The Voracious Machinery of Yankee Progress


The great experiment in democracy is floundering
The founding fathers have moved way beyond
Rolling over in their graves
In one war after another, America has plundered
The world like drunken pirates
To feed the voracious machinery
Of Yankee progress
It has sent millions off to die
It has destroyed countries
It has engineered overthrows
It has been the archetype
For man’s inhumanity to man
All to feed the Voracious machinery
Of Yankee Progress

It has made war a revenue stream
It is so addicted to battle that
It has even fought itself
It has taken in immigrants
And let them build the country
And now it fears them
For their colour
White is not a colour, America
It is the absence of it
And if you had really been paying attention
You might have realized that
All these people you find so different…so inferior
Do not feel the same way about you
All they wanted was a chance to feed the
Voracious machinery of Yankee progress.

You invented bigotry out of some irrational fear
That the white race will disappear
Here’s a newsflash
You have no control over that
That ship has sailed
So don’t be surprised if your daughter
Brings home a bad hombre or two
It’s all a stark reminder that the
Voracious machinery of Yankee progress
Grinds up all colours and creeds.

And now you have a leader
Who is dragging everything you believe
Through the dirt
All the things you used to take for granted
Are suffocating beneath a stack of greenbacks
Peeled off a C-Note at a time to feed
The Voracious Machinery of Yankee progress.

The rich get richer.
The poor…well who really cares.
And all the good people wedged in the middle
Are nothing more than drones
The good people in your country
Are in a state of shock
The smart ones are leaving
The rest…well who really cares
They never have never been
Much more than cannon fodder for the
Voracious machinery of Yankee progress

And time is your enemy now
That the world understands
And the world wants to keep on turning
No matter how badly you want it to stop
Your isolation will create a vacuum
That will suffocate you
Your bigotry and fascism will alienate you
From everyone and everything
And all because you failed to understand
That being part of the world
Is the way of all things
And not the failing anachronism
Promoted by rich, old, fucked up white men
AKA the Voracious machinery of Yankee progress

Moving Away From Longer Format Posts But Not Actually Going Anywhere.

Over the past 20 years, I have written well in excess of 1000 long format posts.

I have enjoyed the process immensely. But as they say, all good things must come to an end. And this good thing is…sort of.

There are a couple of reasons for that.

1. I have been living in my new home and new city for a year and a half now and working with my partner, Charlene Norman, to break into this market in a substantial way with our consulting business. It has been a lot of work, but we are starting to feel we are on the home stretch run. And so the more time I devote to making that work, the better it will be for both of us.

2. I sincerely believe many people have grown weary of longer format posts. It’s a lot of work sorting out the wheat from the chaff, and it’s time-consuming absorbing information in big chunks. Couple that with the diminished attention spans which are a fact of life in social media and I find that the audience for these kinds of op/ed style posts is shrinking.

So being a smart and savvy marketer, I have decided on a new direction. One which takes less time out of my day, and provides those who are interested with a quicker read.

I’m Not Sure What These Are Called, 
So I Have Named Them Meme-itorials

The Meme-itorial is basically a mini post inside a graphic housing. The beauty of them is that I can create different versions of these posts and use whichever one fits the content I am writing.

This does have the downside of taking me out of the blogosphere so to speak, which means, on beBee for example, these are only viewable by those who are following me. So I encourage you to to do that, (links at the bottom)

The upsides, which far outweigh any negatives, are:

1. I get time back to write business posts and our extremely well-read Bullet Proof POV newsletter, plus all the other communications we have to do to grow our business.

2. Readers can get a quick fix instead of a long read, which is good for the soul these days.

3. It forces me into a much more disciplined way of writing, which is something I have always felt I needed.

So there you have it. What follows are samples of my different Meme-itorials, Currently, there are 4.

1. The Political Meme-itorial, featuring my Ace Reporter, Antoine.

2. The Couch Potato Chronicles Revival Meme-itorial, which will mainly be reviews of the things I like (movies, TV, books, sports etc)

3. My Rant Meme-itorial, which will be part Friday Nite Sermon and part whatever else is pissing me off, at other times during the week.

