July 21, 2006

Mailman, books, poems, picnic.

So I go to my mailbox this morning, cringing, anticipating it to explode with bills and the like. But all I got was some junk mail and a note written on the back of one of those "Sorry you missed us, our next delivery date will be:" postcards. The card read like this:

"Hi, I'm your mailman, Ron. I saw you moving in and I just wanted to welcome you to the neighborhood. Hopefully I'll see you around!"

Rad. So now not only am I probably in serious debt with the utility companies, but I'm living alone and the mailman, "Ron", knows where I live and is motivated enough to write me little notes.

My life is so bizarre.

I just finished "The History of Love" by Nicole Krauss, which I loved. Intelligent, charming and deeply funny, intensely personal, moving. Told by an 80-year old man who fears becoming invisible. (A fear I must admit I share. That and NOT becoming invisible.) Good fiction from a talented writer.

I just started "The Brief History of the Dead" by Kevin Brockmeier (what is it with me and fictional history?) and "Water for Elephants" by Sara Gruen. I'm reading both at the same time, because I couldn't decide between the two and didn't want to wait to start either.

One involves the connection, conversation and communion between the dead and the living based on the lifetime of memory and the other involves a circus, a stubborn elephant, and unrequited mid 1930's love. Good stuff.

I have those little magnetic words leftover from my days in college when I was pretty sure I was a poet and I was fascinated by E.E. Cummings, met Billy Collins and was in love with a boy who could write me under the table, into tears, and most importantly, into bed.

I keep these words on my fridge and on another board in my art room (where my piano, easel and computer live). I regularly smush these around with the palm of my hand just to see what is coincidentally created. Of course, it's usually nonsense. The other day the only thing I could pick out after the smushing was "Squirrel apple on fire", which I don't even get but is sort of funny.

But this morning I must have had the magic touch, because I pulled out a couple real gems. I like doing it this way because I always feel like when the words form something sensical that it's some big cosmic signal to me or something. Anyway, today's include:

Collect butter colored petals I
this flower has the look of


I believe you in that suit



[Side note: Any time I use the word "Picnic", it reminds me of one of my favorite of Billy Collins' poems, "Picnic, Lightning", and of the line which inspired that title, which came from Lolita:

"My very photogenic mother died in a freak accident (picnic, lightning) when I was three, and, save for a pocket of warmth in the darkest past, nothing of her subsists within the hollows and dells of memory."

...which I committed to memory long ago, because it's awesome.

I have a company picnic this weekend, and for the second time in two months, I have to attend a huge company function single. You see, everyone at I work with is married. All the execs, all of accounting, and 70 percent of the sales team, the other few of which are in serious relationships. So I'm a veritable freak of nature amongst my colleagues.

And I'm pretty sure there won't be alcohol or anyone else single there. Someone should really write a survival guide for this kind of thing.

In fact, I might actually pray for lightning.

Have a good weekend!


ShadowAngel said...

I think your magnetic poems were lovely and frought with hidden meaning. A veritable excursion into the depths of the human psyche!

OK, maybe not that much. They were nice.

Company picnics aren't any better if you are the spouse of the employee. I go to these things every year and *still* can't recognize more than a few people. And since the hubby is usually off doing the cooking, it's just me, hangin' out with the kids. Oh joy.

Is the mailman cute at least?

Trebuchet said...

I don't know if he's cute, as I've never actually seen him. I think my concern actually stems from the fact that I'm quite sure mailmen are the most likely of all professions to display random acts of violence. Having "Ron" know where I live is not exactly reassuring. And really, who can blame them? Have you seen those terrible, tight polyester shorts?

I'd be pissed off (and a little crazy), too.

Drew said...

Dude, how is somehow as literary/literate as you are stuck in the PR field? (Wait, are you still in the PR field?)

Don't get me wrong--I'm not hating on the life. There are loads and loads of incredibly intelligent and talented people in PR, and most positions do require great language writing skills and all that.

But sometimes, when I get e-mails from PR people (I write stuff, mostly food stuff, for a paper in Philly), I have to stop myself from punching through my monitor in anger. Check this unedited excerpt from something I received today:

"Drew, summer is not nearly over, and because this year’s sweltering heat will likely linger for another eight weeks, I thought you and your readers would be relieved to learn about Brulee’s new spiked ice cream varieties, the adult way to enjoy a traditional treat!"

