My Broadcaster’s Voice, Allegedly.

When I am not writing things, I work in an insurance agency. I do marketing and I set up appointments for our agents. Today, a woman I’d called a few days ago was in the office. As I rolled by she flagged me down and asked if I was the guy she had talked to. I said yes. She told me that I have a “wonderful broadcaster’s voice” and suggested I should be on the radio.

I considered replying with “Thank you. It makes up for this face. It’s why I cover most of it with this beard.” But I didn’t. There is a time and place for sarcasm and self-deprecation. And anyway it was a nice compliment, and one that I have been given on a few occasions. I’m not bragging. I’m just reporting events as they happened.

I sort of hear what they mean, but I doubt that it is just the tone and timbre of my voice. A bit of the illusion has to do with my tendency to word things differently than most normal people when I speak. It’s a gift inherited from my maternal grandfather, probably. Like a lot of people, I write in my natural “voice” so speaking that way has enhanced my writing.

I thanked the woman and told her I’d keep it in mind should I be looking for a side gig. I’d rather be writing as a side gig, but honestly being a radio personality or podcaster has long been a pipe dream of mine.

Honestly I can picture myself pretty damned well pontificating about this song or that band between songs.

So why just a dream? I’ve never went for it because I am not a good “in the moment” kind of guy. I’m very prone to the umms in a speaking situation I am uncomfortable with. Not an uncommon phenomenon, and anyone can work through it. Even so, I keep thinking I function best as a writer, where I can take the time to perfect the craft. But I’ve gotten this far in a job where most of my responsibilities involve speaking to people on the phone, mostly off the cuff and conversational. And I’ve impressed enough of those people, what, with my broadcaster’s voice and all.

So there may be a side side gig on the horizon. I’ll keep you posted.


Monolith!

On November 18th, a twelve-foot triangular metal pillar was discovered in the desert in Utah by a drone tracking sheep or something. A minor frenzy ensued on social media regarding the origin and purpose of the monolith with very few answers other than that the object was eventually declared to be Earthly in origin.


On November 28th, the pillar was removed as mysteriously as it appeared. Nobody knows how long it had been there, how it got there, who put it there, who removed it, how they did it or where it went. Though people continue to speculate about it, the monolith now belongs to the ages.
A lot of people said “well of course they’d say that” but personally I’d be more concerned if they were not able to come to that conclusion. That’s just me.

It has been pointed out that the object resembled the pillar in Stanley Kubrick’s film, 2001: A Space Odyssey which marked a major leap forward in human evolution. Perhaps the pillar was an art project meant to symbolize the opportunity the pandemic and its fallout could present mankind to change course.

For some, this will be the year that wasn’t, and this weird pillar appearing and disappearing in the desert will be another in an endless string of “Well, it’s 2020, so why the hell not?” events. This has been the year of postponed or cancelled plans. The year of tragedy and broken dreams. For those who do reserve space for it in their mental scrap book, it will likely be spoken of in hushed tones. But probably we will talk about it in one form or another, eventually. Wish as we might, an entire civilization can’t put an entire calendar year in a mental blind spot. I think this monolith and it’s time in the limelight represents how most of us will remember (or not) this year.

What will 2020 be for you?

a. Anonymity? – We don’t know how long the monolith had been there before a survey drone noticed it. For all we know it was simply an art project which the artist (somehow) placed there then just waited for it to be discovered.

In other words: Maybe you’ve been waiting for whatever this is to pass, for your chance to be discovered.

b. Mystery? – There was a lot of talk about how terribly unlikely it would have been for the monolith to have been installed by human hands and equipment. But then again the same thing has been said of the pyramids of Egypt.

In other words: How did this happen? How did we get here? What is going on?

c. Hysteria? – The natural bi-product of entry b, above. Though I think we’ve pretty much avoided the widespread panic that accompanied other possibly, maybe, probably not supernatural events. But there are pockets of it. Probably on Reddit.

In other words: No seriously, how did this happen? How did we get here? What is going on?

d. Legendary? – Hey, listen. The monolith just disappeared a couple of days ago as of this writing. There is plenty of time for this whole matter to be cleared up. But what if it isn’t? Like all mysteries which we are left to wonder “what the hell was that?” it will become the stuff of legend. Myth will grow around the events of November 18th-28th in the Utah desert. Maybe even a religion. Weirder things have happened.

In other words: As alluded to above, this could be the chance for any of us to make an epic switch in consciousness and therefore direction in our lives. As with any life experience, it is up to each of us what we take away from this calendar year. None are wrong.