4. My Short and Sweet Meme-itorial, which is more a typical meme with an editorial slant.

These may change over time, but this is the current lineup. In order to get them, other than through seeing them as forwarded from someone, you have to follow me, on beBee, LinkedIn, Facebook or Twitter or all of them if you’re a real glutton for punishment. LOL.

It’s been a genuine blast writing these longer format posts. But for me, this particular medium has outlived its usefulness. My solution still keeps me writing, only not as much on the social side, so I can do more on the business side.

PS: For those who care, my bud, Phil Friedman and I will still be doing our He Said He Said posts. But Phil is busy as well so they will be less frequent.

jim out

Jim Murray is an experienced advertising and marketing professional. He has run his own business (Onwords & Upwords), since 1989 after a 20-year career as a senior creative person in major Canadian & international advertising agencies. He is a communication strategist, writer, art director, broadcast producer and partner at Bullet Proof Consulting in St Catharines Ontario.

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All content & graphics Copyright Jim Murray, Onwords & Upwords Inc…All rights reserved.


How Did It Come To This?

How Did It Come To This?There’s an hour or so when you’re trying to get to sleep and you think about things with a certain amount of clarity.

The day has come to the point where you can’t really do anything to alter it, and so your mind kind of wanders.

Last night my mind wandered into a question. How did it come to this? How did we get to where we are today, especially when it comes to the larger and more important issues of big decisions about big things in the world.

Right now there are a lot of countries that are run either by religious fanatics and their minions or just outright maniacs, sociopaths and psychotics.

These people, in their respective forms of madness, have created a great deal of fear and unnecessary tension in the world. And for what?

To prove their cause is just? To satisfy their impossibly messed up egos? In the name of (Your God Goes Here)?

And in the meantime the vast, vast majority of the world’s population are held hostage. They live with fear and dread. They are forced to flee their homes and their countries. They are made to live with insane levels of inflation due to political turmoil and screwed up governing.

They are endangered by unthinking corporate and individual greed and political systems that are designed to benefit only the rich and powerful.

But when you think about this question, what you really have to ask yourself is Why has it been this way for so long? Because the original question of How did it come to this? could have been asked at anytime during the last 2000 years or more.

I have never been afflicted with an overwhelming desire or need for power or money or influence over others. I have always been happy just to live a well-balanced life. To have enough to keep me happy and secure, but never so much that I would have to become extremely protective of what I had. Or hurt anyone else just so I could have more. And a lot of us are like that.

But there are people out there, and they never seem to be in short supply, who are totally focused on taking as much as they can, without any regard for who they are taking it from, and even less regard for the point of all the taking in the first place.

This is a popular theme in sci-fi, which is something I like. The whole idea of taking just for the sake of having. Of building something huge just for the sake of saying, I built that and aren’t I great.

And what these people don’t understand, in all their megalomania, is the real cost of greed and lack of empathy is measured in other people suffering a loss or a shortage or some sort of physical wound, psychological damage or even death. Because that is the other side of the equation.

Everyone who takes is creating scarcity and hardship in those they are taking from.

Every corporation that charges more than they should for the sake of growth forces those who need what they make to live beyond their means.

Every petty dictator, in order to fund his rise to power, takes from the people of his country, and leaves them poorer for the act of taking. They take basic rights. They take freedom. They take dignity. Sometimes they just take everything. And they do it all with no regret, remorse or conscience.

The world, at least as I see it, feels quite out of balance these days.

The few are taking from the many at an alarming rate. The few are getting richer or more powerful as the many are becoming weaker and more helpless.

This strikes me as fundamentally wrong. It’s like the people who take and take are afflicted with some strange disease that can only be medicated at the expense of others who they feel are beneath them and obviously not worth caring about.

