Monday, June 15, 2009


I’ve spent months explicitly documenting my sexually charged relationship with a biker, did multiple blogposts depicting my encounters with sociopaths, addicts, and cons, and a few wistful pieces about the kind, healthy men that have crossed my path. Months and months of writing, practicing my craft on a daily basis, yet none of this prepared me for what I was now faced with - writing a handful of headlines for a car company’s website.

I was stunned when I first sat down to work. I’ve been an advertising writer since I was practically a kid, I was raised on copywriting – my dad, a superb award-winning writer had supplied the advertising gene, as well as a good dose of encouragement after cutting me off financially the day I graduated from school.

I used to do this stuff in my sleep. Churn it out while watching TV, surfing the web, fulfilling huge assignments on my way in on the subway; successfully tuning out blood curdling religious zealot's rants, clown-faced accordion player’s bombardments, full tilt boom-box accompanied break dancers scrambling at my feet. No problem. People would find out what I did for a living, and ask me about the fear, the pressure, I always told them it was a snap, it was in my blood, it was nothin’ but fun.

But now my advertising gifts were nowhere to be found. I was working on an account that I had already worked on for months back when I had the full-time gig at the ad agency. Now they were asking me back freelance, and I was frozen.

There was a format to adhere to, a sort of fill-in-the-blanks-but-better-be-damn-clever kind of thing. The months I had spent writing free form about desire, illicit behavior, vice and love was of no use to me now. Now that I needed it, now that I was being paid in more than compliments, comments on a thread, or in number of thrusts administered by my narcissistic boyfriend that I often penned about. Now I was getting paid in real cash dollars for a few lines of content, and I was choking.

So I stopped staring at the pulsing cursor on my computer screen, which startled the voice in my head and it’s ruthless chant, ‘The Gift Is Gone’. I thought maybe I should take it out for a bite to eat, get it a glass of wine, and maybe a nice piece of fish. I called my friend Lynda in the city, and see if she wanted to join us, and it was a go.

I showered, got dressed and headed in. I walked up to the subway and put money on my Metrocard, it had been some time since I had taken the train. As a blogger, I usually spent my days local, grabbing coffee at the local bakery, walking around the ‘hood, taking out from my favorite ethnic spots, it was kind of exciting sliding my newly filled card through the turnstile, pushing the metal bar with my hips, I was subterranean again, the train thundered in, stopped, the doors whooshed open, and I took my seat.

I was headed in to Manhattan as others were heading home to Brooklyn, I had the car almost to myself. I sat down as the train lurched out of the station. I did a quick scan of the car, the ads that ran above the windows, the other people in the car. And then it came – almost as furiously as that train had pulled around the bend and into The Borough Hall station: the ideas started to fill my head. All the headlines that had tortured me throughout the day were being solved by some unidentifiable source much greater than the writer I had been an hour ago. I pulled out my iphone and started to type them in as fast as I could. It was hard to keep up. One, then another, and another, and then a better version, and then an alternate, all the headlines seemed to be born of the tremorous rumble of the 4 train.

By the time I reached my destination, I had solutions for every problem I had to solve.
I wasn’t sure I would end up using those specific ideas, but I knew that the voice of doubt in my head was mercilessly squashed under the tracks of that train, I could now have dinner alone with my friend, a great bottle of wine, some good food, maybe we would even go for appetizers, I had found my gift – somewhere there on the tracks between Brooklyn and East 73rd street, and I was in the mood to celebrate.


  1. A not unusual writer's scenario with a happy ending. You've still got it! The capitalist world can breathe a sigh of relief :)


  2. HAHHAAHAHAHAAA....clearly, you never lost your gift... paid in my humble admiration.