Power of Branding and Freedom of Poetry

Maya Angelou once said (I'm paraphrasing) '' the purpose of all life is to be able to live like a poet one day. '' She went on to say that since poets already live like poets, their lives were not a postpone project, but the-ultimate-goal-realized by default.

How many times we have heard of those retirement dreams … the narratives that inevitably start with '' one day I'd like to … '' and continues with a description of one idyllic state or another … a beach house in Key West … playing golf eight hours a day in Arizona … buying a summer house in Florida and moving for good … writing (ah, at long last) that great novel, the chapters of which are lying somewhere inside those moldy cardboard boxes in the basement … to take the oath of chastity and join a monastery or a yoga ashram … take that trip to the Far East … or maybe even to throw itself with passion into a cause that is much larger than one's own limited life, like a political party, a crusade, a fund-raising juggernaut perhaps … on and on.

But underneath it all the aim is to arrive at that sublime state of inner peace and gentleness, something ill-defined but real, fuzzy but warm, a feeling that we feel is our birthright. Underneath it all we do not all point the gyroscopes of our lives to that nebulous state of elation and redemption that we sometimes refer to as '' poetic ''?

The rest is mostly a life-long process of branding ourselves as a desirable product in this increasingly globalized and fickle marketplace.

A brand is a total image with a price, a consistent package with defined and perceived borders. We are engineers. Attorneys. Machinists. Singers. Doctors. Teachers. Experts. Go-to guys. Ministers. Project managers. Historians. Curators. Tank drivers. Chefs. Shrinks. Plumbing … and, yes, Poets. Poets come in branded varieties as well. There is even a '' Poet Laurate '' for the whole United States (for the last few years we were extremely fortunate to have Billy Collins and Stanley Kunits and Ted Kooser as the PT Person).

All branding by definition shuns contradiction and ambivalence like a plague.

Fuzzy logic is fine for hi-tech digital cam-recorders but not for the experts that command healthy speaking fees. CEOs and four star generals are not expected to wear their troubling questions on their sleeves. Researchers at NIH do not get grants and doctors for not knowing what to do in the face of a new virus strain.

If things do not make sense outside a certain framework, then a branded professional knows how not to step outside that framework. A brand provides reproducible solutions to carefully-worded questions. Existentential panic does not command a premium price on the capitalist auction block.

Poetry, on the other hand, is a vulnerable exploration into everything that is left out by branding. It has no guarantees. No guidelines.

You can certainly encourage people to write poems. But I'm not sure at all if you can '' teach '' how to write poetry with the kind of money-back-guarantee bravado that is commonplace for a successful brand.

It is the only Odyssey that each person has to take all alone, go out and wander in the world, meet his demons, take them on one by one, beat them and return home victorious … only to do the same all over again the very next day.

Poetry, to use an analogy that Billy Collins has used in an Alaskan Quarterly Review interview, is like finding something curious sticking out from the sand in a desert and removing all that sand to discover the rest of the intriguing object. In that, poetry represents a vast freedom to rediscover all that is hidden from or by power.

Poetry raises all the in-between states and ambiguities censored by branding. So it is subversive by default.

However in that subversion there is also a deep affirmation of the most basic human value of all – freedom. That's despite the only thing branding can not buy and sell in the marketplace. A brand's power depends only on consumption. Poetry, on the other hand, is free the moment it is produced.

Our world needs more poets get into branded power play. Certainly someone like Leopold Sedar Senghor, a poet who became a statesman, will be remembered for his uplifting and dignified approach to international conflict. And conversely, I hope more branded professionals get into poetry as a way to humanize the market place of good and services.

What if the United Nations held a Poetry Workshop for one day of the year, with mandatory participation for all heads of state?

What if everyone in the world voted for the best Power Poet of the year through the Internet and the winner was declared on Valentine's Day?

Or what if Fortune 500 companies had poetry classes for their managers? Would not that be the ultimate out-of-the-box thinking and problem-solving bonanza on stereoids?

And what would happen if before one country attacked another, the presidents and top generals from both sides were forced to lock themselves in a room and write at least one poem, expressing why they hate the "other guys" and why they must fight? What if those poems were then distributed to the citizens of both nations and the world? Perhaps they would still go on and fight. And otherwise, just a tiny little shivering perhaps, they would not.

Without poetic abilities, branding easily degrades into a repetition of the past. If you are building a bridge, repetition of the past experience might actually be a beneficial discipline since no one wants to re-discover trigonometry every time there is a river to cross.

But in much more complex affairs of the heart, of which I consider international politics to institute just a small subset, the vulnerable freedom of a poem could be the only thing standing between our endangered humanity and the discovery of our birthright freedom – and even perhaps salvation.

5 Reasons Women Love Romance Movies

Since the beginning of cinema, romance movies have been well loved – predominately by women. Today, when a new romantic comedy or drama hits theaters, it's the perfect excuse for a ladies' night gathering. Many men (and even a few women) have amazed what it is about this genre of film that draws women in. Here are 5 reasons women love romance movies.

