y brother is Mr. Fixit. Everyone goes to him for practical tinkerings. When we got the phone call that my dad was sliding away, we were in his garage replacing the bearings on my bike’s wheel hub.
My sister, she’s the international speaker on medical issues. She does all those conferences and speaking tours. And she also shoves probes up people’s wazzos and makes damn good money doing it. When it comes to medical questions, everyone rings her up.
Me? Heh. Me. What do I bring to the table? Outside of corporate compliance and a wide span of devoured books, not much. As the black sheep of the family, about all I’ve done notable is writing, and even that is limited to a lot of web foolishness, several magazine articles and three books (available in the link below, via this blogsite’s gift shop).
So it’s nothing short of incredible when one of them rings up one of me with a need for help on anything.
But my sister did – she had a pitch coming up to a group representing medical headhunters and the practical issues of that calling (stress, burnout, and frustration). This is my sister’s niche, the place she speaks of most. And now she had to produce copy quick. And she wanted it to shine. So she called me.
Me? I blinked, disturbing a layout of eyebrow dust. Then I removed the owl from my shoulder, fussily rolled up a bone-dry scroll, and fuddled, “A quest, you say?”
So we sat for a while, working on the title. The trick of creativity is that, like a Rubik’s cube, you turn something this way and that, trying to get wordplay, irony and punism to line up. She was just tossing phrases out there and mentioned “Practice makes perfect”. Hmmmm. Click-click-click. A little twist to reverse it and you end up with “Perfect makes Practice.” And that’s good, since it states the goal of medical headhunters, “making practices” (medical practices) with the desired bedrock state the audience seeks, “being perfect”. Or, if you are a perfect medical headhunter, you’ll make practices by recruiting doctors.
I was really pleased with that.
Then we worked out her opener. In this, it was just writer stuff. She read what she had and I listened to the clunkers, the places where there were too many words, too many syllables, a weak punch. It’s the trick you develop when you learn to critically review your own work, looking beyond your dreams of sharp writing to the actuality of what you’d just hammered out. Like a master furnature maker, you know how to run your hand along the grain, feeling every imperfection. Good oak, this…
Anyway, she’s happy, and that makes me happy. I just added value to my own worth and even got a blog out of it.
I’m not going onto the B Ark just yet.*
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*=points to those who get the referernce.