I’m not going to cite specific examples, because I could go on all day about that. And besides, if you have read this far, you have a pretty clear idea of who and what fit these descriptions.

The miracle here is that the world trudges on despite all of this. And maybe it’s just me but it all feels quite wrong.

With all the technology we have at our disposal today the world doesn’t have to be anywhere near as out of balance as it is. There doesn’t have to be chaos in order for the rich to stay rich. And there is enough innovation available to keep everyone happy and healthy.

But the sad part is that though we have created all these tools that could easily make the world a beautiful place for just about everyone, it will probably never happen. Because there will always be those people who feel the need to prove their worth at the expense of others. To prove they are better, smarter, more superior in every way.

It’s very much like a small but highly virulent plague that has haunted humanity since its earliest days, and will probably continue to the end of our time as a species here on this rock.

There is no easy fix for this. And there may never be. All we can really do is the best we can with the tools we have, try our best to do unto others as we would have them do unto us and make the small part of the world we occupy as comfortable as possible.

And so then I take a deep breath and close my eyes, and if I am lucky, I get to sleep and forget about all this till tomorrow.

jim out. Have a great weekend.

Jim Murray is an experienced advertising and marketing professional. He is a communication strategist, writer, art director, broadcast producer, mildly opinionated op/ed blogger & beBee Brand Ambassador.

He is also a partner at Bullet Proof Consulting.

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How I See The World Today

How I See The World TodayI haven’t really been writing all that much original stuff for myself lately.

Truth be told I have been so pissed off about the way things are going in the world, that anything I would have written without taking a deep breath and counting to ten, would have come out as overly venomous ranting.

So I Have Taken That Deep Breath…

It feels to me that the order of things in the world is changing. That the older countries like China and Japan seem to be rising and the rest of the world seems to be falling behind.

Democracy, which used to be the standard by which progress was judged, appears to have been supplanted by various types autocracy around the world.

The divide between the rich and the poor almost everywhere in the world has widened to the point where it could actually be threatening the rich, either through some kind of peoples’ revolt or simply through consumer goods markets shrinking because nobody can afford to buy most of the stuff rich people sell to poor people.

I think a lot about how this all came to be and except for blaming it all on greed, I end up scratching my head.

I sit here in a beautiful little town in one of the lushest areas of Canada. I own my own house. I don’t owe anybody anything and even though I’m 70, I still think like a much younger person.

So very little of this concerns me directly. And because it doesn’t, I can see that, over the past decade or so, things in my part of the world have started to skid off the tracks a bit.

In Canada, we traded a draconian autocrat for a liberal human being, and all we do is beat up on him.

In the US, they traded a liberal human being for a draconian autocrat and the better part of that country has been blinded by bullshit, since he has done nothing but widen the gap between the rich and the poor.

In Canada, we have an incredible example, right next door, of how not to run a country, yet we don’t seem don’t appreciate it. Or have the patience to realize how much time and effort it takes to affect change on a country wide level.

A Valid Analogy

Take the Toronto Raptors NBA team.

After they lost their star, Chris Bosh, about 5 or 6 years ago, they had to go into a rebuilding mode. And the result of that rebuilding has only become really visible this year when they captured first place in their conference and secured home court advantage for the playoffs for the first time, maybe ever.

Nobody but basketball illiterates complained about how long this rebuilding process took. Because real basketball fans know that it takes four or five or six years to rebuild a team.

But we do not cut our governments anywhere near the same slack, and I would venture to say that that re-build is much more complex.

What The World Really Needs

The simple reality is that, all politics aside, the world has actually become a wide open market. Already a great many goods and services are created and sold with very little regard for borders, for the most part. It’s all pay as you go.

The problem is that politics gets in the way of commerce these days, under the guise of protectionism. But this protectionism is not good for business because it stifles competition and that has a direct impact on innovation. And innovation is what changes the world.

I thought, in my lifetime, I would see a complete world-wide free trade agreement. One that stimulated competition, created high standards and fostered business growth and a more equitable distribution of wealth up and down the food chain.

