Hurricanes have a way of disrupting your normal routine even when they barely affect you personally. I am one of the many blessed losing only power (for a half day) and a few shingles vs. losing an entire roof overhead and a warm place to live and a lifetime of memories. Words fail when you see the devastation caused by Sandy last week. Boardwalk businesses and memories snapped like so many matchsticks. Entire communities in densely populated North Jersey and the NY and CT portions of the metropolitan NYC area. All of us have our work cut out to offer relief to those who have been devastated by Sandy.
But being at a loss for words over this horrific situation led me to take note that on a very different subject, some writers are absolutely inspired to get their thoughts and feelings across on paper.
Ad Age’s Matthew Creamer captured my attention first with this lead — “The Best Piece of Advertising Writing You’ve Never Read. Irresistible, yes, and when you read it, unforgettable, especially if you have worked in the creative services industry. Creamer’s blog links to the late Linds Redding’s essay online, which captures the drive to produce work that causes others to say things like “Whoa” and “Wow.” It also nails how others easily exploit that drive to get writers (and artists) in advertising to sell their blood, sweat, and tears for pennies on the dollar.
There is a certain amount of hubris, however, that allows advertising creatives to falsely believe that we have cornered the market on creativity and ideas. During my drive home one night, I had the pleasure of hearing the impassioned patriot (and Cheltenham graduate) Mark Levin read this remarkable essay from the late Leonard Read on his radio program. It explores what makes production of the humble pencil possible. It is an eloquent case for the free enterprise system as a means of creating commerce, jobs, and work for so many. Those who want to limit use of the world’s many resources, the operation of factories that too many believe are just pollution mills, and the pursuit of entrepreneurial opportunities might reconsider their obstructionism. If we ever want to see a vibrant economy again, we need to allow people to pursue dreams and to use creativity to develop new products and make good products better.
Those who were devastated by Hurricane Sandy need help to rebuild their lives. Creativity and free enterprise make great foundations to get that process moving successfully.