Scenes from my most recent adventures

It’s been fast and furious in the life of this writer lately, and I’m grateful to my clients for sharing their projects and energy with me. However, I’ve been a bit remiss with the blogging. To get back into the groove, I offer a few glimpses from my most recent adventures for your enjoyment/amusement.

Team building and bowling in Columbia:

We're bowlers. We bowl.

Sunlit morning

Tree in morning light.

Courtney hosts and is guest of honor at the most elegant birthday dinner party ever.

Aaron Draplin takes over Charleston…well, Blue Ion at least…and offers some sage advice, laughs, and pure inspiration.

Aaron Draplin and a rabid fan (read: me)

Tweet of the week

As the summer nestles in for its long stay to give us its fiery, hot-wet-blanket best, I thought this little tweet just summed it all up so nicely. Plus, I laughed aloud and nearly snarfed my coffee upon reading it. Thanks, @B2TheEasyE. And a happy, sultry holiday weekend to you all!

P.S. Nice hashtag.

 

 

A Poem for Blue Bicycle Books, Billy Collins & Bill Murray

Kismet

While purchasing signed copies of Billy Collins’s poetry,
Picnic, Lightning, The Trouble With Poetry (and other poems),
I notice a photograph on the counter of the poet laureate, the young woman ringing me up
and the bookshop owner.
The photograph shows the woman and the owner attempting to hold ecstasy at arm’s length,
alongside the poet’s bemused grin.

Upon further inquiry, it’s discovered that Billy Collins is a friend of actor,
Bill Murray.
A fact that occupies my mind for the better part of this sun-soaked afternoon.

I wonder how one came upon the other
An actor at a poetry reading?
A poet at a movie premiere?
Although it’s lovely to believe that Poet Laureate and Academy Award winner
carry equal amounts of star-quality, respect.
Although perhaps it’s more plausible they met at a jazz club
Or even a dinner party, on the occasion when someone somewhat famous
invites their cadre of artsy friends
Because poets, painters, actors and artists make savory social soup.

Secretly, I hope they met over booze.
Swiftly sizing up the humor and humanity of the other
Silently solidifying an unspoken bond over lowball glasses of 12-year-old scotch.

I imagine Billy as instrumental in Bill’s decision to accept the Lost In Translation role.
And I picture the Upstate New York diner where Bill suggests that
The Victoria’s Secret catalog might make for an especially vibrant poem,
as Billy’s eyes widen, glisten, his over buttered wheat toast 
momentarily motionless in midair
his mind whirring, words falling into seasonal lines of luxurious lingerie.

I wonder if the friendship dates back to the summer I watched Stripes once a day.
It’s conceivable that Billy Collins actually penned the “chicks dig me” scene.
Though I’m aware my perception of Bill’s personality is an amalgam 
of his on-screen performances and several casual sightings around town.
Once at a liquor store.
While I’m thinking of it, was the use of Roxy Music’s “More Than This” in the karaoke scene from Lost in Translation Billy’s suggestion?
Or was that all Sofia Coppola?

Which brings me back to the bookshop and the young woman and me, asking if she’d seen
the precocious three-year-old lad
who recited “Litany” from memory on YouTube.
As it happens, Billy didn’t just meet the boy,
he spent an afternoon reading him his favorite books,
Neither Picnic, Lightning nor The Trouble With Poetry (and other poems),
but mostly well-illustrated animal stories
rife with warmth and words that lull a boy toward slumber.

Angie Hranowsky & James Plummer

It’s such a buzz to work with people whose work you admire. I met designer Angie Hranowsky about three years ago and instantly fell in love with her work. She created an incredible brochure for a historic Charleston waterfront event venue that I was helping promote.

Fast forward three years, and I’m having drinks with friends at Enoteca, an intimate, handsomely decorated wine bar just down the street from Trattoria Lucca (owned by the same folks). We were all so intrigued by the interior design that we asked Christy, the manager, who had done the work. None other than Angie, who’s now bringing her keen design eye to interiors in truly amazing style.

The next day I sent her an email to congratulate and compliment her on Enoteca and catch up.  Before I knew it, she graciously asked me to rewrite her bio for new website. Here’s a taste:

In 2005, Angie launched her interior design firm, reinterpreting her print design sensibility and color acumen for dynamic, three-dimensional spaces – and quickly vaulted onto the national interior design scene. Driven by a passion to engage and nurture each client, Angie crafts beautifully balanced, inviting spaces that are both personal and timeless.

Find the rest here. Congratulations, Angie. You continue to amaze.

Should your interiors need help, do give this talented lady a buzz.

In other fun designer news, my pal, UX designer and front-end developer, James Bergen, recently launched his solo gig. I met James a few years back, and he never fails to make me smile. He’s also crazy talented and warm. You can’t really beat that.

James asked me to help out with his bio as well. Here’s a snippet:

Fueled by a seemingly endless stream of iced coffee, James pairs his design skills with solid technology to create beautiful, high performing interactive experiences for clients large and small. Equally at home in the print universe, he digs deep into his clients’ brains and hearts to craft identities and print materials that tell a story and inspire action.

Peruse the rest of his bio and the rest of his super fab site here. Thank you, sweet baby James!