That was the dream. But the reality is that many countries are now run by unenlightened people, who really don’t get just how communications and technology have shrunk the world and made it possible to anyone to do business anywhere.

I keep going back to the US because they are the classic example of this extreme protectionism in action in the world today. What this government fails to understand is that they need the rest of the world more than ever.

What they are finding out is that the rest of the world can and will figure out ways to live without them if it has to.

None of this will end up benefiting the US over the long haul. Because if the world has proven one thing it’s that those who don’t want to play fairly, eventually end up getting excluded from the game altogether.

The US’ Problem Is Deceptively Simple.

Their leader, like many despotic leaders around the world, has no vision. He has a lot of other things, none of which are desirable, but he has proven that he does not understand the way his own government, let alone the world, works.

And the trouble is that this shortsightedness leads to very bad things like autocratic trade policies and uncivilized diplomatic relationships.

Slowly but surely, this shortsightedness and unwillingness to participate fairly in the world community will eventually get them excluded from a great deal of the new opportunity that the world is creating.

I personally feel bad for those Americans who will suffer the most over the long term.

But what I really hope for that the government of Canada can use the learning that is freely available from the US and figure out ways to keep the same thing from happening here.

And I believe our best chance at that is with an enlightened human being in charge of things. Because from what I have seen, unenlightened behavior is growing in popularity, thanks in great part to the example being set in the US.

jim out

Jim Murray is an experienced advertising and marketing professional. He is a communication strategist, writer, art director, broadcast producer, mildly opinionated op/ed blogger & beBee Brand Ambassador.

He is also a partner at Bullet Proof Consulting.

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Rip Brian Ravok, My Friend.

I just found out yesterday from his lady, Janice Brown that my old friend Brian Ravok passed away in late December of last year. Ravok, and I only ever called him that, and he only called me Murray, was, when I first met him, a film editor for a director named Tray Adair,

This was back in the 70s when I worked with Danny Floyd at Foster advertising. Ravok then flitted around the production business, edited a bunch of features, wrote a screenplay or two, got involved with PR and marketing with his partner Janice and probably did a whole bunch of other stuff.

Over the 40 years we knew each other we would simply call each other whenever the spirit moved us, have these amazingly sardonic conversations for about an hour and then go back to our lives.

I never really knew too much about what he was doing specifically, because our relationship was almost purely intellectual.

The thing I remember most about Ravok was that he had a voice like Jeremy Irons, rich, resonant, London. Couple that with genuine awareness and smarts and you have a true conversationalist and fellow scribe. It doesn’t get any better than that.

The last time I talked to Ravok was about a year before we moved to St Catharines. I told him about what we were thinking and he simply said, “Well, there’s always Skype”.

I don’t have many people in my life I would truly call friends, But Ravok was one of them.

I talked to Janice last night, and she’s still in the bouncing back stage and figuring out her next move. My best advice to her was if you don’t have to rush, don’t.

Getting older really sucks. But, despite the fact that some people hate the expression, ‘it is what it is’, it is all that and a bag of chips.

So long Ravok. You were my friend and I will miss you.

PS: I would post a pic of Ravok, but he is that rare bird whose image appears nowhere on the Internet. Maybe he was in the witness protection program. I wouldn’t put it past him.

Today I (Gulp) Publicly Apologize To Donald Trump

Today I (Gulp) Publicly Apologize To Donald Trump

I’ve been making a real effort these days to broaden and deepen my outlook on certain things that I think are important in life.

This is probably something that a lot of us should do if we want our understanding of those things to grow.

Anybody who knows me understands that I have been very troubled by the fact that Donald Trump is now playing the role of the president in a new sitcom called Make America Great Again.

For a long time I have been attacking him by calling him all kinds of things from manipulator to con man to sexist pig to anti=Semitic to racist…you know, the whole gamut of defamatory descriptors.

