I'd never heard the phrase before my friend (and musical collaborator) Jeff Shattuck used it on his blog. He said it was a 'southern' phrase his wife often used and that it meant "somewhere you'd never been before."
This seemed perfect for what I'd been looking for, a name for my new company. So, with their permission, I pursued it and now the name is mine. And, surprisingly, so is wishingground.com. I'll be getting the site built in the coming weeks.
So what does Wishing Ground Productions do? It's for the writing and development of scripts for TV and movies. It does not replace my music production company, openD LLC, or my marketing consultancy, CommonGround LLC. Hopefully it just means I'll be even busier.
And thanks to my good friend Wence for the logo design.
1963. Olivetti introduced the Lettera 32, replacing the old Lettera 22. I was eleven and had just started writing poetry and other stuff. Problem was my handwriting was so bad I'd wake up and be unable to read what I'd written the night before. So I asked my parents for a typewriter. And this was it. No, not just the same model, this is actually it. My Lettera 32 from 47 years ago has never left my possession.
Finally, having given up my somewhat itinerant life of apartment living and with an actual house to expand into, boxes were opened that have been in storage for years and there it was. What one of my favorite writers, Charles Bukowski, would call my "typer". I cannot say I wrote my first poem on it simply because that was handwritten and then typed. But pretty much everything I would write for the next ten years or so would be banged out on this green machine. Certainly my first attempts at song writing originated on it. I still have some sheets of lyrics (badly faded now) with guitar chords penned in above the rows of typed verses.
I don't know if finding this provoked it, or the wonderful Simone Signoret movie we watched last night, but when I put in a sheet of paper to see if my Olivetti still had any ideas in it, I wrote:
I remember the buildings
I remember the cars
I remember the clothes (and the girl)
Yes I remember
Life in a black and white world
That may become a song - who knows? But here's a photo taken in Nottingham back then (not by me) that reminds me of my "black and white world". Milk being advertised alongside a call for nuclear disarmament. This was the world that got my "typer" going.
Entire books have been written about the psychological process by which we go from being a person to a patient. The indignities we suffer at the hands of doctors require this adjustment. We have to give in to them and allow them to do things to us we would never contemplate in daily life.
That said, there is a dangerous downside to this process. Take for example this from today's news:
We fret about airport scanners, power lines, cell phones and even microwaves. It's true that we get too much radiation. But it's not from those sources — it's from too many medical tests.
Americans get the most medical radiation in the world, even more than folks in other rich countries. The U.S. accounts for half of the most advanced procedures that use radiation, and the average American's dose has grown sixfold over the last couple of decades.
Too much radiation raises the risk of cancer. That risk is growing because people in everyday situations are getting imaging tests far too often. Like the New Hampshire teen who was about to get a CT scan to check for kidney stones until a radiologist, Dr. Steven Birnbaum, discovered he'd already had 14 of these powerful X-rays for previous episodes.
My mother was recently hospitalized and across four days was moved from the Emergency Room to Intensive Care to Cardiac Care to a regular room. Each time I gave full information to at least one person, in some cases two people in the same unit. Despite living in what we are told is the information age, none of this information traveled with her as she traveled through the hospital system. So much so that this morning I spent a lot of time on the phone sorting out bills that were not only inaccurate, or had already been paid but were sent to the wrong address! Okay, so all of that is nothing more than frustrating and time consuming. Not life-threatening.
But it leads to the obvious question of whether more important medical information failed to travel with her also.
And this is where we can help ourselves. Do not - whether you are a mentally capable patient, or someone in charge of someone less capable - give in totally to the doctors. Keep a personal count of your scans, x-rays etc. Know what drugs are being used and why and for how long. My mother was put on the serious blood-thinner Warfarin for about one day when an Emergency Room doctor thought she'd had a heart attack, which tests very soon showed she had not. When her next doctor heard of this his only comment was, "WHAT????" Enough said. Apart from the fact that he learned this because I told him, not because the medical notes told him! See my point?
Ask questions, demand explanations. And if the number of scans etc seems wrong to you, remember, IT PROBABLY IS.
So Adage - the American trade magazine serving the advertising business - ran a competition for "young creatives" at work in agencies across the country to design the cover of its next "Global Issue".
(The fact that the winners come from my last agency is not why I'm about to criticize the result. But I feel I must mention that fact in the spirit of full disclosure.)
