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Poor Richard's Almanack: Benjamin Franklin's Incredibly Popular Book of Aphorisms, Forecasts, and More
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A New York copywriter by the name of Robert Pirosh quit his well-paid job and headed for Hollywood in 1934, determined to begin the career of his dreams as a screenwriter. When he arrived, he gathered the names and addresses of as many directors, producers and studio executives as he could find and sent them what is surely one of the greatest, most effective cover letters ever to be written — a letter which secured him three interviews, one of which led to his job as a junior writer at MGM.
Fifteen years later, Pirosh won an Oscar for best original screenplay for his work on the war film Battleground. A few months after that, he also won a Golden Globe.
I like words. I like fat buttery words, such as ooze, turpitude, glutinous, today. 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 crunch, 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?
Still curious? I can't recommend Letters of Note highly enough — it's surprising and so well done.