But tonight I saw a very interesting interview on CNN with a guy named John McWhorter, who is an American linguist, who makes determinations on peoples’ characters based on the language that they use, why they use it and what they are trying to achieve through the use of it.

He has a very interesting take on Donald Trump which, when he laid it out in the logical way that disciplined and extremely well-educated people have of doing, really opened my eyes.

The McWhorter View

In a nutshell, Mr McWhorter believes, and this makes real sense to me, that Donald Trump is essentially nothing more than a fairly typical self-centred adolescent. That everything he says is all, and I emphasize the all, about making himself look good.

Trump is trapped inside the prison of his own ego. The overriding objective of every decision that he makes is simply to make himself look good, or appear right, or appear not to be at fault or otherwise culpable for anything. Period.

What this means is that he is much, much more simplistic in his view of the world than I ever thought he was, because, that view does not extend beyond his view of himself.

So giving him credit for anything beyond that, such as assuming that his decisions are based on what’s good for the American people, his Republican party, any special interests that may be looking to him for influence, or any of the aspect of being in charge of the most powerful country in the world, is simply a case of not understanding his true nature.

After I heard this interview, which kind of smacked me upside the head, I sat back for quite a while and reflected on the sheer perfect logic of all of this. And I realized that all this time, I had been thinking about Trump all wrong.

I gave him credit for being conniving, conspiratorial, manipulative and even, in some instances clever. But I was completely out to lunch.

Donald Trump is a simpleton. He has the intellect of a totally self-absorbed, entitled 12 year old, with a vocabulary to match.

In the CNN interview, Mr McWhorter cited an excellent example of a situation where this simple-minded narcissism was obvious.

In regard to the affairs Trump had with porn star Stormy Daniels and former Playboy Playmate, Karen McDougal, a real adult would have admitted this, owned it and dealt with it, and it would have been disposed of very quickly.

However, the adolescent Trump chose not to do that. In fact, he is currently denying that he ever had affairs with these women. He is also alleging that they are both lying, despite the fact that Daniels took and passed a polygraph. LOL.

Because he is a narcissistic simpleton, he cannot be seen as wrong. He cannot be seen as having made a mistake, like having an affair with a porn star while his wife was home with a baby. He cannot be seen as admitting to anything that could possibly damage his self-image.

And though it was a hell of a thing to finally get my head around, what’s even heavier than that is just how bad this could eventually be for the American people.

Trump’s voter core have demonstrated that they don’t really care about what they consider to be ‘minor’ character flaws, this self-obsessed simplistic nature makes him very easy prey for those who would benefit from manipulating him, like Vladimir Putin or Kim Jung Un or well just about anybody.

Now I have been dancing around this notion for a while now, but the interview with Mr McWhorter really brought it home to me in concrete terms.

So I would like to take this opportunity to officially to apologize to Donald Trump.

A Big Step Forward For Yours Truly

Dear sir, or your Eminence,

I am profoundly sorry that I have so blatantly overestimated you in the past and that I have, in my ignorance, given you credit for a degree of mental faculty you simply do not possess.

I apologize profusely for having considered your displays of racism, sexism, bigotry and Islamaphobia, to name but a few, to be something you were doing consciously because of deep and long-held prejudices, when in fact they were simply acts of self-aggrandizement to extract adoration out of your political base or intellectual peer group.

I have to tell you that I have seen the error of my ways, and pledge, from now on, to refer to you only as Simpleton Don, and be very careful not to give you any more credit than that for your self-centered actions.

I hope you can find it in your heart to forgive me for all the  abuseI have heaped on you in the past. And going forward, I solemnly promise to take care to point out that any lies and treachery you create in the future will be adequately rationalized and written off to your arrested intellectual development.

Sincerely jim

PS: Here’s a clip of Mr McWhorter doing his thing.

Have a great weekend. jim out.

Jim Murray is an experienced advertising and marketing professional. He is a communication strategist, writer, art director, broadcast producer, mildly opinionated op/ed blogger & beBee Brand Ambassador.

He is also a partner at Bullet Proof Consulting.