Gallery

A porch named Poogan

Super designer and pal Jay Fletcher (He also makes great pies!) hit me up a while back to help with a project for the folks of Poogan’s Porch. Named for the lovable neighborhood dog that made the establishment’s front porch his home, Poogan’s Porch is one of Charleston’s most celebrated culinary haunts, serving up homemade Southern favorites since 1976. Jay crafted an incredible new identity and rack card that speaks to the restaurant’s vintage vibe and rich history while artfully blending in modern elements and the dog that started it all. I had the opportunity to write copy. Thanks, Jay. It was another pleasure!

A bit of the copy I wrote:

We believe in conversations on porches, Sunday brunch, old Southern dogs, ghosts, seersucker, biscuits, homemade and handmade, sweet tea, handwritten recipes, friends old and new, great stories, gracious hospitality and our Moms. Not necessarily in that order.

Happy Hour

The Charleston area has been the subject of some fantastic press lately. Named one of the Best Places in the Southeast to Retire by The Wall Street Journal. Profiled in The New York Times “36 Hours In..” series. And, randomly, in Travel + Leisure’s List of America’s Most and Least Attractive Cities. (Sorry, Santa Fe, times are tough.)

Those of us who live here know the magic of this place. How it can leave even the most jaded souls gob-smacked and struggling for description. We don’t mind. It’s a rather nice problem to have.

With all that said, here’s the latest ad for the town of Mount Pleasant for the South Carolina Vacation Guide. Design by Mark Lawrence from Gil Shuler Graphic Design; copy by me.

Darkness To Light: It Takes A Village

A while back, my friend Robert Prioleau invited me to help with a re-branding project for Darkness To Light, the Charleston-based non-profit working to end child sexual abuse. I got the opportunity to meet with D2L’s CFO, Jolie Logan, who was heading up the project, and it was a big one: a new identity, courtesy of the mega-talented Gil Shuler; a new website courtesy of the teamwork and talents of designer Sarena Norton, Blackbaud, Blue Ion and the driven, committed folks at D2L; plus, a new tagline, copy and positioning by me.

I should express my undying respect for Jolie Logan and the D2L team’s hard work and can-do attitude to see these projects through. A re-branding project is always a bold and exciting time for an organization…and truth be told, it’s a bit of a gamble, because it involves change. And I may be a bit biased, but I think the new logo, positioning, tagline and website bring a renewed energy and commitment to an organization that doesn’t just say what they want to do…they do it and continually find ways to empower more people to help them do it. Congratulations and thanks to everyone involved with the project. It’s been an incredible experience.

Logo by Gil Shuler Graphic Design.
Darkness To Light homepage
The Issue

Here’s a bit of the copy I wrote:

Think of 4 girls you know.

Now guess which one will be sexually abused before she’s 18.

Now think of 6 boys you know.

Which one of them will be sexually abused before he’s 18?

No one wants to think about it.

That’s what abusers of children count on, of course. Shame, embarrassment, fear, confusion.

They keep children silent.

They keep adults ignorant.

They keep truth hidden in the dark.

Why should you care?

It doesn’t happen in your town.

At your school.

In your church.

Actually, it does.

In fact, more than 90% of abusers are people children know, love or trust.

And the cost is great.

The reality is that one incident of childhood sexual abuse costs a community nearly $14,000.

The emotional cost in incalculable.
Research shows that people who are sexually violated as children are far more likely to experience psychological problems often lasting into adulthood, including Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome, depression, suicide, substance abuse and relationship problems.

Child sexual abuse is not the problem of one region, race, creed, socio-economic status or gender. It impacts every community and every person in America.

Victims of childhood sexual abuse don’t just suffer emotionally. They suffer physically.

  • Victims of childhood sexual abuse are more likely to suffer from obesity.
  • Are more likely to suffer from heart disease.
  • Are more likely to engage in destructive behavior with drugs and alcohol.

In fact, if child sexual abuse were like most childhood diseases, the prevalence and consequences of it would lead to telethons to raise money for its cure. But child sexual abuse is one of the last cultural taboos. With the exception of child-focused personal safety programs, almost nothing is being done to address it. That’s where Darkness to Light and the good news beings.From volunteers to educators to donors, being an active participant in the mission to end childhood sexual abuse is one of the most rewarding things you will ever do.

Learning the facts about sexual abuse helps prevent it.
Read the 7 Steps to Protecting Our Children to learn simple, proactive steps you can take to prevent, recognize and react responsibly.

Talking about it helps prevent it.
We make sure our children are in car seats and seat belts. We walk them across busy streets. We ask our teens where they are going and who they will be with. All to keep them safe. And yet, when it comes to the crime of sexual abuse, we often grow silent. Darkness to Light stands ready to help you find the words to have the conversation every family needs to be safe and empowered.

Getting involved helps prevent it.
From volunteers to educators to donors, being an active participant in the mission to end childhood sexual abuse is one of the most rewarding things you will ever do.

If childhood sexual abuse can be prevented, it can be stopped. Through awareness, education and prevention, children can move from silence to exuberance. Adults can move from ignorance to empowerment.

And truth can move from darkness to light.