A college English teacher (with the very beat-like name of Mrs.
Reefer) once told me my writing had rhythm.
As a musician I was
delighted. To me good writing should be lyrical, musical and rhythmic. My
attempts to make writing sing and dance have included freelance feature
s for
magazines and newspapers, ad copy, media materials, poetry, essays and at
least one work-place manifesto. (I thought that was too harsh, though, and
called it a series of "meditations" instead ...)

Here's some of my work and links I like.

    I'm really proud of this. Hallmark is a wonderful company with an incredible
    creative tradition and high standards for writing and design. I was asked to
    write their latest corporate brochure while I was still in the Kansas City office
    of Fleishman-Hillard and running the Hallmark account was my primary
    responsibility. To my knowledge, I was the first "non-Hallmarker" to ever
    write their lead communications piece. I collaborated on the concept (and
    occasionally on the words) with Linda Odell, a talented writer, Hallmark PR
    employee and former FH-er herself.
    Block was a wonderful client with a story more fascinating than one might
    think upon hearing the word "taxes." I worked closely with Linda McDougall,
    Vice President of Corporate Communications, on this. She's a delight and
    intensely analytical when it comes to good writing, so I was gratified when
    she approved ...
    I was senior copywriter briefly at this agency specializing in hospitality
    clients. One of my assignments was to commit the agency's history to paper
    and create mission, vision, values statements and a rallying cry. This is the
    One of my first pieces of corporate copy writing was this brochure for a major
    pharmaceutical company then known as Marion Merrell Dow. "Questions
    and Answers About Clinical Trials" was designed to be distributed in
    doctor's offices to help patients understand what it means to participate in
    tests of experimental drugs.

Music and Entertainment
  • VanderCook College of Music commencement address to graduate
    students, July 2006
  • Read the speech
  • Click "play" below to listen to the audio recording or right click HERE and
    "save as" to download the audio to your computer.

    I cowrote this with a close college friend, Karen (Sorensen) Whitson and it
    was the first attempt at magazine writing for both of us. It resulted in a cover
    story and we were hooked! By the way, I also periodically played drums with
    the band that was featured in the article. Never was entirely sure if that was
    conflict or not. My editor didn't seem to think so.

Personal Essays, Thought Pieces, and Short Stuff

About Me, Quoting Me, Acknowledging Me (Yep, it's all about me ...)
    Mim Harrison, editor of Levenger Press, was kind to acknowledge me for my
    help on the chapter about magic. The pleasure was mine, though. Working
    with Mim is always a delight, and the chapter on the language of magicians
    gave me an excuse to further my acquaintanceship with my childhood magic
    idol: Mark Wilson. (Mim's book is also published as "Words At Work." You
    can read more about it at her site.
  • Ann Wylie is a top-notch writing coach and she has a great free Web
    site, an amazing subscription site, and the most useful e-newsletter I've
    seen on writing technique
  • Go straight to an interview with me Ann posted to promote a Public
    Relations Society of America teleseminar we did about creative news
    release writing
"Smart words, passionate words" started off as
the name of a writing-improvement training
program I put together for Fleishman-Hillard
offices several years ago. Since then I've
adopted it as a bit of a mantra for my own work. I
want my writing to be what I've always wanted
to be: Smart and passionate. Lest someone
suggest I modify the logo to read "Dumb words,
boring words," I'll call that my goal rather than my

For cool "Smart words, passionate words" logo
visit my online store.
For thoughts on one of writing's most playful
techniques and examples of some of my
visit The Analogy Store.
All content © Copyright 2006,
by John Armato unless
otherwise indicated. Content may
be freely excerpted with attribution
for nonprofit use. All other uses by
permission only. Just ask me.
I'll probably say yes
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