The old and famous


The always interesting Lurzer’s Archive has this fascinating look at the trend of famous, older women appearing in ads for various fashion brands. This is a welcome development as far as I’m concerned; most advertisers are obsessed with youth and targeting their ads to a younger consumer. These products presumably are not strictly trying to reach the geezer demographic. Of course, the buyers of expensive luxury brands skew older; those are typically the consumers who can afford them. But fashion brands can’t afford to be seen as being “for old people.” That would be the kiss of death.

The flip side to this trend is the way products like Medicare insurance plans advertise. They wouldn’t touch this sort of thing with a ten-foot pole. Not because Joni Mitchell is a chain smoker. Or because Joan Didion is too elitist. (Well, those reasons, yes.) But mostly because these ladies are just too damn old.

In my job as a copywriter and Creative Director I work with a great many brands that provide Medicare insurance and other kinds of health-related products that are solely aimed at oldsters. Typically, these brands demand that the actors and models appearing in their ads be deliberately younger than their target audience. While I can buy this argument to a certain point for products like adult diapers, which might want to expand to a younger audience, in the case of Medicare insurance, it can’t be sold to someone under 65 who is not on Medicare. (The only exception is people who are permanently disabled; but rarely do you see ads for Medicare insurance with disabled actors.)

The clients’ reasoning for “younging up” their models is that today’s aging baby boomers are “different” and think “younger” than earlier generations. Never mind that this is a highly debatable premise when you are looking at a hip or knee replacement or living with some chronic ailment. The practical effect is that we sometimes see ads with actors who look decades younger than the 65-year-olds who are the customers we’re targeting for Medicare supplement plans and the like. There is an art to finding models who look their age but also look good for their age, not simply casting people who look ten years younger than they’re supposed to be – which is the way many clients want them to look. So I say, good for fashion brands for showing older people who aren’t trying to hide their age. Maybe brands that are actually targeting older consumers will someday catch up.

so you want to be a writer?
Charles Bukowski, 1920 – 1994

if it doesn’t come bursting out of you
in spite of everything,
don’t do it.
unless it comes unasked out of your
heart and your mind and your mouth
and your gut,
don’t do it.
if you have to sit for hours
staring at your computer screen
or hunched over your
searching for words,
don’t do it.
if you’re doing it for money or
don’t do it.
if you’re doing it because you want
women in your bed,
don’t do it.
if you have to sit there and
rewrite it again and again,
don’t do it.
if it’s hard work just thinking about doing it,
don’t do it.
if you’re trying to write like somebody
forget about it.

if you have to wait for it to roar out of
then wait patiently.
if it never does roar out of you,
do something else.

if you first have to read it to your wife
or your girlfriend or your boyfriend
or your parents or to anybody at all,
you’re not ready.

don’t be like so many writers,
don’t be like so many thousands of
people who call themselves writers,
don’t be dull and boring and
pretentious, don’t be consumed with self-
the libraries of the world have
yawned themselves to
over your kind.
don’t add to that.
don’t do it.
unless it comes out of
your soul like a rocket,
unless being still would
drive you to madness or
suicide or murder,
don’t do it.
unless the sun inside you is
burning your gut,
don’t do it.

when it is truly time,
and if you have been chosen,
it will do it by
itself and it will keep on doing it
until you die or it dies in you.

there is no other way.

and there never was.


This expresses everything I feel about writing. Sometimes I think it comes too easily, but that is the whole point.

Under her

Strong and angry
her hips and thighs
power through me
as if I am nothing

skin glistening
her gaze a glare
throwing me off
like beads of sweat

insignificant feeling
crushed under her
all I can think of
is more



This poem may appear to be merely about sex; but it has a deeper expression of resentment for feeling subservient and dominated by another person; then there is the shame of enjoying feeling that way.


©Daniel von der Embse

crazy and creative

Photo: Kyle Bean

I have posted this link before to an excellent article in The Atlantic entitled Secrets of the Creative Brain.

Here is the link again now because I follow and am followed by so many bloggers who write movingly about their experiences with mental illness.

There is such a blurry line between sanity and creativity. This article speaks to that and talks about some of the research on the subject. It helped explain a lot for me.

I hope you enjoy it and look forward to your comments. Love to all.

Read Secrets of the Creative Brain here.