I know it's her job to promote her shit, and I appreciate receiving the info. But does she REALLY have to write like that? I'm sure she's incredibly qualified, so much so that I can almost picture her gritting her teeth while typing.

I just don't get it. It's not like I'd be pissed if she didn't write like that. Help!

Chuckles said...

I am the youngest person in my office by 30 years. The company parties are a little annoying. Everyone wants to hear about my dating experiences and my life. WTF. I don't talk about those normally, why would I talk about them at a party? Can't we go back to discussing your broken hip?

I am reading If Chins Could Kill: Confessions of a B Movie Actor by Bruce Effing Campbell. It has been illuminating for me. Since I want to make movies and all.

I recently finished I Served the King of England by XXXXX Hrabal. I can't remember the author's first name but the book was really good.

missy&chrissy said...

i'd be a little wary of Ron the mailman too...but on a positive note, i am certain he'd be more than happy to attend your company picnic with you. =]

Drew, as a PR person, i'd like to apologize for the crappy pitches of my peers. this job just destroys our brains.

Trebuchet said...

Hi again, Drew! You're right, and your frustration is understandable.

There are oodles -- actual OODLES of clumsy PR people, and even more who aren't bad, but got positive reinforcement (a placed story) with a boring, off-target, poorly written, exclamatory or just plain shitty-ass pitch.

But you have to remember -- it's hard to pitch well. Of course you know how you want to recieve news tips and product review suggestions, but for every one of you there are 14 others who each prefer a different style. Do you want a short email with a bunch of links in it? A press release? A phone call? I even work with reporters who REQUIRE I communicate with them via snail-mail or fax only. Which is obviously totally bizarre and counterintuitive, but there you have it.

There are rules of thumb (read stuff written by the reporter you're pitching, know his readership, know his beats, pitch him stuff that's timely, newsworthy, and right on target, don't be a total moron, don't pitch products without a news hook and always get your grammar and punctuation right), but it's often a trial-and-error approach, and you only know if you've lost or won when you either develop a relationship with a reporter or you don't.

PR gets a lot of criticism, but it's rewarding for me because it's strategic, it's a critical driver of business today, it relies on the ability to write, speak AND think on your feet, it's creative, and most of all because it's an incredible challenge. PR is used to accomplish any number of incredibly daunting tasks:

Change peoples' minds, raise awareness, engage in a local/regional/national/global conversation, mitigate a crisis, become a thought leader, create a brand, build communities, reach community leaders, and so on.

I love it because it's hard. And because lots of people don't love it. I've always had a soft spot for the underdog...

Trebuchet said...

Chuckles, I'm with you. And as a woman, you won't catch me dead talking about who I am (or am not, as the case may be) dating. That's a big no-no, and something I'll coyly sidestep until the day I die.

So, instead, we discuss the best brands of powdered fiber, the recent sale of the Sonics and yachts. (Well, they do more talking about yachts than me. I mostly listen and drool...)

Trebuchet said...


WHY DIDN'T I THINK OF THAT? Oh, wait... self-preservation. That's right. :) I think I'll just keep ol' Ron at mailbox-length for now.

And yes, it's a brain-buster of a job. Thankfully, I work in technology, though, so I'm not pitching movies, self-heating socks or spiked ice cream. Which is nice. (Though the landscape in my office is distinctly geeky and the eye candy is markedly lacking...)

Drew said...

I'd like to thank you oh-so-eloquent PR dames for your explanations. It's really nice to get some honest commentary from the other side of the coin. Y'all are a true gift to your industry. And, of course, y'all are cute.

I know what you mean about each writer preferring a different communication style. (What the fuck is up with dude preferring snail mail?! How does he get any work done?). For me, though, it's just about being friendly, conversational, and...I don't know, normal?

Maybe it's just me, but I'll take a "Hi Drew, thought you might like to check out this new restaurant" over "Drew, are you sick of searching for that lost shaker of salt? Longing to kick back, sip a refreshing exotic cocktail and listen to some soothing zydeco music? If so, the new CHEESEBURGER IN PARADISE is your one-way ticket to MARGARITAVILLE!" anyday.

Word verification:" "ekbag." As in "even the slightest mention of zydeco music makes Drew reach for his trusty ekbag."