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Why Atheists Are Not Evil

Why Atheists Are Not EvilI’m an atheist. I have been since the age of about 15. In religious parlance that is called the Age Of Reason.

When I was fifteen, I was an alter boy at
St. Michael’s Catholic church in Fort Erie. I was also something called a Columbian Squire, which the junior version of the Knights of Columbus, which you were very much expected to become at about the age of 18.

When you are young you don’t really realize what’s going on with organized religion. But its manifestations really do get inside your head. Every time you looked a girl with nice breasts you felt yourself committing the sin of lust. Every time you swore, and I swore a lot, you were pretty much taking the lord’s name in vain, because besides the word ‘fuck’ my favourite curse was “Jesus H Christ”. Variations included “Christ On A Crutch!,
 Christ On A Cracker, and the super deluxe “Jesus Fucking Christ!”

My tally of venial sins for taking the Lord’s name in vain alone would have been a slam dunk for a very overheated bachelor pad in hell.

The Revelation

One day, I was thinking about the whole concept of Heaven and Hell. As young Catholics we had a pretty elaborate vision of what that would be like.

But on this day, a freshman in the Age Of Reason, I reasoned that this was probably all bullshit.

I never acted on it right away, but, as would become a modus operandi for me in life, I held it in my head and let it sit there for a while.

Now I was smart enough to know that this was the way atheists thought, and I also knew that if I really followed through with becoming one, I would essentially be cutting myself off from a rather large part of my life at the time.

So I did what most smart young lads would and just kept it inside. Gradually over the next two years as I made it into high school, I phased out all the Catholicism out of my life.

Surprisingly, my mother, who was, a real card carrying member of the faithful, understood when I quit the squires, retired from the alter boy gig, and eventually, some three years,completely let go of the last vestiges of Catholicism.

To Each His Own

I have nothing against people who are religious. Regardless of who their God might be and goodness knows there are enough of them.

It does bother me a little that some religions are so tightly intertwined with people’s lives, like Judaism and Islam. But that’s only because of my point of view. I have read enough to know that people derive a good deal of strength and inner peace from their religion and I would never presume to have any real deep understanding of cultures other than the one in which I was raised.

What does bother me about religion are the astonishing number of people who use people’s willingness to follow them as a way to become rich. The cynicism and hypocrisy of all of that is something I saw in the early days of Billy Graham and Oral Roberts. And it seems like there has been an unbroken line of them right up to guys like Robert Schueller and Joel Osteen.

And it seems like the older I got, the more transparent their hidden agendas were to me.

Then again, a lot of people take solace in being part of those large congregations. And it’s still a free world. Pick your saviour and worship away.

Bottom Line

When I was young and the world was a simpler place, the Christian ethos was very much in force. It was difficult to escape its influence, either Catholic or any flavour of Protestant.

And I get it. The big questions surrounding our existence can be scary. Religion helps put that into a kind of perspective that most people can wrap their heads around.

Then there are the rest of us who revel in the mystery of it all. Who believe that we are just bits of energy in a carbon shell and when the shell is used up after 80 or 90 years if you’re lucky, off it goes to find another carbon shell or be part of a bolt of lighting or whatever.

Because the energy that currently power us, can neither be created nor destroyed; rather, it can only be transformed from one form to another.

That works for me as well as the concept of God works for others.

And so it goes. Because the nature of faith is to believe in something. And we all have something we believe in.


Mur SignatureJim Murray is an experienced advertising and marketing professional. He is a communication strategist, writer, art director, broadcast producer, mildly opinionated op/ed blogger & beBee Brand Ambassador.

He is also a partner at Bullet Proof Consulting.

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Why Striving For Humanity Makes More Sense Than Striving For Originality.

Why Striving For Humanity Makes More Sense Than Striving For Originality.
There is a modern day school of thought that postulates there is no longer anything that one could honestly refer to as original thinking.