In conducting some shallow research on the subject of monoliths, I noted that they are often of religious significance in their literal form. In their metaphorical form, they often represent a political figure or a prevailing societal institution. In perusing the actual definition of the word, the phrase “intractably indivisible” caught my eye.

Intractable means uncontrollable.
Indivisible means unified.

I feel like if you boiled down this year to its most basic elements, the result would be those two words, albeit in the most cynical (defeatist?) form possible, and the most idealistic (naive?) form possible. We’re more than eight months into this being a declared pandemic and at the moment all signs point towards it getting worse before it gets better, if I may be allowed a cliche. But a vaccine is well on the way toward widespread availability. How much we unify behind the cause of eradicating the virus is yet to be seen. But it will determine whether our 2021 will be another year that isn’t, something legendary, or somewhere in between.

I’m Moving.

…..very soon.

This blog originally came of the desire to tell stories of my experiences as a writer. Since I was a teen first discovering the craft of writing, I’ve dreamed of piloting a publication called “The Dailey Weekly.” This seemed like a good platform for the moniker. It quickly became my place to promote and advertise my freelance writing business.

In the long and many months since Covid-19 struck, that effort has become less and less productive. I started to lose the audience I was building so I tried to branch out by posting writing on various subjects which would serve as demos for anyone who still was interested in a freelance writer. Unfortunately, as my content became varied, something got skewed in the algorithm. Google doesn’t seem to know what to do with it anymore. At the same time, it doesn’t seem to be making any headway with WordPress users either.

For all intents and purposes, this blog is just broken. That’s a hell of a pickle to be in when you’re trying to build an audience. It’s as frustrating as it is puzzling.

I am going to start over with a new publication. It will be less business-promotiony and more observational humor pieces. Well, whether it is humor will be a matter of opinion, I guess. The point is I will be writing for the sake of writing again. I won’t focus on “current events” because I think we’ve all had more of that than we need for a while now. I’m envisioning a column-type thing. Real Andy Rooney-like. Without the eyebrows.

I need an audience that will interact with my work and exchange ideas with me.

I haven’t settled on a name for it yet so I haven’t created the blog. If you’ve stuck with me so far though, please hang around and once I’ve generated some content I’ll let you know where you can keep following my work.

Onward.

You Might As Well Be Speaking Klingon

Jargon. Every industry has it. It’s own dialect of sorts that its members use at work every day. It’s a secret code, passwords that deliver to the receiver a message much more complex than is apparent at face value.

In virtually any business, in trying to simplify concepts essential to what you do, you risk talking down to “outsiders.” But you don’t want to talk over your audience’s head either. If you are just targeting your already-established client base then you probably don’t have a problem. But to allow your business the chance to expand, you need to create general familiarity first. Once you get them “in the door” chances are they’ll not only be using your industry’s jargon before too long, but they’ll be speaking the language particular to your company culture.

And that, friends, will be a loyal customer.

That alone is the best reason to hire a freelance writer – to translate that jargon, those terms, phrases and concepts into the universal language. Freelance writers are like the Rosetta Stone for any business wishing to communicate with the general public.

You want a freelance writer who will take the time to understand those terms themselves. The freelance writer is the filter you put that jargon through before it gets published. Jargon is a short hand of sorts. It’s the technical version of an “inside joke.” So a freelancer may say it in more words – dilute it a bit – but it allows a much wider audience to be in on it.

Let’s Pumpkin Spice Things Up!

I’m just kidding. I don’t really cram “pumpkin spice” into everything when fall is approaching just because it’s trending at the moment. But I write about a lot of things on this blog that I wouldn’t actually write about.

It is good to keep things unpredictable. Don’t be scared.

That’s the approach I’ll take as your freelance writer. I’ll spice up your marketing efforts with writing that is fresh, unique, maybe even unorthodox, in the most fascinating way possible. Anything but the mainstream. If you want mainstream you can go to the newspaper. And there is nothing wrong with that, but you’re a little more free with Dailey Freelance.

Not so freewheeling that we will alienate your core fans, of course. Just enough that people know you look at things from another angle, that you’re invested in what you do enough to take chances, that you have a sense of humor, and you’re just maybe even willing to put your heart on your sleeve for ’em.

People appreciate that. It’s up to you though.

I look forward to helping set you apart from your competition, and making people think of you first when they’re looking for the services you provide.

Let’s go!

Opportunity Comes Once Every 6,700 Years

Today my personal Facebook page gave me a bittersweet reminder of where I was as a freelance writer one year ago. That day last year I posted a link to a piece I did for my first on-going client of which I was particularly proud.

