by Andy Capp
As I think I've mentioned in this column before, the "clutter" on my desk back at KELO was the stuff of legends. (In fact, sometime I really must tell you the whole story about the small blaze I accidentally set on it once.) I suppose I am a bit of a pack rat, but who knows when you might need an extra eight or twelve coffee mugs, or when I might get the urge to light up one of those "It's a Boy/Girl" cigars collected from ten years of station births? (I mean, I don't smoke, but there's a first time for everything!)
Luckily, the staff was always very understanding and kind about my little shortcoming. One morning there was a skeleton hanging at the entrance of my cube with a sign around its neck saying, "Enter alone and this could happen to you!!!" I also noticed that it became easy for the sales reps to claim that an order had been placed on my desk days before I found it. "You had it buried somewhere in there" became the battle cry when I'd squawk about a last-minute order that I KNEW I had never seen!
As you might imagine, with all the treasures I had collected, packing was a major operation, literally taking a couple of days. And even though I was unmerciful in lightening the load (filled the garbage bin out back), I still walked away with seven or eight good sized boxes (hey, you never know when I might work with the old 1/2-inch 4-track in my basement...that box of used reels could come in handy!). Of those boxes, only three made the trip to Seattle with me, and I fear I may never know the fate of the others, as my wife is about as understanding of my collections as the KELO staff was.
I suppose in retrospect I COULD have done without about, oh, five to seven percent of the things I saved. Still, some of the stuff served a valid purpose. Whenever a CD case broke in the production library, there was always a spare in the pile of CD singles no one else wanted in one corner and, of course, my stack of RAP Cassettes provided me with ideas when the well was dry...even though they had a habit of falling over at the most embarrassing times (like when the owner was in the house and walking by my desk).
Then there was my wall of quotes. Whenever I read or heard something that struck a certain something inside of me, it would end up taped or thumb tacked to the wall. It became quite an eclectic grouping over the years--parts of speeches, song lyrics, articles, cartoon punch lines, even bits of ad copy, good and bad. It wasn't pretty, but it was something to stare at and many times be inspired by when I was trying to dream up some new ad or promo. I'm sure my co-workers didn't understand that each scrap of paper was there for a reason any more than they understood that I was saving that Super Polka LP for some special project some day. Each piece had touched and changed me somehow when I first read or heard it, so up on the wall it would go to remind me of what I had learned, to help me continue my creative journey.
I thought I'd share some of the highlights with you:
"Some painters transform the sun into a yellow spot, others transform a yellow spot into the sun."
"Hold tight to your heart's desire, never ever let it go, let nobody fool you into giving it up too soon, tend your own fire, lay low and be strong, wait awhile, wait it on out, it'll come along."
"A person who never made a mistake never tried anything new."
"I wish I'd drunk more champagne."
--John Maynard Keynes
"Nothing is more dangerous than an idea when it is the only one you have."
"The anxiety is unbearable. I only hope it lasts forever."
"What entirely new things can I learn or experience today? What creative project excites me right now? How am I better off today than yesterday? What talents, skills, knowledge, resources and connections do I have to draw on...or can find? What's beautiful about the world? Who loves me, and who do I love, and how can I honor their souls?"
--Conner "Freff" Cochran
"Creative clutter is better than tidy idleness."
"Welcome to Hell, here's your accordion!"
"Hearing and listening are different."
"Imagination is more important than knowledge."
"Whether you think you will succeed or not, you are right."
"Drink, drink, and don't stop!"
"Turn it up! Turn it up, make it louder!"
--Alan Parsons Project
"...This one goes to 11."
"My job is to make sure the client is a little nervous."
That's a small sampling of my wall (the rest are in a box here somewhere...). They've all done more than fill an empty space in a messy office, and I hope you find at least one here that might help you through a trying day when all the forces of evil and sales are making your job impossible.
Of course this isn't anything original. In fact, if you have some of your own, get 'em to me and I'll pass them along next month. Maybe I'll award a prize for the best quote. I'm sure I have SOMETHING here in one of these boxes....