Monday Mash-Up ~ Vol. 2, Ep. 28

cheryl strayed sugar

Recommended Reading and Viewing
Tiny Beautiful Things

In 2010, the writer Steve Almond turned over an advice column he authored to the writer Cheryl Strayed. The column on the website The Rumpus was called “Dear Sugar.” Strayed — as the anonymous “Sugar” — answered letters and dished out advice from March 2010 until February 14, 2012.

Five months later, a collection of the letters and answers was published as a book called “Tiny Beautiful Things: Advice on Love and Life from Dear Sugar.”

It’s really a memoir — because every time Strayed answered a letter, she drew from her own experiences, shared stories and lessons learned, and delivered advice that went miles beyond the typical advice column garbage.

To do this, Strayed began by listening — really listening — to what the letter writers were saying. She put herself in their shoes and then went to her closet, found the relevant skeletons for whom those shoes fit, and revealed those skeletons and the lessons they held.

In the introduction for the book, Steve Almond described Strayed’s columns as “radical empathy.” That’s perfect.

(More on the importance of radical empathy in a future email/post.)

I recommend the book. And I recommend the stage adaptation called “Tiny Beautiful Things.” The actress Nia Vardalos (who wrote and starred in My Big Fat Greek Wedding) wrote the adaptation — which I saw on stage in St. Louis last week.

Recommended Reading
Would you swap a Patek Philippe watch for a cartoon of a Bored Ape?

Strange question, huh!? Copywriting expert Nick Usborne asks and answers the question in this great blog post.

You have to check it out just to see the cartoon of the bored ape. You won’t believe how much someone paid for that cartoon and…

…You’ll learn some valuable lessons about what we sell if you read Usborne’s analysis. Important lessons here.

Recommended Tools for Transcriptions

I recommended in an April 2019 Mash-Up. Since then, I’ve discovered countless ways to use it that I hadn’t imagined at the time. Otter transcribes voice to text. I use it every day to:

  • Transcribe Zoom recordings.
  • Dictate ideas into my phone that I can later read and organize.
  • Transcribe videos, webinars and other online presentations so I can “read” them later and extract stuff from them.

I recently wrote about Annie Lamott and her podcast interview with Tim Ferriss. I downloaded the mp3 file of the podcast from Ferriss’ site. I uploaded the file to Otter. Twenty minutes later, I downloaded the transcript and “read” the entire podcast episode. That made it much easier to create the emails and posts that drew from the episode.

Otter costs just $8.33/month for up to 6,000 minutes (100 hours) of transcription per month. The transcripts aren’t perfect (they’re generated by computer, not humans). But they’re close enough. And when I need a perfect, clean transcript, I send the recording and transcript to my virtual assistant who cleans up the mistakes.

Recommended Listening
Copywriters Podcast

David Garfinkel is a great copywriter and a great teacher. I learn something interesting and helpful every time I listen to his Copywriters Podcast.

Notable Quotable
James Baldwin

Born on this day in 1924, James Baldwin once said:

“Not everything that is faced can be changed, but nothing can be changed until it is faced.”

Don't go away yet..

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Tom Ruwitch

Tom Ruwitch is the founder and CEO of Story Power Marketing. For more than 30 years, he has helped businesses grow by delivering powerful stories using a variety of different media.