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.

If Dailey Freelance Were Running For President

Not long ago I was trying to push my Facebook friends to get my Dailey Freelance page some shares. I told them I expected no fewer than one billion of them. I vaguely suggested that there would be a car given away to someone if it happened. I got six page likes. A friend of mine told me I should hold a rally to get things going.

Nah.

But that got me thinking. What if Dailey Freelance were running for president? Stay with me on this one. Dailey Freelance has the qualities people want, or say they want, in a leader.

You want someone who:

– Represents you. This is the whole point of both voting for a president, and of hiring a freelance writer. The president has to be the voice of the nation as a whole, somehow. I have to give your audience a comprehensive look at what they can expect from you. Not every post can accomplish that, but given time and an on-going assignment (say four or eight years?), that is Dailey Freelance’s agenda.

– Is a great communicator. This goes hand in hand with “Represents you” because I cannot represent you well without presenting a digestible message. There is an aspect of advertising in what I do, which requires me to keep the heart of your message direct and snappy while dressing it up with that “something extra” which wins a vote of confidence.

“Tells it like it is.” One of the most endearing quality in a candidate for a lot of people is the candidate’s “telling it like it is.” Whether the “like it is” they are talking about is really “like it is” is debatable. Let me be clear, though. My agenda as your representative, is telling your public what they can expect from you. You have no reason not to want that to match what they actually get. I’d be doing you and your audience a great disservice if it didn’t.

– Is resilient and open to change. This is a creative process. As a freelance writer, I have to be open to new ideas, and if my vision is vetoed, I have to be able to bounce back with an amended version of that vision. I like to try to envision many different angles from which we can approach your messaging.

– Will be diplomatic. It is important to me to be easy to work with. And it isn’t necessarily just a “the customer (you) is always right” situation. Just like the president ideally works for the public who quite literally hires that person, I work for you. But I do my best to work with you, to find out what will do the most good for you as I execute your vision in words.

– Will be level-headed. When I have my assignment from a client, I might do a preliminary outline right away just to establish a plan for myself. Depending on the deadline, I’ll likely set the work aside after that. I’ve never found myself with writer’s block with client work in front of me, though the time has to be right. I try to be in the proper state of mind before diving into client work. It’s not rocket surgery and it’s not magic, but just like some of the major decisions a president has to make, inspiration can be a key ingredient.

I’m Dailey Freelance, and I approve this message.

Are You Ready For Talk Like A Pirate Day?

As a freelance writer, I’ve recently been thinking of how I will offer holiday promotion services this year, which reminded me that one of my favorite holidays is coming up. This Saturday, September 19th is International Talk Like a Pirate Day.

How do you celebrate International Talk Like a Pirate Day? I don’t know. Maybe sing “What Shall We Do With the Drunken Sailor” while swigging Captain Morgan rum.

No. I mean you can, but remember it’s all in the language.

A couple of years ago I worked with a cousin on editing a novel he was writing. In doing so, (he and) I got a little more immersed in the characters in the book than we (I) should have. The book centered around Irish characters. So, not pirates but a similar etymology. I never said “shiver me timbers” mostly because I don’t know what the hell that means anyway. And I’d never call anyone “matey” on purpose. But in discussing the book with my cousin, when I’d answer in the affirmative instead of “yes” I’d say “aye” to him. Instead of “no” I’d say “nay.” When we got stuck on a plot line, to express frustration, I’d say “arrrrgh!”

I’ve long been a fan of old-timey language. For instance I like to say that something is “nigh” when it is nearby or coming soon. And to draw attention to that something, I may exclaim “Lo!” Conversely when I am about to rush off somewhere, I may say I’ll “hie” to that location.

It’s fun. And I’ve been doing it for so long that some of it has become totally natural to me. Maybe not to those having a conversation with me.

It’s just one shining example of how a little bit of each project I do stays with me, perhaps even becomes a part of me. It’s what happens when you are a writer and you do work that means something to you. That doesn’t mean that when I write for you, some Irish slang is going to show up in my work. I can’t control it. What it means is when I go to work for you, if you sit down with me a year later, you just may recognize some aspect of our project bubbling to the surface.

