No, not content as in ‘contentment’. Content as in what my job in commerce has chosen to call the work that occupies my days.

The description makes me grind my teeth.

Content for what? As a subset for some function? As in the contents of a glass? Good grief, what next? Shall we rename the venerable store here in Denver The Tattered Cover Content Store?

I am not content. Nor a contenter. I write. I am a writer. I write writing.

Okay, okay…I know that this description, content, is a flavor of the moment; one small element of that grab bag of mildly diseased and “wha’?” terms that are everywhere in business, these days. Even the august Forbes magazine featured on article about business-speak they would be perfectly happy never to hear again. I won’t share them here, not their least favorites nor mine. But plainspeaking is at a premium. Do we really believe that throwing in businessisms by the handful will give our thoughts a gravitas and influence that they don’t possess otherwise?

The thing that chaps me most about having my work referred to as content is the disrespect the word implies; that it is just a filler for something more important…as if we could communicate just as effectively by pictures. It rankles me as much as when an agency or a client calls the art aspect of the work “creative”…as if the writing is not. Folks, creative is all of us.

I have heard—and continue to hear in my career in commerce—that really good writers are hard to find. And yet, in a career in which our work is regarded, it seems, somewhere near the level of manual labor and we are increasingly pressed to produce by quantity rather than quantity in service to the corporate bottom line, content is what we seem to be making.

In the Georgia O’Keefe show I attended over the weekend, I was struck by the courage of the artist who will live her art. I wish I were that person. Ms. O’Keefe did not create visual content. Shakespeare, Dickens, Donne, Nabokov, Bradbury: Theirs was not content.

Hello, what do you do as a day job?  I make content.

Oh dear me. Will someone publish me soon? Please? Life in a garret, eating ramen noodles, is starting to seem like such a viable alternative to career….

 

About these ads