I was the sort of baby who liked to chew on books. Born into a family of artists, I babbled for hours in my crib, pondering the shape of words (and tasty binding glue, perhaps). Twenty-eight years later, little has changed. I talk all the time and fuss over language, over stories and their telling. Though I’m less likely to drool on my work, I remain hungry as ever.
Chapter 1: The Teenage Years
Middle school prescience being what it is, my eighth grade class pegged me twice in the yearbook: once as ‘Most Artistic’ and again as ‘Most Original.’ I enrolled in the creative writing program at a performing arts high school, experimenting in a wide range of genres and performing my work at state universities and festivals. I was hooked.
Chapter 2: College Gets Real
At the College of William and Mary, I wrote poetry and fiction and also became a lifestyle columnist for the student newspaper. As I researched arts topics and led interviews, the truth became this nerd’s paradise and non-fiction stole my heart. I wrote the Student Commencement Address, then blogged for my alumni association, then started my own site about the quarter-life crisis (full deets and samples here). Connecting with millennials and baby boomers alike, I decided honesty really is the best policy.
Chapter 3: Smells like Success
Shortly after graduation, I landed a marketing job at a global fragrance house. I learned how to follow consumer trends and craft effective business communications. I learned how to smell top and bottom notes and sniffed a LOT of candles. Mostly I created trend presentations for consumer goods brands across the country, suggesting new scent ideas in everything from candles to car air fresheners. (More here.) For each visit, I collected colors families and flavors, created mood boards and names, and described each fragrance as its own small story. In short, I communicated with all my senses–a show, don’t tell for the marketing world.