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Taking a whack at entrepreneurship

Sunday, March 10, 2002

To get us out of our many-leveled, muddled, mental woes, the battle cry of those who make suggestions to out-of-work workers is "entrepreneurship!"

I've been out of nine-to-five, wage-earning work for 59 years.

Fortunately, after that last paycheck with all its multiple deductions, I stumbled, surprisingly, into the field of writing.

It took no initial financial investment. My tools were an enormous supply of words. Words are free. You can get them from dictionaries, other people and make up some of your own.

That makes it sound easy, doesn't it? It is not. This is no panacea for out-of-work people.

It is very tricky to choose the words one wants and put them around an idea in such a manner that others might like to read. But this profession or craft has tangential perks if one wants to take a whack at entrepreneurship.

Now, at long last, having mined and used a supply of words, I'll get with tongue-in-cheek to my theme of how I propose to examine one of these perks, then organize, operate and assume the risk of a business venture.

The greeting card industry offers a market for those writers who can come up with suitable greetings for all occasions, and there are millions of occasions. Greeting cards are costly. "Why," I asked myself, "don't you design a card and put it on the market?"

"But I don't paint or draw very well," I answered.

"You can write a simple message, can't you?"

"Yes."

To minimize costs I will have only one design. It will not have the usual, "Just thinking of you," "Get well soon," "Have a happy day." My card will be a four-by-six inches stark white card with only a big black question mark on the cover. Who wouldn't open the card? If for nothing else, out of curiosity.

Such a bold question mark might raise the hackles on the back of the neck of the receiver and cause him to ask "What is this? Someone questioning my behavior? My political affiliation? My thoughts about campaign reform? My side on community disputes?"

None of the above. Inside there would be one message, WHAT ARE YOU MAKING OF THIS DAY?

My hope would be that after the receiver lays the card aside, the question would keep echoing in his mind.

At some point the receiver may ask himself, "Do I have control of my day?" Maybe at some point he will entertain the thought that yes, maybe I can. I'll try.

The purpose of my question would be to impress and re-impress that one can take the components of each day and weave, mold, squash, squeeze, knit (whatever verb one wishes) and affect the quality of the day.

We stand in awe of the artist who, with a brush, canvas and a few colors, can paint a lovely picture; the sculptor who, with hammer and chisel, can carve a beautiful form out of stone; the poet who takes a few words, wraps them around an idea and expresses our innermost thoughts. It is great that some are able to do these things. But is it not far more glorious to take the pain, joy, disappointments, small victories, fears, faith and other clay of the day, throw them on a personal potter's wheel and make a happy day or, at least a satisfactory one?

Dare I ask, "What are you making of this day?" If not, when my entrepreneurship blossoms, I'll send you my flight-of-fancy card. Keep breathing.

REJOICE!

Jean Bell Mosley is an author and longtime resident of Cape Girardeau.


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