In other words, no matter how innovative, original or one-of-a-kind you think your ideas might be, they have in fact, already been done by someone, somewhere at some time.
That fact that you may not know this only means that while you think your idea or post or thought is original, the amount of thinking out there is infinitely large and you can’t know everything.

This, of course is only a theory and it’s one that you can take or leave as you choose.

But if you do buy into it too seriously, it’s possible that you could become extremely demotivated to carry on thinking and expressing those thoughts.

But you shouldn’t and I will explain why.

In university, I studied philosophy, mainly because I thought it would add some depth to my writing, which up to that point had mainly consisted of smart-ass little poems and a few stories…nothing that would ever set the world on fire.

I actually learned a fair bit from those years of immersing myself in a world I barely understood and came out the other end of with some basic impressions about life and the evolution of thought.

The key thing I came to understand was that, in philosophy, all core philosophical insight was basically created by the Greek philosophers: like Plato, Socrates and Aristotle and that these basic tenets were simply, updated, added to and evolved to embrace changes in the way the world worked and how people fit into it all.

So you can look at the history of philosophical thought, which is really the history of ideas, as a continuum that stretches all the way to the present day.
And while the ideas may express themselves in different ways, or at least through the use of different language, when you boil them all down they are simply the end product of Greek philosophical thinking expressed in modern day terms.

There’s actually a great deal of comfort in that notion. Because, when you think about it, all of us, who are writing stories and articles about the way the world is, are very much a part of that continuum.

And for that reason alone, originality, which I personally believe does not exist and hasn’t for quite some time, is not what’s important about communication.

What’s important is humanity. That the things we write about are based on the things we care about. And that the things we care about are the things we feel others could, should or do care about too.

I write a lot of posts here about my experience as a writer. Sometimes it’s philosophical. Sometimes it critical. Sometimes it’s about sharing insights. Sometimes it’s self promotional.

But is is original? I have never labored under that delusion. But what I have worked hard at is making it human.

Because if we, as writers, are in fact a part of the continuum of thought, it’s extremely important that we make sure that our humanity is at the core of it.

Today’s world, despite sensationalist news stories to the contrary, and despite a handful of sub-human whackos sucking up all the air, is a much more human place than it ever has been.

There are countless numbers of people working on ideas to benefit the entire human race. There are more leaders with true vision than those who have none. There is more potential to keep this planet going strong than there is the will to destroy it.

You may not feel that way right now. But that could be due to the influences that are impacting on you currently.

Over the last while I have been making a concerted effort to move away from my attraction to the dark side of humanity and work to find and write about things are are being done to save the world, not destroy it.

I guess you could call this a noble cause. But throughout history the world has managed to survive all manner of crap and the world community has managed to grow in more positive ways than negative ways. So where I’m steering my little boat is nowhere new.

The trouble with media-based influence is that the negative gets all the attention. Because fear mongering is a form of control. And the people who control the media would prefer it that way, although I have never been able to figure out why.

I was a victim of this for quite a while without even realizing it. But one day someone on LinkedIn pointed it out to me with a collection of words that struck a chord in my head.

After that, the realization started dawning on me that instead of publicizing what I considered to be evil and negative, by the very act of in-depth criticism of it, that I should start to change gears and focus on the human site to a greater extent.

This is a slow process even at full speed. It will take some time, but I can assure you I am pointed in the right direction, and I would strongly encourage everyone who sees both the good and the evil in this world to focus their energy and attention on the good. De-emphasize the problems and focus on solutions. Be constructively critical instead of just plain bitchy.

The Greek philosophers, from we are all intellectually descended, would be proud.

BULLETPROOF OPEN LOGO FULLJim Murray is an experienced advertising and marketing professional. He is a communication strategist, writer, art director, broadcast producer, mildly opinionated op/ed blogger & beBee Brand Ambassador.
He is also a partner at Bullet Proof Consulting.

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What It Really Means To Be A Writer

What It Really Means To Be A Writer
One of the first tenets of op/ed blogging is to write about what you know.