It is bittersweet because of how quickly a string of very promising leads this spring amounted to naught. It was partly a failure on my part to seal the deals, but it also had a lot to do with the emergence of Covid-19. I do my freelance work mostly from home, whereas the leads were customer-facing places of business. Surely they were keeping a very close eye on the unfolding situation.

Not that I wasn’t. Maybe it was the idealist in me that kept plugging away at leads as though the world were not about to be drastically upended. Maybe it is the idealist in me that keeps me believing that I’ll have those opportunities again, and what keeps me promoting my freelance business. It was still fairly new when Covid came along, so it turns out last year amounted to its glory days.

I’ve been thinking a lot about all of this as the Neowise comet passes by this week. If you aren’t aware of it, the comet will be visible between now and July 24th, and will not return for 6,700 Earth years. If you’re doing the math at home, that is a once-in-almost-one-hundred-lifetimes sight to see.

We’ve all probably been told at some point that certain opportunities come once in a lifetime. Covid or no Covid, a lot of us can’t help but wondering what opportunities we allowed to shoot right past and burn out before our eyes before Covid came along and made it all kind of irrelevant. That’s not something one ought to dwell on, and I won’t.

I don’t think that last summer was my only window when it comes to local freelance writing. Because I know that commerce will bounce back, one way or another. It may not look like it did last summer, but we will recover. So I hope that when my fellow local business owners get back on their feet, I will be able to connect with them and help them in that recovery.

For tonight, I think I’ll head outside and sit under the stars for a while and take in a celestial spectacle. At least of that one I can be certain this week is my one chance in this lifetime. I don’t want to miss it.

“LIKE” a Prayer

You know those things that go around social media that say to give it a LIKE is worth one prayer, and to share it is worth five prayers? I mean the numbers are always different and sometimes a comment is worth a prayer too, which immediately boosts the value of the LIKE and the share of course.

I am not writing this to say anything about anyone’s belief system. Not at all. But I recently saw a variation of this thing on a Youtube video that made me pause for a moment. The guy in the video was in a rather harrowing situation, running away from an unseen horror when he told viewers to give his video a LIKE, because that would be equal to a prayer, of which he said he could use as many as he could get at the moment. Not because his channel was struggling due to COVID-19 or anything like that. He just casually tossed it out there because of whatever was chasing him.

Sort of like, “Hey guys, I might get killed by this thing that’s chasing me but make sure you smash that LIKE button if you want to see more of my crazy content!”

It was one of those videos demonstrating the Randonautica app. With the app, the user picks the kind of adventure they want to have basically. Some dark, some fun, some romantic even. Then the app generates a set of coordinates that the user heads over to. You’re supposed to think deep and hard about a certain thing that you want to find at that location, and allegedly one way or another you will. For the most part I think the power of suggestion, the stretch of the imagination and the seeing that which one wants to see are all at play here.

There are a string of videos on Youtube with people demonstrating it. Some are just silly, but some are “terrifying” and those are the ones I am interested in here. These “scary” ones, by the way, are almost always done at night and in many cases recorded by a lone “randonaut.” It seems like they always tell you that you should never go randonauting at night and you should never, ever do it alone. Then they proceed, of course, to do it at night alone to show you why you shouldn’t.

The app has been around a while now but the more of these videos I watch the more it is obvious to me that these videos are just very elaborate marketing for the app. I mean there actually were some people who legitimately did find a dead body while using the app. No joke. But these videos though…they are pretty much as dramatic as possible, much like the run of the mill supernatural explorer/ghost hunter videos that are all over YouTube. Many times when they get to the destination the app gives them, at some point they are met with some ominous sign. One time it said “Leave” on the wall of an abandoned hospital. One time they found a sign in a field that said “The End is Near”. Things like that, which are a bit more than coincidental.

We are supposed to believe the app itself is supernatural. I’ll just leave that one hanging there for you to do whatever you want with it.

If we don’t believe that, then we are supposed to believe that someone behind the app is leaving these signs to give the user the scare that they are seeking. But to believe that, we have to believe that there is someone waiting on call for someone in their area to play the app, beating the player to the spot in order to leave these ominous signs. Sounds like a very elaborate conspiracy.

You also may be wondering why they’d market the app this way. Well, people are into some crazy stuff right? There are thrill seekers out there, people who want to be horrified and they will pay money to be horrified. There is a whole genre of movies, certain theme parks and extreme sports that exist for these people. So it is no surprise really that this app was made for them, and that it would be marketed to them in such a way.

My guess is that when any random randonaut actually uses the app, not much happens. But I could be wrong.

Make World Social Media Day Every Day

Today, June 30th, is in fact World Social Media Day. I don’t know what that means precisely as most of the suggestions for how you can “celebrate” this day are things that people are increasingly doing anyway.

