Christmas

On a digital fast until January 2nd

From this moment, 8:58 p.m. on Friday, I won’t be looking at a newspaper, any of the dozen or so magazines I get, any digital news feeds, or any social media, like Instagram, Facebook, twitter, or LinkedIn, until the morning of January 2nd, when I return to work. I don’t watch TV news so I’ve got nothing to give up there. It’ll be just novels, poems, scriptures, and maybe some non-fiction for a while. Perhaps I’ll just spend the time looking at pictures or staring out the window. And I’ll be taking a break from my daily posts here.

Why?

Because this week, a no man’s land between years, is the perfect time to recover some temporal bandwidth, the kind that fills childhood afternoons or, for those of us who can remember, was common in the time before the Internet.

Hours and days spent without the instantaneous continuous stimulus of news is time to remember who I am, what I think of the world, and what’s worth loving about it.

I manipulate symbols for a living, ensuring that they are relevant to the way people are speaking and thinking on any given day. Keeping up with it all is how I keep a tactical advantage in the battle to win attention and trust. It’s a bracing challenge, but it makes it hard to honor silence and memory, to whom I owe whatever creativity I have. So I’ll be off lighting candles to them for a while.

Merry Christmas and a happy new year to you and your loved ones.

Copy critique: Believe

Snapped this tonight on 34th Street.

For those of you not familiar with New York, the area around Macy’s, whose door is shown in the photo, is bleak. The streets can never handle the number of tourists, the hordes of travellers flowing in and out of the mouths of Pennsylvania Station, and the homeless and just plain lost. Walking on 34th Street at night in winter is to stroll down an avenue on the way to one of Bosch’s hells.

Perhaps it was this way in the 1930s when Miracle on 34th Street was first filmed, which makes the idea of a miracle there all the more improbably.

Yet seeing these letters, with their period script and obvious reference to the film, made me stop like a tourist and snap this photo. In that moment, I believed.

It was Macy’s consumer advertising which made me want to go into advertising, and it’s clear they’ve still got the magic.