It's late Monday afternoon as I write this. I'm sitting upstairs in the rickety 1920 cottage my wife and I bought up here in Old Saybrook, Connecticut. Outside my windows, down about 15-feet and over about 30, roars the Long Island Sound.
The sky all day has been as grey as dryer lint or grey as the sad skin under my tired eyes. Around noon, a lashing rain started, blown by a fierce wind. The rain sounds against my windows like bird-shot against an old tin roof. There is the thunder of the surf against the rocks on the coast below.
It is, in short, storming.
As WC Fields would snarl, "Tain't a fit night out for man nor beast." Except of course, Whiskey will hie us outdoors for two more walks before her day is done. She doesn't much like the rain either, preferring her perch by our stone fireplace--fire burning or not, but she, like me, is a well-trained creature.
Storms, billions of years before there was life on this benighted planet, have always buffeted our galactic home. They are as natural part of the order of our universe as my wife being mad at me for any number of legitimate reasons.
I snored. I got up from the table too soon. I spent the day grumpy. I snarled when I should have smiled. And about two million more things I do that endear me to morticians and tax-collectors and termagants who seem never more than an axe-length's away.
Human storms are natural, too. Take it from me. A human nor'easter from the chilly nor'east.
It's funny to me how many people want everything in life to go smoothly. Whether it's the furor of getting work done for a client, processing a bill, or simply loading up the car for a long road trip.
There's something undeniably pleasant about living in the country and having a fire going in the fireplace, plenty of logs in the garage, whiskey at my feet and in the liquor cabinet and ice cream in the freezer. You know that while shit may happen (we lost power for four days after gale-force winds this summer) for the most part, this isn't Texas, and we'll get through it. We're lucky that way.
However, looking out at the storm, there's no sense wishing for 72 and sunny. The agency or the weather.
The truth is, living is tumult. Working is tumult. Making meetings. Making working. Even, frankly, just showing up on time is sometimes more than any of us can rightfully reckon with.
As Tennessee Williams wrote in "Cat on a Hot Tin Roof," and Big Daddy spat, "Life ain't just a bunch of high spots... Heroes in the real world live twenty-four hours a day, not just two hours in a game....The truth is pain and sweat and payin' bills and makin' love to a woman that you don't love any more. Truth is dreams that don't come true and nobody prints your name in the paper 'til you die...Now that's the truth and that's what you can't face!"
That's Tennessee Williams, or Burl Ives in the movie, and no mere copywriter can much improve on wisdom like that.
But a copywriter, especially one like me, is also a coalescer of other people's thoughts. Clients tell me things, or customers do, or account people or planners, and I make them special and memorable and shorter. Or at least I try.
Without bragging too much, I think I can do the same with Mr. Williams' copy as well.
How's this: "There are a lot of storms out there. The toughest ones to get through are the ones that have nothing to do with the weather. Ride through."