Sadly, I never finished the article when my Mom had a heart attack and passed away a short time later. Below is an excerpt from that article (maybe I'll finish it some day):
LIVING THE BRANDWAGON
by Dina Desveaux
Let’s be honest, what would you rather do this weekend?
a) Curl up on the couch—or beneath the stars—and read (or write) a good book;
b) Spend weekend drafting a unique platform that you'll later have the ability to deliver with the efficiency of a sound-byte thesaurus; or
c) Call an angry dentist back (from her yachting adventures) to perform a root canal on you.
Okay, c) probably wasn’t a fair option.
What if I’d asked what you would least like to be doing on the weekend? I don’t know about you, but if the dentist weren’t angry, the root canal might win out over the platform. If that sounds crazy then this might not be the article for you. For those of you who are still with me on this, I ask that you read the following quote by Leonard Cohen:
"There was a time you let me know
What's really going on below
But now you never show it to me, do you?
And remember when I moved in you
The holy dove was moving too
And every breath we drew was Hallelujah"
If you are an image or a slogan or “a brand”, then please explain to me how you can, with any authenticity, write to me and show me “What’s really going on below”? How can I trust what you are telling me? Because images and brands and slogans are MEANS.
Think of a corporate image, or brand, or slogan. If it’s not useful, it’s discarded. Since it was made to order, tailored for the consumer, another one may fit better.
Is that what we, as writers, are destined to become? Commodities.
According to Chris Hedges, we not only have to “conform to the dictates of these manufactured visions, but we also have to project unrelenting optimism and happiness” or be appropriately depressed in a poetically bohemian fashion, if that’s our brand this year. Whereas people “knelt before God and the church in the Middle Ages”, we “flock hungrily to the glamourous crumbs that fall to us from glossy magazines.”
This is the mantra of our capitalist world:
Everyone has opportunity.
Everyone (with advantages) has (more) opportunity.
Everyone (with advantages) has (more) opportunity (to prey upon the weak).
The weak are pretty much fucked in this world.
Commodoties are objects, like consumer products. They have no intrinsic value.
Those nebulous 'theys' all tell me I should, but I can’t seem to buy in!
I keep hearing that voice from the past:
"You are like a snowflake, unique. Did you know that no two snowflakes are alike?" It's my Mom's voice. I guess she's a teacher, so she should know, I thought, but still...maybe I'd ask Dad.
I never did resolve that question, but I've always loved those magical wonderings and those magical people, those that defy explanation. Those are the wondrous and unique individuals I've surrounded myself with. I can't imagine ever branding one of them, so why would I do that to myself?
Instead, I joined a community of writers and readers who believe in good writing (and living). I wish I could, in good faith, apologize for my being such a contrarian, but I cannot.
You see as much as I want my books to be read, there is something I need more than branding, and that is my dignity.