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.

Oh to Own a Designer Dress!

How many women can honestly say, without crossing fingers behind backs, that they have not gone weak-kneed at the sight of that oh so alluring designer dress, which sparkles so suggestively in the shop window? It can be safely assumed, judging by the popularity of such dresses, that those who answer 'no' are in the minority.

Seemingly innocent at first glance, the power a beautifully designed garment can hold over a person, is astonishing. Just go to any designer shop and you will hear the agonised mutterings of 'Oh, I really should not … No, I'm not going to buy it … Well, there's no harm in just trying it on .. Oh God, I love it … No, I can not buy it … Ok, just this once … '

The heart usually prevails and the person in question returns home with the contented feeling they have just bought something special; something that not everyone else has. This is the lure of the designer.

Although clothing's fundamental purpose is to protect the body from nature's elements, its role has radically altered over time. Historians believe the first clothes consist of materials like fur, leather and leaves, which were wrapped around a person's body, thus sheltering them from the weather. In today's society however, clothes are viewed more as a statement about an individual, rather than being necessary for their survival.

Advances in technology, such as central heating, helped to bring about this change, but it is understood that Charles Frederick Worth, born in England in 1825, shaped the world of clothing, and in particular, women's dressmaking; thus giving birth to the term 'fashion' in the way we understand it today.

After moving to France to work for Parisian drappers, Gagelin and Opigez, Mr Worth married one of their models, where he began making dresses for her. Soon after, customers began asking for replicas of the dresses, which prompted him to seek financial backing for his own dressmaking business.

In time, he became named for his designs, which were much simpler and said to be more flattering for the lady's figure than others of the time; he has become popular with an array of rich, distinguished women, including royalty and the famous. He also moved away from letting women design garments themselves, and instead chose to display his own designs at fashion shows, which were held four times a year.

So the rise of the designer dress began, and other fashion designers followed suit to create whole collections of designer clothes.

Fashion designers are now commonplace, designing clothing for individual clients, specialty stores and / or high-fashion department stores. What distinguishes their clothing from the norm is the originality of design, coupled with the limited availability of garment numbers.

This, essentially, is what makes designer clothing so bought after and is why those skilfully crafted designer dresses can make one go weak-kneed in praise – not only at the thought of possessing one, but also in the knowledge that they own something unique.

The Best Countries to Work In Around the Globe

There are many countries that a person can work in if he or she wants to go somewhere other than his or her home country. The most popular countries in which to be an expatriate and work are the United States, France, and Switzerland. They all have much to offer for locals, for tourists, and for people who are only there for a while due to work commitments, and they are all great countries. Many people like to go to the United States because it's such a large and diverse country both in its people and in its geography.

There are deserts, mountains, forests, and large bodies of water, making it a beautiful place to enjoy. There is also a good minimum wage, many great companies, and a lot of places where the cost of living is relatively low. If you can find a company that will hire you to work in the United States and will help get you moved and settled, you should be able to have a great time as an expat in that country. The United States might not be for you, though, or you might not find a company that you really want to work for there. If that's the case, you should consider heading to France or Switzerland.

Many people think of the French people as being aloof, but most are actually warm and friendly with a good work ethic and a willingness to help others. You can learn a lot from them, and many fine companies have their homes there, or at least have branches there where you can work. That's a great choice for people from the UK who do not want to go really far from home. Another great choice for international jobs is Switzerland. It has a very strong economy and its treatment of workers overall is impressive.

It's also home to breathtaking scenery, so when you're not working you'll be able to take a look at the country that you're temporarily calling home and see what there is to see. All three of these countries have a lot to enjoy and there is so much to do in all of them that you'll never be bored. They also have great companies that you can work for, so you can make a decent living while exploring someplace new and learning about a new culture. It's like a great job and a holiday all at the same time, and you'll be richer for the experience.

Affiliate Business – Yes Or No?

So you are trying to decide if you want to get into an affiliate business. There are so many options and you really have no clue. You are getting the emails everyday about making 1000s and millions of dollars and you just do not know what to do. You feel like you are being rolled in a million different directions and at the end of the day you are no closer but you have a heck of a headache.

Getting into an affiliate business does not have to be that confusing. I know as a newbie you want to make it happen but you are also scared about being scammed and left in the dark. I have been there and I know exactly how you are feeling. I made a lot of wrong moves before figuring out the right ones. However that does not mean you have to make wrong moves because you are coming in at a time where you can learn from other peoples mistakes.

In an affiliate business you need to find someone you can trust to help you. Ya, I know that sounds easier said than done but it really is possible. First thing you need to do is sit back and put some thought into what you want to do. Do you have the commitment to make an online affiliate business work? I do not care what anyone tells you. There is no sit back and watch the checks roll in. If that was the case we would all be doing it and we would all be rich.

If you are going to get serious about an affiliate business you need to treat it like a real business. You need to understand that it takes time, commitment, patience and a lot of hard work. You need to understand this is not something that comes over night. However the most important thing to know is that an affiliate business is probably the most rewarding out there. Done properly it is impossible to fail.