Sylvester was a weird kid (fiction) Sylvester wasn’t weird like other kids in Joey’s class, the ones who were really quiet or the ones who lit fires in the back of the school. Sylvester was weird in a way that Joey had never seen before. He wore black shirts and black pants all the time, never jeans and t-shirts like the other kids, and he could make his voice sound like it was coming from the front of the room when he was sitting in the back. He had a pet bird that he carried on his shoulder to the 7-11, he ate spiders and beetles for fun, and no one had ever been inside his house. All the kids in the school called him “freak” and no one would sit next to him at the lunch table because he always said he had things like bat wings and mouse tails between his Wonder bread. But Joey liked Sylvester because if you could talk him into playing soccer at recess he always could kick the ball harder than any other kid (no one ever could block his kicks). And Sylvester could definitely tell a good story. Sylvester was always making up stories, like the time he brought a plain old gray rock for show-and-tell and said it had supernatural powers or last year when he told the teacher that his mother was a witch. So when Sylvester told Joey that he had a glass eye, Joey just laughed. Joey knew real people didn’t have glass eyes, just like real people didn’t have vampire teeth and dogs couldn’t talk. That stuff was just in the movies. Sylvester was just a weird kid. Sylvester made up this particular [...]
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So far Terri Jones has created 24 blog entries.
It's not all about you! When you write sales or marketing for your company, the natural tendency is, of course, to talk about yourself. Whether it’s a brochure, website, blog or even talking points for your sales staff, you find yourself rhapsodizing about how many years you’ve been in business, the stellar expertise and efficiency of your staff, your robust, proprietary technology, your latest and greatest product, or a service that’s unmatched in this galaxy and beyond. But believe it or not, customers really aren’t interested in you. They’re only interested in what you can do for them. No matter how “experienced,” “respected” and “cutting edge” you claim to be, customers are ONLY going to fork over their hard-earned bucks if they think you can help them in some significant way (reduce their wrinkles/melt their fat/put money in their pocket/improve their love life/make their life easier). That’s why you have to turn your sales and marketing copy paradigm on its head. Rather than telling prospective clients how many awards you’ve won for your financial advice, tell them how many of your past clients have retired to Rio because of it. When you’re tempted to talk about catering that party at the Governor’s Mansion, instead tell potential hosts how they can throw a great party in just two weeks or they’ll enjoy their events as much as their guests (better yet, have past clients tell them!). When you want someone to like you, it’s easy to go on and on about how great you are. No matter what the context, that strategy doesn’t often work. However, once you understand customers (and people in general) and are poised to fill their needs and wants, you’ll find them needing [...]
Southern Hospitality You can become rich, you can become a blonde, you can even become a Republican, but the fact is you just can’t “become” a Southerner. Pretty much you are or you aren’t, and not even an address on your driver’s license can alter that fact. So when my mother moved my sister and me south of the Mason-Dixon line, we were nothing but a bunch of hopeless, hard-edged square pegs in a world of unaccommodating round holes (so much for southern hospitality!). We couldn’t have appeared more alien to this strange territory if we had been dropped right out of a spaceship. Everything about us was not only different but strangely enough—shorter: our names (not one of us had a hyphenated first name), our haircuts (women in the South chose to ignore the shorter, shaggier styles of the 60s), the number of syllables in our words, and most importantly, our bloodline. We drank pop, not soda; our mother’s sisters didn’t mind being called “ant”; and when we visited the john, he generally had a last name too. We eventually came to realize that no matter how long we lived in the South, we would always be outsiders to these bred-in-the-bone Southerners. The lucky thing for us was that Southerners, although humble as all get out about most everything else, are pretty darn self-righteous about being southern. We had all kinds of friends and neighbors willing to show us how being them was so much nicer than being us. We had a lot of unknowing teachers in those early years, from the lady at Roses five and dime, who steered us to the dotted swiss curtains for my bedroom to my Girl Scout leader, who [...]
Travel memories that I wear in my ears and around my wrists When I was in my 20s, I developed a passion for travel. It started with a backpacking trip with a girlfriend through Europe and almost every year thereafter, I visited a new place, travelling by train through the Rockies, watching salmon flying through the air in Seattle, having my hair braided on a Jamaican beach, eating beignets in New Orleans, shopping for bell bottoms in San Francisco’s Haight-Ashbury, seeing Old Montreal from a horse-drawn carriage, and so on and so on. At the time, I didn’t have the disposable income to buy jewelry at stores like Schwarzchild’s or Zales; however, when traveling, I allowed myself the purchase of at least one piece of unique, often hand-made, jewelry from the cities that I visited. Scoring interesting finds everywhere from street corners to craft fairs and markets, I built an eclectic collection of jewelry that way. While none of the pieces I purchased had any real monetary value, they were all worth a fortune in the memories that came flooding back when I wore that ring or bracelet. Some pieces have become part of my identity like the square, brushed-silver ring, which I purchased in Park City, Utah, while attending a training session there about 15 years. The whole group enjoyed some music at an amphitheater perched in the mountains at Robert Redford’s Sundance Resort (a real thrill!), and then the next day, while wandering around a craft fair, I fell in love with a ring handcrafted by a local silver artisan at a craft fair. It was a bit over my allotted $20 or $30 but I wore it home anyway. For my sister’s 40th [...]