Friday, January 21, 2005

"...I'll write, from this day forward, to please myself."

Welcome to Purple Ink! After 10 years as a journalist, during which I was required, all too often, to write to please editors who had little clue what was happening in the real world, and several more years as a marketing writer, which requires one to write to please a staggering array of overpaid, not-terribly-bright corporate overlords, this is an experiment in writing what I want to write, the way I want to write it.

In the second chapter of Virginia Woolf's novel "Orlando," the title character is reeling from his interaction with the famous but cash-strapped writer Nick Greene. Greene, after initially sucking up to Orlando in an attempt to gain his patronage, has publicly trashed the aristocratic Orlando's poetry. Traumatized, Orlando gives up on his pursuit of literary fame: "'I'll be blasted,' he said, 'if I ever write another word, or try to write another word, to please Nick Greene or the Muse. Bad, good, or indifferent, I'll write, from this day forward, to please myself.'"

I've been thinking about this quote from "Orlando" a lot lately, given my latest career transition. Reporting was fun, but it was the rare occasion when I got to cover a topic I was actually interested in. My experiment in corporate marketing writing only succeeded in convincing me that when marketing directors say they want to hire a writer, what they mean is that they want to hire someone to type up their boss's ideas and to tell him what a brilliant guy he is, even if he is in fact a drooling jackass.

That can get kind of old. So three months ago, shortly after giving birth to Little Peanut, whose adventures will be detailed here, I quit my last marketing job. (And I do mean, my last marketing job.) Now in addition to being Mommy, I'm going to be a person who writes for myself. I'm going to write about politics, journalism, literature, parenthood, and whatever else comes to mind.

Oh, about the title: Virginia Woolf wrote her novels in purple ink because she loved the color. It just made her happy.

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