The Power of Words
Okay, I admit it. I started stanning Amanda Gorman the moment I heard her read her poem “The Hill We Climb” at the presidential inauguration. What a wonderful reminder of the vision of youth and the power of words. With much of our reading and writing these days limited to 280–character tweets and punctuation-free social media posts, the power of words has certainly evolved. But Gorman’s poem was an opportunity to revisit the joy in the right words strung together the right way at the right time. The pen, indeed, proving mightier than the sword.
And that got me thinking about the judicious use of words, and how greeting cards are among the few common objects in our daily world that still relish the right words strung together the right way at the right time. Whether evoking humor in a birthday card, sorrow in a condolence card, or gratitude in a thank you card, greeting card copy is part of our contemporary poetry. That is why I am so excited about the addition of the Writer of the Year category in this year’s Louie Awards. Where Illustrator of the Year recognizes the most visible part of the card, its design, Writer of the Year recognizes something a bit more hidden, the meaning behind the words that strengthen a card’s message.
I am also excited that Lisa Langford is serving as a guest judge for the category. Langford is an actress and playwright who has worked in television, film, Off-Broadway, and in regional theater. Her writing experience is broad, and she has also worked as a copywriter, a journalist, and a member of the creative team that launched the late Dr. Maya Angelou’s greeting card line, Life Mosaics. Langford’s play Rastus and Hattie was a 2019 Joyce Award winner and a finalist for the 2019 Eugene O’Neill National Playwrights Conference. She is a graduate of Harvard University, and received her MFA from Cleveland State University.
Mark Twain once said, “If you want me to give you a two-hour presentation, I am ready today. If you want only a five-minute speech, it will take me two weeks to prepare.” The truth is, it is much harder to express ideas succinctly than at length, and greeting card writers live this on the daily. Not only is space limited, but in brief their message must convey an idea, an emotion, and feel personal although befitting many audiences and circumstances. So, here’s to the writers out there! Today, February 18th, is the last day to enter the Louie Awards, so if you’re a writer whose words make cards better, enter the Writer of the Year category today.
GCA Executive Director