Monday, January 06, 2014

Letters of Note

I Like Words

I can't tell you how excited I was to open a Christmas present and find one of the most talked about books of Christmas nestling inside the wrapping.  It was of course Letters of Note  that was compiled by Shaun Usher.  The book was born from his successful website of the same name; an on-line museum of correspondence that has had millions of visitors.  The book is a collection of one-hundred plus amusing, inspiring and intriguing letters that range from Virginia Woolf's heart-wrenching suicide letter, a recipe for drop scones from Queen Elizabeth to Eisenhower to Nick Cave's letter to MTV rejecting his nomination for Best Male Artist on the grounds that 'my muse is not a muse may bolt! May abandon me completely.'  However, I think so far (I'm still a long way from finishing all the letters)my very favourite letter is from copywriter Robert Pirosh to a variety of studio executives asking for a job as a script writer.  Maybe we could all learn something from his creative approach! Here is the letter to whet your appetite...

 (Source: Dear Wit.)
Dear Sir:
I like words. I like fat buttery words, such as ooze, turpitude, glutinous, toady. I like solemn, angular, creaky words, such as straitlaced, cantankerous, pecunious, valedictory. I like spurious, black-is-white words, such as mortician, liquidate, tonsorial, demi-monde. I like suave "V" words, such as Svengali, svelte, bravura, verve. I like crunchy, brittle, crackly words, such as splinter, grapple, jostle, crusty. I like sullen, crabbed, scowling words, such as skulk, glower, scabby, churl. I like Oh-Heavens, my-gracious, land's-sake words, such as tricksy, tucker, genteel, horrid. I like elegant, flowery words, such as estivate, peregrinate, elysium, halcyon. I like wormy, squirmy, mealy words, such as crawl, blubber, squeal, drip. I like sniggly, chuckling words, such as cowlick, gurgle, bubble and burp.

I like the word screenwriter better than copywriter, so I decided to quit my job in a New York advertising agency and try my luck in Hollywood, but before taking the plunge I went to Europe for a year of study, contemplation and horsing around.

I have just returned and I still like words.

May I have a few with you?
It seems that his novel approach was successful as he went on to land a job as a junior scriptwriter with MGM and in 1949 he won an Academy Award for his 'Battleground' script. 

This book gives such a wonderful insight into peoples lives, motivations, highs and lows.  For me, it is the book of 2013.

image: book

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