Now there was a time when young creatives were the ones who truly drove the industry - incidentally often driving older creative directors like me crazy in the process - and that was good. They were the most likely source of truly original ideas. Obviously not any more. And this may explain why so much of what we see these days amounts to nothing more than mindless regurgitation of familiar ideas.
The winning front cover, sadly, is a perfect example. Actually, no, it's far worse than that but I'll explain in a minute.
This is the cover. Sorry I couldn't find a larger photo but you really don't need it. It's a bunch of cogs used to show that the world is interconnected. Marshall McLuhan, Global Village, circa 1962 anyone?
Now, I must admit, I do not blame Adage for choosing this design as the winner. I've seen the others and this is, remarkably, the best. But that just tells you how downright awful the others were!
Why is this worse than just a bad piece of design? Because the team (writer and art director) that created it - who shall remain nameless, here at least - not only admit it was suggested by old Fortune Magazine covers but one of them went on to say, "The idea is: You turn a gear -- a thought, a creative execution -- and that in turn affects all the other creative executions out there."
Well, in reality that is exactly what happens...someone has a good, original idea and everyone else copies it. But do these "young creatives" not realize that this is not how it is supposed to work - that their design and their explanation of it is simply a justification for the worse kind of plagiarism and lack of originality that plagues their industry today? Obviously not.
And just for the record, McLuhan's vision has only partly come true. The fact is that right now national identity is of growing importance not diminishing. Despite the EU, the French have never been more French or the British more British! The wholesale selling of the American way of life has, happily, not succeeded and even great global brands like Coca-Cola will now tell you that advertising has to be tailored to the culture in which it appears. One size does not - and never did - fit all. Which makes the naivete of this particular "winner" all the more painful. Adage's Global Issue should be celebrating the diversity of our planet and the different challenges that marketers face around the globe. It should not be advocating the mindless robotics of stealing ideas.
I learned something yesterday. I guess I didn't know about it before because I've not lived in a state with this particular option.
Apparently in some places you can cast a vote for "None of the above candidates"!
There have even been times when "None of the above" came close to winning. Ha! What a great way to send a signal to would-be politicians. I think this option should be available to all Americans in all elections. Imagine the impact of headlines like "Fiorina Elected But Comes Second To None Of The Above."
Incidentally, I use that as a truly bad example. If Fiorina ever gets elected to any public office it will be a sign that California has truly lost its collective mind. Of course, some would argue it did that some time ago. But I actually like the place and I know for a fact it deserves better than a failed CEO deciding how the place should be run. But then it also deserved better than a bad actor!
This is the cover of my next CD. And the reason my name is not on it is because this was truly a collaborative effort! A very enjoyable one. I came up with the title because my good friend and fellow songwriter Jeff Shattuck "salvaged" some lyrics I had not written music for, and did so himself. To great effect, I have to say.
The four tracks - The Forgotten Place, Borderline Love, Waitress Blues and Easier Said Than Done - are finished. They will be available for download very soon, and a physical CD released in a few weeks.
I'll be posting the lyrics and some background info on the words very soon. And Jeff will be posting about his experiences with and inspiration for the music.
Note: This project and this title predate the horror of the British Petroleum disaster in the Gulf of Mexico. But the rather odd timing is not lost on either of us. We find ourselves at a crossroads regarding our future treatment of our planet. If we do not change our ways, it is the planet we will be trying to salvage. All four songs on Deep Salvage deal with love in one form or another. Love is the most all-consuming of human emotions but we have to start loving our world also, or human love will have no place to thrive.
Kristen Stewartsays she sometimes can't handle being famous — and that it's almost like being "raped."
"What you don't see are the cameras shoved in my face and the bizarre intrusive questions being asked, or the people falling over themselves, screaming and taunting to get a reaction," she tells the new issue of Britain's Elle. "The photos are so ... I feel like I'm looking at someone being raped."
Oh dear, oh dear. Poor little Kristen. Clearly she has never been raped (thankfully) or she would never make that comparison. But what she does not realize is that by likening rape to being famous - something she clearly wanted and pursued - she perpetuates the worst of all perceptions, that rape victims also were "asking for it".
I have not watched her movies. And now I certainly never will. Young "stars" need managers. Where is Kristen's?