5CT October 2015

T his autumn edition of 5CT is dedicated to passionate humans everywhere who chase their muse, their passions and their creative obsessions to the ends of the earth. A friend and mentor writes a seriously good novel. After you read this, stone inscriptions will never be the same. What the Fuck is a fucking amazing listen. The Great Gatsby was great, but how about that cover art? An amazing woman talks about work, and, um, super chickens. “Noise is a buffer, more effective than cubicles or walls.” Margaret Heffernan

Seattle copywriter 1.

John simmons author and book cover for leaves(cover and author photo by Jessie Simmons)

My friend John Simmons has written a very lovely book that does what every good novel should do. It evokes a time and a place and is populated with indelible characters. The language—as you might expect—is original and beautiful. Sometimes it is startling. John started this book some years ago and fate smiled upon him in the form of London based publisher, Urbane. My friend Neil Baker loved it too…

I really enjoyed this book. It’s a portmanteau novel set in one street in 1970s London. A present-day narrator looks back on the murky goings on in Ophelia Street, telling us about the lives of the people who once lived there.

The writing is beautiful, especially the descriptions of the changing seasons and the inner yearnings of the characters. But the writer shows wonderful economy, too. Nothing is over-written. In fact, there’s so much left unsaid.

And it’s gripping. There’s no central story or lead character, but the book is a real page-turner – and that’s not often the case with writing this literary. I think I read it in three sittings, which is very rare for me.

Actually, perhaps the lead character is the place itself – Ophelia Street, where the interwoven stories unfold. Like many of the people in the novel, the street is at a turning point in its history; the book is a fascinating description of a London that no longer exists. But it’s also a very moving and humane story about a collection of people who I really came to care about.

Buy it. You will love. 

Seattle copywriter2.
Calligraphers & stone carvers at The John Stevens Shop

Nick and John Everett Benson

left to right :: Nicholas Waite Benson & John Everett Benson (photos (c) 5CT)

5CT had the great privilege last month to visit one of the most interesting — and oldest — businesses in the country. The John Stevens Shop (Newport, RI) opened in 1705. John Everett Benson (right) is the stone carver who carved the JFK Memorial at Arlington. He was 25. On the left is his son, Nicholas Waite Benson, a stone carver who carved the WW II Memorial, the MLK Memorial, Maya Lin’s Civil Rights Memorial in Montgomery, Alabama among many, many more. Both are world-renowned calligraphers and stone carvers.

Screen Shot 2015-10-03 at 11.20.25 PM

{Inscription work by Nick Benson / Four Freedoms Park, Roosevelt Island, NY}

The patriarch of the Benson tribe is John Howard Benson, (John Everett’s father, Nick’s grandfather) whose story begins around 1926-27. He was an artist and scholar who taught at the Rhode Island School of Design and helped bring stone carving in the United States to an astonishing level of expression, beauty, craft and expertise. You’ll be hearing more about the John Stevens Shop. For now, a great overview at the New Yorker >>

One of the western world’s greatest examples of stone carving, and the Roman letter, on the via Appia Antiqua in Rome.

(c) tour guide girl(Photo by Tour Guide Girl :: https://tourguidegirl.wordpress.com/)

Seattle copywriter3.
Podcast mania | WTF with Marc Maron

Mark Maron by Dmitri von Klein

The first thing 5CT wants you to know about the amazing podcast WTF, is that President Obama was a guest. The next interesting thing to know is how Marc Maron greets listeners at the top of the show. So just before Barack Obama settled in for a nice long chat, listeners heard something like this, “All right, how are you….What the f…ers” My favorites might be What the fuckelberries and What the fuckminster Fullers. Two most recent podcasts you should check out: President Obama & Keith Richards. (Not together, fyi.)

(c) splitsider and MITCHELL SCHERR

Seattle copywriter4.
F. Scott Fitzgerald

Cover of the Great Gatsby

Great piece in Smithsonia.com about the Gatsby cover:

It’s one of the most recognizable book covers in the history of American literature: two sad female eyes and bright red lips adrift in the deep blue of a night sky, hovering ominously above a skyline that glows like a carnival. Evocative of sorrow and excess, this haunting image has become so inextricably linked to The Great Gatsby that it still adorns the cover of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s masterpiece 88 years after its debut. This iconic work of art was created by Spanish artist Francis Cugat.

Seattle copywriter5.
Margaret Heffernan talks super chickens and work

Fascinating look into productivity and how we organize ourselves. Does not look kindly upon competition — in school, work or politics.Big takeaway: most successful teams have a) high social sensitivity to each other, b) they give roughly equal time to each other c) and the more successful groups had more women. Worth watching the whole thing.


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