The other day, I received an inspiring quote in my inbox. As a writer and lover of all things literature, I’d already seen the quote many times before, and knew it had been adified* slightly. But lately, I’ve been thinking a lot about this quote and it’s impact on those of us fortunate enough to create messages for the masses. I’ve chosen to post the original quote, not the adified one, because I’d like to attempt my own adification** with it.
It’s from On the Road, by Jack Kerouac.
“…because the only people for me are the mad ones, the ones who are mad to live, mad to talk, mad to be saved, desirous of everything at the same time, the ones who never yawn or say a commonplace thing, but burn, burn, burn like fabulous yellow roman candles exploding like spiders across the stars and in the middle you see the blue centerlight pop and everybody goes ‘Awww!’”
Now, I find this quote inspiring on many levels—my life, my friendships, and my creative endeavors. As an ad writer, I jump at the opportunity to write madly, or create something that’s anything but commonplace in hopes that it will burn, burn, burn like a fabulous Cannes Lion exploding in job offers across the stars. Frankly, that’s the dream of most of us sitting in creative departments on Earth. But lately, having the opportunity to work in the creatively challenged category of health care, I’ve discovered an even more impactful way to see the blue centerlight pop: positivity.
I’ve found that the impact of a single-focused, blindly positive message in a category filled with scary statistics, daunting diseases, and clinical, impersonal data can be powerful. Dare I say, inspirational? Leaving the masses with a feeling of hope and positivity in lieu of fear, or worse—complacency—and we’ve done the impossible: mattered.
And fortunately, this is what I’ve been feeling, lately, driving around Chicago and seeing all the billboards blooming with flowers and a single message celebrating cancer survivorship for Advocate Health Care: the power of positivity. Because people can fear for the worst or they can hope for the best. And well, which message would you rather live by?
So, this is where I’d like to adify*** Kerouac’s quote.
“…because the only people for me are the mad-positive ones, the ones who are mad to live, mad to talk, mad to inspire, desirous of everything at the same time, the ones who never yawn or say a commonplace thing, but put positivity out there like fabulous yellow roman candles exploding like spiders across the stars and in the middle you see the blue centerlight pop and everybody goes ‘Now, that matters!’”
So, if you, too, have the good fortune of writing for the masses, I’d like to challenge you to burn, burn, burn with simple positivity in your creative. Just give it a try. Who knows what it might lead to?
And now, I’d like to close with another Kerouac quote. This one also speaks to me, but I think I’ve said enough for now, so I’ll just let Jack have the last word. After all, he inspired this post. Enjoy.
“Life is life, and kind is kind.”
*My newly made-up term for something whose original, artistic state has been altered for advertising.
**Another thing we ad people do: turn verbs into nouns, sorry.
***Oh, so many options with this word!