I hope it does. It’s undeniable evidence that I connected with my work.

The Summer of My Discontent

Something weird has happened this year. I know you’re probably thinking “Umm, yeah a lot of weird has happened this year, man. Keep up.”

No, not that, but it’s probably related to that to some degree. What I am talking about is that for the first time in my life that I can think of, I can not wait for winter to start.

Maybe it is because of COVID-19 and the havoc it has brought on our economy and the over-all limitations imposed upon our everyday goings and doings. But it is also because it feels like this is the hottest summer in the history of mankind. It isn’t, I don’t think. But I am tired of the humidity, a.k.a. “the air you can wear.”

I’ve already told my wife that when it snows, I am going to go “play in the snow” and I swear I will. I am not going to build a snowman. I intend to frolic. I had been saying I did not want snow. Just cold. I always say my wheelchair is allergic to snow. The more I think of it though, I’m not picky. If there is one thing I’ve learned this year it’s how to stay home if need be.

I’m finding myself getting excited, anxious for winter. I sometimes catch a glimpse of the calendar and I’m dumbfounded that we still have a third of 2020 to go. It really feels like winter should be any day now.

I envision hunkering down in a quiet country cabin in front of the fireplace (because you can’t stay cold all of the time), a refrigerator well-stocked with apple cider or hot cocoa-making supplies (depending on my mood), sitting at a giant oak desk (a brobdingnagian fortress of a desk) with an olde-timey quill pen and parchment paper, and a hefty list of freelance writing projects to work on.

I’m kidding. I don’t have a cabin.

But apart from the things about our society that need to change forever – which this whole year was a chance for us to do – like most of us, I would like to pick up where I left off in the early spring. Enough lamentation though. When I go frolic in that first snowfall, I’ll be taking the opportunity to embrace what was previously repellent to me. I’m well on my way to accepting whatever this winter will bring.

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!

In My Right Mind

Did you know that in baseball, a left-handed pitcher is called a “southpaw” because traditionally ballparks were built so the batter faced east? Hence the pitcher stood with his left paw toward the south. It kept the sun out of the batters’ eyes mostly. It didn’t help the pitcher any.

But I talk about baseball enough on this blog.

The technical term for left-handedness is “sinistrality” which, if you think about it, sounds like some generic deviant behavior. You couple that with the realization that left is the opposite of “right” and you might end up with a complex.

So it is nice that there is an International Lefthanders Day. It is today, August 13th. Mostly it is an opportunity for the left-handed to lament how writing with a pencil or pen always leaves their words smudged and the side of their hand all leady or inky.

To put a positive spin on things, International Lefthanders Day also gives us a chance to enumerate the many notable public figures who are/were lefties. It helps us to feel not so…you know…ten percent of society. Maybe we’re insecure and we need to be able to tell people “Hey, look! so-and-so is left-handed, so I could be a famous such-and-such one day too, you know!”

I used to just say “Well I’m left-handed so that means that I’m in my right mind,” a reference to each hemisphere of the brain controlling the opposite side of the body. Not only is the division of labor between the left and right brain at least a bit muddy, but I already told you how I feel about the implications of the word “right” in all of this.

Lefties do tend to be more artistic, creative dreamer type people, and righties tend to be more technical, analytical thinkers. But technical and analytical do not necessarily equal “smart”, and blanket statements like those can never be entirely accurate anyway. It’s like saying “girls are smarter than boys” or vice versa. You say it enough though, and some might start to believe it. And when left-handed kids start to realize how few of them there are in the world, they might start thinking there is something wrong with them. And there is a point in your life when being “unique” is a small consolation.

I was born with spina bifida. My parents were told early on that as a bi-product of the condition, I’d likely have difficulties with math and other analytical brain function, which proved very accurate. You take that, along with my left-handedness and it is no surprise that I became a writer and not an engineer or something.

There are a ton of other well-known mini-annoyances associated with left-handedness. Some things are just made for the 90%. It’s a fact of life for lefties. You learn to work around those things. In short, you get creative. Or, to put it another way, it’s a good thing you’re in your “right mind.”

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.