But I’d be remiss if I did not take this opportunity to remind you that if you own a business or are in charge of the marketing for such a business, you have to get serious about social media.

I’d call it “Social Marketing” but that is already a thing, and it’s different.

I am a freelance writer but I’ve always encouraged clients and prospective clients to take my work and unleash it upon the world via all manner of social media and let that wave of influence work the way it does. I find most businesses have a company Facebook page, maybe a Twitter account (or whatever the next big thing is this week) but they don’t always know what to post that is related to the business.

If you post the writing I do for you on your social media, odds are your followers are current customers – people who know your work, who trust and believe in you. When they, in turn, share my post, their endorsement should carry enough weight to inspire a number of the next wave to come see what you’re all about. If they like what they see, they will share the post with their friends. Ideally.

Then they tell two friends.
Then they tell two friends.
And so on. And so forth.

As “World Social Media Day” implies, you can get your message around quite literally the entire world in a day if you strike the right chord with the right people. If you do, well that’s gravy, but all you’ve really got to do is get people in your immediate area to share it with more people in your immediate area, depending on how massive you want to become.

Social media is the ultimate passive marketing, the most effective way to exponentially increase the number of people who hear about you, all with a good reason to trust the endorsement because they heard it from a friend. It is so much more personal than an ad or a local news article written about your business.

Let’s start with a conversation to determine what you need your public to know:

What makes your business so shareable?

What will inspire your followers to turn around and say “Hey guys, you’ve gotta go check this out”?

Think about it and get in touch with me. Let’s go!

Getting To Know Your Local Freelance Writer, Part 2

In my last post I presented you with the first half of a journey of musical self-discovery I’d recently begun. Now, I give you ….. the rest of it.

DAY 6: Dookie by Green Day – I once heard this album referred to as a “misfit’s manifesto” which couldn’t be more accurate. I was not a popular kid. I did not fit in. These songs spoke directly to me. Not in a literal way. I was not a stoner, wasn’t close to mental breakdown, nor was I as angry and destructive as some of the people in these songs. But subconsciously, the lyrics probably helped me work through some things I dealt with. I’ll never forget how my mom humored me when I remarked that these guys could be the “new Beatles.” I guess it was just a premonition of how important Green Day would become for me, but If you know me well you’ll find that comment pretty hilarious. This isn’t complex music, but it changed me. Green Day was the first band I ever got into who’s music I would go on to buy all of. My wife asked me recently what it was about them that captivated me. I said it was Billie Joe Armstrong’s presence as a front man. It was a confidence – an arrogance even – that I could hear in these songs, later confirmed when I saw him on stage. It was a poise that I could never have, but I felt like in some way I started to develop because of Dookie.

DAY 7: Chronicle by Creedence Clearwater Revival – I strongly feel every American household should contain a copy of Creedence Clearwater Revival’s Chronicle Vol. 1. I don’t know that there is any other American band that can boast a better Best Of… album than this. When my parents got me my own computer, it had a CD player, and I inherited four hand-me-down CDs. Greatest Hits compilations from the Eagles and the Steve Miller Band, CCR Chronicle Volume 1, and the Beatles “Blue Album”. Wait, what? Yeah…though I devoured all four, at the time I was more into this than the Beatles. That came later. But CCR first opened me up to music that wasn’t new, a whole new world which led me to explore all varieties of classic rock. I think I have some kind of mystical connection with John Fogerty for two reasons. First, though he was a California boy, his music is sprinkled with references to the Louisiana bayou, and New Orleans. My affinity for that place is equally inexplicable. And second, long ago I noticed that when I hear certain CCR songs, the Dailey side of my family would pop into my head. So either this music was playing prominently during a family gathering long ago and it latched onto my subconscious mind, or this music is just a part of my DNA. Could be either one.

DAY 8 – Anthology 2 by The Beatles – I am not going to try to name one Beatles studio album that influenced me more than the others. Anyway they never would have influenced me were it not for Anthology, particularly the second installment. The three Anthology albums are basically an outtakes dump on a grand scale. While they presented the Beatles in their unpolished form, they were still pretty good. Anthology 2 covers 1965-67 into 1968 a bit. Those 3+ years encompass five Beatles albums if you count the Magical Mystery Tour double EP. Anthology 2 was so stunning to me because it showed how productive and progressive the band was over a relatively short time. Though it excited me like no other music had before, I remember it being a bit unsettling to find that “Tomorrow Never Knows” and “A Day in the Life” came just one and two years after “Ticket To Ride.”

