Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Spirit of Detroit Gets a Makeover

The city of Detroit, the state of Michigan and unfortunately the entire nation (thanks to AP stories!) knows the nitty gritty details of the shame and turmoil our great city has faced over the past year. But, a new leaf has turned. The dark clouds have parted and the city of Detroit is slowly peeling back the bandage that has covered one of its deepest wounds in history to begin the healing process.

This renaissance period, or rebirth of the city, that we are all so looking forward to really resonated yesterday at the Spirit of Detroit 50th anniversary celebration. I was lucky enough to sneak away from work for an hour to participate in the festivities. The mean, green machine has been a symbolic gem in our city for the past 50 years and has even donned many jerseys (yes, even a Lions jersey) to support our champion sports teams. But, he was in dire need of some revitalization. Age and weather had caused great damage to the statue's green patina exterior and marble base. Venus Bronze Works, Inc. in Detroit worked on the statue's restoration, while CASO-IMPEX in Birmingham handled the restoration of the Vermont marble backdrop and base. And I must say, he looks sharp :)

Here are some fun facts about the larger-than-life man:
  • The original sculptor was Marshall Fredericks.
  • He's made of bronze and weighs nine tons!
  • The Spirit was originally cast in Oslo, Norway and is the largest cast bronze statue since the Renaissance period.
  • He holds 24-karat gold leaf figures in each hand. One depicts a cradled family and the other is a spire representing a higher power.

According to Marshall Fredericks, "The statue represents the spirit of man. In his left hand, he holds a symbol of God, and in the right hand, a family group. It expresses the concept that God, through the spirit of man, is manifested in the family, the noblest relationship."

If only Marshall would have known way back when that the statue's revitalization marks the beginning of Detroit's revitalization. For some time now, many creative folks in the state of Michigan have been working strenuously to revitalize our city to bring and retain creative talent. We got pushed back a few steps by all the D-town drama that we've faced this year, but I truly believe we are back on the right path.

I looked around at the faces in the crowd yesterday at the Spirit of Detroit celebration, and everyone there looked truly happy - happy to take part in the Spirit's b-day bash, happy to hear remarks from the city's new leadership and just plain happy to be happy about Detroit again! It reminded me that against all odds, I'm proud to say that I work and play in Detroit.

So happy 50th birthday Mr. Spirit of Detroit. Thanks for reigniting the flame in our Detroit spirit!

Sunday, September 21, 2008

A New Resource to Find Out if Your Pitch Sucks

To succeed in PR, one must possess creative characteristics. PR pros must write, think, pitch and communicate creatively. It's difficult to rank those in order of importance, but I definitely think pitching creativity takes the gold.

I recently came across this Web site, It reviews your pitches and tells you straight up whether or not your pitch sucks. The idea came to Jim Kukral after many failed attempts of gaining publicity from his pitches and news releases. He later figured out that it was as simple as this: His pitches sucked! So Jim wants to help perfect your pitch before you send it out to journalists, especially when you're responding to queries via ProfNet or Help a Reporter Out.

So all you have to do is sign up (it's free!) and submit your pitch for review. Now I will admit, I have signed up, but I haven't gotten as far as submitting a pitch yet. I definitely plan to in the near future to see what kind of feedback I receive. If anyone has previously submitted a pitch, I'd love to hear your thoughts on how you feel about this service and if the feedback was valuable. Feel free to respond to this post, shoot me an e-mail or DM me on Twitter.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Feeling Uncreative and Uninspired? Turn to Quotes!

I work at a creative public relations agency with creative people who encourage creative thinking on a daily basis. But some days, I get sucked into a non-creative vortex. Sometimes, I simply don't feel inspired and I don't have the mental or physical energy to get inspired or be creative. Yeah I know, not exactly a mental state conducive to my job. I am sure many other professionals across various creative industries feel my same pain on occasion. So, what's the common cure for the uncreative, uninspiring doldrums?

Some may listen to music to get inspired, while others may scrounge up enough creative juices to pump out a blog post (or journal entry for those who haven't entered the blogosphere yet!) Some may hit the gym to give their creativity a jolt, while others may read.

SIDE NOTE: if you're looking for inspiration in the form of a book, I'd suggest reading Eat, Pray, Love. I'm about halfway through and I think it's phenomenal!

I, on the other hand, and being the sap that I am, turn to words in the form of quotes. I have collected many quotes through the years, and while cleaning out drawers this weekend, I came across one of my favorite quote books that I had tucked away and forgotten that it even existed. The title is simple: be. There are hundreds of ways to "be" in life, but I thought I would share a few quotes from the book that have helped refuel my creativity and inspiration.

Be First To achieve the impossible, it is precisely the unthinkable that must be thought - Tim Robbins

Be Proactive Whatever you are meant to do, move toward it and it will come to you - Gloria Dunn
Be Excited The minute you begin to do what you really want to do, it's really a different kind of life - Buckminster Fuller

Be Amazing
It is up to you to illuminate the world - Phillippe Venier

Be Strong
We define ourselves by the best that is in us, not the worst that has been done to us - Edward Lewis

Be Different
Don't go with the flow, you are the flow - Sugi Tanaka

Be Positive
What you find in your mind is what you put there. Put good things in there - Mary Ford

Be Hopeful
I haven't a clue as to how my story will end. But that's all right. When you set out on a journey and night covers the road, that's when you discover the stars - Nancy Willard

Be Confident
Look the world straight in the eye - Helen Keller

Be Spontaneous
Live nutty. Just occasionally. Just once in awhile. And see what happens. It brightens up the day - Leo Buscaglia

Be Yourself
Simply the thing that I am shall make me live - William Shakespeare

And the quote to sum it all up...

Grandma Moses said it best, "Life is what we make it, always has been and always will be."

Got any other quotes that help pull you through the blah times? Do share :)