Wednesday, November 11, 2009
The following is a story I wrote in a workshop 2 years ago to describe why and how I came to be in Public Relations.
My father called them ‘alleys’ – probably because they resemble the fulsome yellow eyes of alley cats – but I always knew them as marbles, the schoolyard currency of preadolescent boys jammed deep into overall pockets or toted in the purple velvet sacks that came with high-end rye whiskeys. In the late 80’s marbles occupied every school recess and lunch break. Kings, Jumbos, Steelies, Opals, Black pearls - I had them all. At age nine I was the neighborhood pro and a little bit obsessed. Strangely enough, however, my absorption in marble culture offered me unique opportunities to discover early communications skills, which can now serve as poignant examples of how I was steered into the public relations field.
Like almost everyone, we had a peculiar teacher at our school who, in addition to wearing black socks with sandals, garish broaches in the shapes of animals and unhealthy amounts of perfume that somehow smelled fluorescent, was also a really unhappy woman. She especially hated marbles. She hated how the kids in her class would trade marbles behind her back while she scribbled on the chalk board, cringing at the sound of them hitting the parquet floors. She hated that she became some sort of referee during recesses when kids would come crying to her because they lost their favorite marble in a match. She hated them so much she would snatch them away from children at every chance. She was a Hungry Hungry Hippo.
One day, a friend of mine hauled his entire collection of marbles to school in a large plastic pail. While the children were queuing to enter the building, he shifted out of line to talk marbles with another kid in the line next to us. *SNAP! Shrieking incoherently, the teacher tore the bucket from his hand and launched it across the yard. Of course all the kids broke ranks, scrambling for my friend's marbles, me included. It was chicken feed for our souls and we pocketed those shiny multicoloured globes in a beggar's frenzy, but it was the culminating moment in a long saga that finally led to the school principal calling an emergency assembly.
There was no debate, marbles were to be banned. This was the decree and the teachers smiled smugly to themselves as we whined in astonishment. When everyone settled, the principal once again addressed the students. He asked if there were any comments – I had one.
“Sir,” I began, as I rose and stood on my seat. “I think this is unfair. On behalf of everyone who plays marbles in this school I beg you, please don’t ban them.” I was told to sit down. It made no difference. The assembly disassembled and we filed back to our classrooms as though heading for the gallows.
After school a group of us met in the street outside my house. Because of my oration earlier, I was chosen to lead a resistance. We devised a marketing strategy and drew posters on the sidewalk until well past when the streetlights came on and our parents began shouting from the windows. The next morning we posted flyers, circulated petitions in the classrooms and gave inspirational talks during recesses. We nagged our parents to call the principal and to help us write letters to the school board. We invented a secret language that quickly irradiated throughout the school. Teachers noticed that we were more distracted than before the marble ban. Now they could hardly understand what we were saying.
A month later another assembly was called. It was short. Marbles would be allowed again in the spring, with certain conditions. Our black-socked teacher nearly wept at the news. That was enough for us. We emptied into the halls pumping our fists in triumph.
Without knowing it I had begun my communications career. Having represented the interests of the marble-playing community, devised an awareness campaign and actively engaged my peers to democratically affect their school’s policies, I learned that I had an ability to communicate effectively and that epiphany has lasted through to today. As such, I can certainly say that I will always love communications…and marbles.
Saturday, October 24, 2009
If you're interested to know what is involved in a traditional Korean wedding, visit us at www.roryandjamie.wordpress.com. You can also follow us on Twitter at www.twitter.com/roryandjamie.
By the way, the pic above isn't that random. Geese are an important symbol of fidelity in Korea. :)
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Wednesday, September 2, 2009
with only one fair spirit for my minster.
That I might forget the human race,
And hating no one, love her only."
- Lord Byron
Ra is heated
his perpetual brilliance cast out
so scorpions retreat to the shadows
cowering into narrow creases.
Their sting burns
against the searing of bare flesh
so I never notice
the vast expanse expanding
in a distending mirage.
Jaded djinn wail within the feral sands
whip my eyes
taunt me with an inescapable fast.
I stoop to my knees
for light to bow below the dunes
to the empress wrapped
in silver folds of sand
glimmers in the cooling starlight
my divining rod.
Long fingers weave the wind
soothing spring kisses
along a silk road
towards her hidden oasis.
She breathes softly as we bathe beneath
'I will wrap you in the finest of silks.
For you are the Sultan of Ajban.'
Monday, August 31, 2009
it shakes with restless waking
the evening and raging buses.
Their faces turn towards the dirty lights of street stalls
and babble with the fire
I walk between them, parting oceans
I only just crossed
into littered streets and towards
the knotted women root on bus stop benches
– bent smiles
are like the music of subway stations.
Exposed fawn calves of schoolgirls
the plaid of their skirts, cigarette butts on street curbs, the wafting scent of fish oils.
East past fast food restaurants
ancient stone walls lead from neon
Grey block ramparts encircle secret gardens
of past princes shadowing shallow ponds
and an island of yellow grass.
Paths lined by magnolia lead deeper
crimson blossoms peeking through the prison bar bamboo.
There is a forested mountain and a sapphire-tiled shrine, rocky streams, farms of rice.
Toothless men dig barefoot through watercress, eyes gleaming
as the clams spill from an overfull basket.
On the peak
a ginger stone, bent like Buddha, overlooks a jade kingdom.
Silver wing-tips play in velvet pine,
candid chatter swimming through the valley.
Eternity is trapped in the fragrance of stagnant rainwater
beneath a warming sun.
If I don’t come back
this is where you should find me.
The drum beats steady by my hand.
Tuesday, January 6, 2009
The ride erupted, tossing us with calculated detonations
And within the rust-iron cage
We imagined the streaking neon flashes
Into falling sparks
Screams above and beside
Holding your balance with one hand
You clutched your breast pocket with the other
But couldn’t keep the hotdog in
You were always smiles and hilarity
A warm red caramel fix
Of candy apples
In a dark carnival
Your disarming masquerade
Driving me home on vapid country highway
The car veered unnoticed
Because you were a joker cackling
The punch line eluding me
When it’s not expected
A wheel turning gravel feels like dentist drills
Abrasive friction, stomach dissolving into itself
Like the screams within us
You were telling me you stopped drinking
As the ditch slammed into your door
My face into the glove compartment
The rust-irony unfolding in the random blasts
Rolling in that silent chaos of head trauma
I could only think
Fuck you, fuck you
While imagining the falling sparks
Into streaking neon flashes