I’ve always been a historian, and I like things to be linear. Anthology 2 is the sound of a band that is going someplace. They know where they are going and what they are doing. Now you see bands “trying something new” for their latest album. They may even do that on every release. But the Beatles from this period were different. Every album significantly built upon what they’d done on the last one. They changed how rock and roll sounds and is made, forever. Anthology 2 changed ME forever. I went on to buy every studio album the Beatles ever made, and very close to every studio album Lennon, McCartney, and Harrison ever made, along with a few from Ringo. How’s that for influence?

DAY 9 – Paul McCartney’s “Flaming Pie” was the first of dozens of former-Beatle solo albums I’d eventually own. This was a huge transition for me in that up until then every pop star I’d followed had either been a teenager or in their 20’s. While classic rock opened me up to the experiences of artists of (roughly) my age group but in a different time period, this album opened me up to the thoughts and style of a much older musician, Paul being in his mid-50s on this record. I was just becoming an adult when this came out so it helped me mature in my musical taste. I found his lyrics insightful and very moving really. “Calico Skies” and “Little Willow” are two beautiful, gentle acoustic ballads that everyone should hear. And he could rock! I mean, nothing on this album is going to melt your face off, but he could still jam. Still can now. And to this day, I almost always refer to a deep conversation as a discussion of “the vast intricacies of life” because of a line from “The Songs We Were Singing.”

DAY 10: “Who’s on First?: Radio Reruns” by Abbott & Costello – Until now my list has been albums that affected me chronologically as I grew. This one screws with my timeline in that (1) it was recorded in the 1940’s (2) I first heard it when I was about ten years old, and (3) its effect on me did not fully germinate until about four years ago. Let me explain. Yes, I was a huge baseball fan, and that is why I got this tape as a Christmas gift. I listened to the “Who’s On First?” bit over and over again, but I liked the rest of the skits, as old-timey as they were. I would let the entire cassette play because I couldn’t skip tracks. This included the two musical numbers on the album. One of them was a ballad called “Do You Know What It Means To Miss New Orleans?” sung by actress Marilyn Maxwell. Fast forward to about 2016-17, and the melody and the evocative lyrics of “moonlight on the bayou”, “Creole tunes” and “magnolias in June” still came back to me sometimes. I was sitting at work one day, tired of the Pandora station I had going, and that tune popped into my head. I decided to start a new station based on Louis Armstrong’s original version of the song. Because of how Pandora works, I was soon flooded with a variety of New Orleans jazz musicians, contemporary and classic, eventually extending to some great funk, rhythm & blues, Mardi Gras Indian songs, and even zydeco. To me, all of these are branches of one genre called “New Orleans music.” Nothing has had even close to this effect on me since I discovered the Beatles over 20 years ago. I rarely listen to anything else now. Because I first discovered it through streaming individual tracks, I can’t pick one album. No matter. My “Who’s On First?” tape is the true source of the discovery. With that, I’m going to go make some red beans n rice now.

Writing For the Sake Of Writing, and For Something Bigger

My mantra is “I’m a writer, and writers write. So I write.” I’m paraphrasing some old advice from a dear friend.

I am a freelance writer but I started this blog just to keep working on my writing chops in between client work. And for a long time it really did give me the motivation to just write for the sake of writing. Funny, but lately I’ve been fighting off a nasty case of writer’s block. It’s hard being a commercial freelance writer when everything is closed indefinitely. So you’d think right now would be the time to get plenty of writing for the sake of writing done.

Alas.

This blog is called the “Dailey Weekly” and I almost never fail to write something here weekly. But last week I did and I’m kind of past my self-imposed deadline for this week too. And it isn’t just writing. I am finding that with many aspects of every day life on hold, it often feels like there is less to talk about. Maybe it is a bi-product of almost the entire news cycle and the monologues of late night talk shows being dominated by COVID-19, and by extension a great deal of our every day conversation being infiltrated by the subject.

Let’s face it. There is a whole lot less “What did you do today?” and much fewer immediate plans being made. That tends to carry over. I would not want this blog to become COVID-19 Central. I wouldn’t subject my readers to it, and I don’t think I could do it to myself either.

But an increasing number of of business owners are now able to get back to work and are trying to maintain a connection to their customers. So I’ve recently decided that going forward, until our economy regains stability, for every piece I write for a client, a part of my fee will go to this “Adopt a Healthcare Worker” initiative in the clients’ name.

For as long as it takes for that stability to come, or as long as the “Adopt a Healthcare Worker” initiative runs, whichever comes first.

Lightening the load for a local health care worker who is carrying a lot on their shoulders right now will make me feel like I am doing something useful to my community. It will re-motivate me to write because I will be doing it for a cause well beyond myself.

I hope you and those you love are doing very well.