Women Love Getting In Touch With Their Emotions

Women are emotional beings, and not only do they have no issue displaying their emotions but many do not mind having those emotions drawn out of them. Sometimes it just feels good to have a hearty laugh or let the tears flow while watching others go through the ebb and flow of finding love, falling in love and losing love.

Women Prefer to Watch Rather Than Read Romance

Okay, so this is not true for all women (but what statement is?). However, with the busyness that consumes the daily lives of most women, many prefer watching romance movies to reading romance novels. It's less time consuming, equally entertaining -or more so for some- and equally emotion spurring.

Women Love Using Romance Movies to Hint At Men

Women love watching romance movies to throw hints at the men in their lives as to what he should or should not be doing in their relationship. Some women will watch the movies alone while making notes or with their guy and having him take notes. Yes, a woman wants a man to chase her when she storms out after a fight, to serenade her from below her bedroom window and of course, to whisper sweet cinematic lines in her ear that give Tom Cruise's classic "You complete me" some serious competition.

Women Relate to the Characters or Plot

Some romance movies are just plain happy -and women may love those too- but some women love the more realistic films, the ones they can painfully refer to. Typically, stories of lost love and young love spark emotions in women and bring up old memories but women can appreciate the way the film made them feel and even relish in the memories.

Women Want to Be the Characters and Live the Plot

So, what's the number one reason most women love romance movies? The Fantasy, of course! The happy ending is what every woman wants and few get to live in real life. It's a nice escape from the reality of real life relationships for 90 minutes!

Antique Furniture: The Timeless Classic

When you do a search online for Antique Furniture, one of the first listings that pop up is a Wikipedia article stating just the general basics of how antique furniture is valued. These criteria include how the monetary value of a piece of antique furniture correlates to its age, rarity, and condition.

What exactly does this mean for a consumer looking to add antique decor to a house? The factors vary. While they are highly collectible, acquiring Antique Furniture began as a means to express one's status, and to this day is still an effective means to do so. Antique Furniture captures the essence of the height of style and luxury from the era the furniture originates. Purchasing a table from Leighton Hall for example, captures the grandeur of the old English estate, and can create a similar feeling of ageless rustic royalty in the room. Alternately, a purchase of antique EJ Victor furniture may create the appearance eighth century high class with its hand made craftsmanship.

These days, most furniture stores will offer to sell antiques right along their brand new factory-direct couches, tables, chairs and cabinets. In these situations, caveat emptor is the rule. Without you already happen to be a connoisseur of all things antique, or can bring one with you, it is recommended that you keep your eye open for a couple of things. If you want a real antique, see if you can find some sort of maker's mark. Once locating this, take note of a manufacture date. Take this information to a knowledgeable source to see if they have any more information for you concerning the piece of furniture you have your eye on. Something you can do on your own is to look for imperfections in the restoration of the article you are thinking about purchasing. Uneven finishes, mottle veneer, and other indicators that it was a rushed job are all signs that you should either move on, or expect to spend some extra money fixing it up.

Those looking specifically for Antique Furniture will have much better luck going to an actual antiques furniture store. Many of them have a passion for the business, and these individuals are knowledgeable about their work. Instead of going off site for information about an item of furniture you have in mind, sales staff often times have great insight into the items they sell. You also will be hard pressed to find a better selection of antique furniture than at a store that actually specializes in what you're looking for. At a good antique store you'll be able to find a wide assortment of price, style, and rarity while being met with excellent condition across the board.

Web Branding – Make A Name For Yourself

There really are three different levels of marketing significance when it comes to your online business.

There are three different levels of strategy that result in three different sets of results.

1) Advertising – This role is primarily designed to elicit short-term results on a specific campaign or site performance goal.

2) Search Engine Optimization (SEO) – This role is designed for long-term growth by getting search engines to recognize your site and view you as trustworthy and describing of a high ranking.

3) Web Branding – This role is also designed for long-term growth, but may have more to do with customer confidence in your product and less to do with driving new traffic to your site.

In web branding the idea is to develop a confidence in your product and or service.

Did you know it is possible to develop a strong web brand and find customers returning even if that means paying more with your site?

Why is this true?

If you develop sound web branding strategies a customer will have no problem returning to use your services or buy your product. Customers will pay the extra if for no other reason than they are confident you can and will deliver on your promises. These customers have seen your track record and they are satisfied you will do what you say you will do.

In times past there was greater brand loyalty for house cleaning products, food items, clothing and even vehicles. Branding of most products is becoming harder to do, but it's not impossible.

Web site owners who have taken the time to really understand the core of their business begin to gain a clear picture of how they can take the uniqueness of the business and leverage that special something into a means of branding their company online.

This is important because there are businesses that stop at advertising. Other businesses will add an impressive array of SEO strategies that will eventually get them noticed. While both of these are important strategies the miss the mark in defining the difference between online businesses that sells a product and THE online source for a product or service.

The end goal is to have customers view you as the only reputable seller of whatever product you specialize in.

There are many too many businesses that are content to simply sell a product without ever really making a name for themselves.

Is not it time you started taking steps to make a name for yourself?