“The difference between the right word and the almost right word is the difference between lightning and a lightning bug.” ~ Mark Twain, The Wit and Wisdom of Mark Twain
When copywriter, Robert Pirosh, arrived in Hollywood, California in 1934—he wanted nothing more than to pursue his dream of being an actual “Hollywood Screenwriter.”
Instead of knocking on, and potentially running the risk of having doors slammed in his face, he opted for this most deliciously delightful and irrepressibly irresistible approach instead. Pirosh sent letters out to all of the major studio executives, directors, and producers—which landed him his first major writing job with MGM studios, and ultimately working as a writer for the Marx Brothers. He later earned an Academy Award for best writing, story, and screenplay for his motion picture, Battleground.
Thank you, Mr. Pirosh—I quite like ‘fat buttery words,’ too.
And to all of the current, and hopefully soon-to-be elephant writers—take it from me, never give up on those little girl writing dreams.
I like words. I like fat buttery words, such as ooze, turpitude, glutinous, toady. I like solemn, angular, creaky words, such as straitlaced, cantankerous, pecunious, valedictory. I like spurious, black-is-white words, such as mortician, liquidate, tonsorial, demi-monde. I like suave “V” words, such as Svengali, svelte, bravura, verve. I like crunchy, brittle, crackly words, such as splinter, grapple, jostle, crusty. I like sullen, crabbed, scowling words, such as skulk, glower, scabby, churl. I like Oh-Heavens, my-gracious, land’s-sake words, such as tricksy, tucker, genteel, horrid. I like elegant, flowery words, such as estivate, peregrinate, elysium, halcyon. I like wormy, squirmy, mealy words, such as crawl, blubber, squeal, drip. I like sniggly, chuckling words, such as cowlick, gurgle, bubble and burp.
I like the word screenwriter better than copywriter, so I decided to quit my job in a New York advertising agency and try my luck in Hollywood, but before taking the plunge I went to Europe for a year of study, contemplation and horsing around.
I have just returned and I still like words.
May I have a few with you?
385 Madison Avenue
Bonus 11 of the Best Quotes on Writing:
“The first draft of anything is shit.” ~ Ernest Hemingway
“What really knocks me out is a book that, when you’re all done reading it, you wish the author that wrote it was a terrific friend of yours and you could call him up on the phone whenever you felt like it. That doesn’t happen much, though.” ~ J.D. Salinger, The Catcher in the Rye
“There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed.” ~ Ernest Hemingway
“I love deadlines. I love the whooshing noise they make as they go by.” ~ Douglas Adams, The Salmon of Doubt
“No tears in the writer, no tears in the reader. No surprise in the writer, no surprise in the reader.” ~ Robert Frost
“Don’t tell me the moon is shining; show me the glint of light on broken glass.” ~ Anton Chekhov
“Here is a lesson in creative writing. First rule: Do not use semicolons. They are transvestite hermaphrodites representing absolutely nothing. All they do is show you’ve been to college.” ~ Kurt Vonnegut, A Man Without a Country
“If my doctor told me I had only six minutes to live, I wouldn’t brood. I’d type a little faster.” ~ Isaac Asimov
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Ed: Kate Bartolotta
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