young adults are shopping around among a wide range of religious traditions, in the process they are finding new ways to incorporate religion into their daily lives:”(3) Last but not least I read in still another book, “Explain why the tour ABCFECDBA is not a Hamiltonian circuit for the graph below.”(4)

A journalist remarked that of all the generations this was the best time to be a reader, that with libraries, Kindles, Nooks, bookstores as well as Google and Bing you can read any time and any place. Since we own a bookstore filled with used paperbacks, local authors and college textbooks, and with being a living American and breathing free, I wholeheartedly agree! I can go anywhere and pick up whatever suits my fancy at any moment to coincide with my mood at the time. I am then free to put it back down if it doesn’t suit my fancy, (as in studying about the Hamiltonian Circuit) and pursue my passion somewhere else.

Each book to me is a treasure shared from the author directly to my heart. I celebrate each letter, sentence and chapter. Being involved in a writers critique group and a member of Panhandle Professional Writers I know what it takes to put words down on paper and pursue ideas to publication.

I found a chapter on literacy for children, “Many people seem to think that reading is pronouncing the sounds of letters and that writing is about copying print or putting sounds together. These people have forgotten that the purpose of reading is to make meaning.”

And I guess this is what I treasure the most in reading is to “make meaning”. Everything I read connects to some part of my life, my heart, and my soul. I read for pleasure, I read to learn, I read to relish, but I also read to share. What else is a good book for but to pass on to others. On that note, it is amazing how one of my favorite authors always seems to put words together meant just for me, “The silence seemed to stretch miles between them.”(5)

I have a Webster’s Dictionary from 1890, and the fifth sentence down on page 56 is written, “ANTIQUITIES-The remains of ancient times. In this sense it is usually plural.”

The next sentence goes on to relate that “Antiquities comprehend all the remains of ancient times; all the monuments, coins, inscriptions, edifices, history, and fragments of literature, offices, habiliments, weapons, manners, ceremonies; in short whatever respects any of the ancient nations of the earth.”

Thanks Jennifer Archer, as an author, for reminding me to celebrate everything I hold most dear. I couldn’t have written it better myself.

Sharon Stevens

1. Royal Stud, by Stuart Jason

2. Let’s Begin Reading Right,by Marjorie Fields, Lois A. Groth, Katherine L. Spangler

3. Sociology The New Millennium, by Jenifer Kunz & Claudia Stuart professors at WTAMU

4. For All Practical Purposes, Mathematical Literacy in Today’s World by Comap

5. Texas Blue by Jodi Thomas