One of the things I know best is myself. I was lucky enough to discover at a very early age what I wanted to be in life, and that was primarily a writer.

Not a Canadian writer, or a white male writer or a Scottish Italian writer, although I am all those things. I really just wanted to be a writer who could learn to express himself honestly.

This is not as easy as it sounds. Because most writers go through a phase where they are looking for their voice, and so they mimic the voice of the writers they admire.

Me & Bob

I mimicked Bob Dylan for a long time, mainly because I thought that the best way to learn to write like that was to imitate something I thought was very good to genius. Now I knew that wasn’t really going to make me famous or anything close. But at the very least it would be good practice for whatever came next.

Because there are stages and phases you have to go through to find your voice. And there are many media to try writing in before you find your preferred modes of expression.

I honesty never started out with the intention of writing op/ed articles like this one, or really any of the stuff I have been writing for most of my life.

And there has most certainly been a lot of water under the bridge since my first pathetic attempts at Dylan homage.

But that’s how it goes sometimes. Especially if you are willing to trust your own instincts, move through the phases and refine your voice by learning what you can from everything you try.

Key Insight About Writing

There’s no rule book for becoming a writer. There are books on style and story and all kinds of technical aspects of writing. But the real meat of it all is self-generated.

You have to want it. You have to live it 24/7. And you have to keep writing because if you want it and you live it and you keep on doing it, you will get good at it.

If you are among the very small percentage of people who write with genuine talent, you will get famous for it.

And if you are lucky enough to actually connect with your authentic self and be able to bottle that somehow, you will likely inspire people.

But fame or inspiration, while lofty ideals, are not the goal.

Feeding the beast and keeping it full is the goal. Because writing, like so many other creative endeavors, is an obsession.

If it’s anything less than that in your minds, well then you are just fuckin’ around with it, and you will eventually drift away from it. If it’s just something you’re good at but not obsessed with, you may make a living at it, but you will eventually retire from it.

Writing As Obsession

Writers don’t retire. Because writing is like a marriage with someone you genuinely love. Til death do us part, and all that other stuff.

In my adult life, I have only ever been a writer and I have been lucky enough to have gotten very well paid for a lot of it, to have a career where I am called a writer and have my writing support a family, a comfortable lifestyle in the big city, and an even more comfortable one in a smaller city.

And though I have been at it for a long time, I wake up every day with the distinct feeling that I still have miles to go.

I feel this way because after all these years and all those words and ideas and verses and choruses and screenplays and concepts and ads and commercials and memes and posts the most important thing I have learned is that writing is not about the goal.

It’s about the journey, and I hate that word, because it is so hackneyed.

But it’s the best word to describe the writer’s life. The journey is life long. It is filled with amazing experiences, occasional visions and flashes of brilliance, more frustration than you can imagine, and, for me personally, the desire to lay down something anywhere in the Dylan Ballpark.

I wish I could write you a melody so plain

That would hold you, dear lady, from going insane

That would ease you and cool you and cease the pain

Of your useless and pointless knowledge…

Bob Dylan (Tombstone Blues)

In today’s world, writing is a core skill that everybody needs to have. But for some it’s simply what they were born to do. They would, and often do it for nothing but the pure unbridled joy and sometimes gestalt, of self-expression.

So in answer to the question of what it means to be a writer, I can only speak for myself. And what it means to me, is that I will always, regardless of how many people I reach with it, have an outlet that allows me to keep my feelings from being bottled up inside, and risk an implosion.

And that is my best advice to all of you. Write to express your feelings. Because if you learn how to do that, you will become what is commonly referred to by yet, another hackneyed term, authentic.

jim out.

Jim Murray is a highly experienced advertising and marketing professional. He is a communication strategist, op/ed blogger, writer, art director and broadcast producer.

He is also a partner at Bullet Proof, a consultancy specializing in Brand Engineering: Helping companies achieve more effective branding, stronger reputation management, greater productivity, higher efficiencies, and ultimately, increased profits.

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