Today I walked a 5K’s worth, not for charity, but to catch a bus to Boston. I left Park Slope at 8:16 am, stopped for coffee and chocolate banana bread, walked straight west on Flatbush across the Manhattan bridge, and arrived at Fung Wah on Canal at 9:40 am. Give or take, it took an hour which is significantly less time than it probably would have taken with public transit.
A time-saving measure turned into a tourist venture. Though I was on a time crunch to catch my bus, I couldn’t help but stop and snap pictures along the way. On this clear autumn day, the city didn’t look like the victim of a storm (albeit a few fallen tree branches here and there). For at least a few minutes, the scenery stood unscathed. It was November 2, and everything just was. Police yelling, long lines wrapped around Barclays Center, silence at the Manhattan bridge..
At some point, observation takes a deeper form and thought closes the gaps. The Manhattan bridge silence becomes odd when you realize –close gap– the rickety trains crossing its tracks are missing and out of service. Bus benches, typically sparse, look different because –close gap– lines are now wrapped around the street with people anxiously trying to get into the city. Honking, yelling, blowing leaves – all the usual sounds come fluttering back into consciousness. Yet the slightly different context alters their effect entirely.
I arrived in Chinatown eager for another cup of coffee. Then I remembered that downtown Manhattan was still without power. With shops closed, including the sketchy Dunkin Donuts I would normally go to as a last resort, even the last resort was not an option.
With time to spare, I asked for the key to the Fung Wah restroom. The attendant warned, “There is no light. Be careful. Don’t fall down the stairs.” Using the flashlight app I had downloaded several days ago in preparation for Sandy, I descended down the staircase. I wasn’t so much afraid of the dark, just more so of the rats lingering where I could not see.
Now I’m in Boston. For all intents and purposes, today was abnormal. Then again, who am I to judge?
Day 1: Strategy
I’ve been drafting these things called ‘Content Strategy Docs’. These are digital design, development, and copy suggestions for companies to increase engagement with their customer base. In short, a way for companies who care about their bottom line to appear that they care about other things, like you. The most successful businesses are realizing that it’s no longer about simply offering a product; meeting customers online and adding additional value through useful, compelling information is becoming make-or-break strategy.
In these docs, I talk a lot about building a brand. Determining three adjectives that describe the essence of who you are, then sticking with those descriptors in everything you produce – whether it be a simple tweet or a full-fledged marketing campaign. Through all this strategizing, I realized that my own writings on my website failed to abide with that consistent ‘voice’. Two posts ago I wrote about journalism, the latest was about food, and now this is about branding strategy. Who am I?
Before this turns existential crisis-y, let’s remember that it’s November. And? November is National Novel Writing Month. While that may not have been the first thing you thought of, it was one of the first thoughts that crossed my mind when waking up this morning. If that says anything at all (other than that I don’t have a boyfriend) it’s that I really like to write. Yet I’ve never really sat and figured out what I want to write about. It usually just happens. So today, in uncharacteristic fashion, I tried to draft a “plan” for my writings, structure it around some theme, find 3 adjectives that describe my essence. After painstaking thought, which involved going to the fridge and wine bottle, I gave up.
Unlike the companies I’ve worked with, I can’t boil my “content” to one, two, or even three subjects. I simply write. For National Novel Writing Month, I’ve decided not to write a novel, but a single post a day. I have no strategy, no idea what tomorrow’s topic will be. All I’m saying is that I will write – be it 3 am delirium or crisp clear-eyed morning cheer- every day for a month.
That’s about as good as strategy gets. The National Novel Writing Month (or NaNoWriMo for short) goal is “to write a 50,000-word (approximately 175-page) novel by 11:59:59 PM on November 30.” We’ll see if 30 random posts make a novel.
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This is my mood now. When things go wrong, you sing a song.