Somewhere between the food world and today’s would-be plans, I sold a lot of greeting cards. Yes. Greeting cards. When a writer friend suggested I’d “enjoy short form” – code for attention span? – I quickly studied the racks, and eventually sold to major companies. I wrote funny cards, pun cards, happy cards, sad cards, cards for graduations and dogs and new houses and babies. Here is what I know about that business: you won’t get rich, but you will learn, as never before, the sound of human desires, and what people wish, or need, to hear. They call it “me to you” – as in, when you receive a card, it should make you feel like the sender spoke directly to your heart. You can add humor to the magic, but most often it comes in two flavors: sickly or sweet. Alliteration may wag tongues, but sickly sweet sells. So I worked on long-form poetry cards – not something I’d ever send, but it was a challenge, like acting in a play; I am Grandma writing to Susie, brother writing to sister, Uncle Joe writing to his ex-niece’s cat.
It came easy to me, but editors warned of a common fault: for rhyming cards, they said, not so much “moon June spoon.” Meaning avoid the common rhymes, and don’t go for easy sound. Standard goods like “you, do, blue, and new” also made the list; what was a sappy writer to do? Only so many words convey feeling and rhyme like sugar, and let’s face it, there’s no me-to-you without you. So I’d use them anyway, re-arranged and refreshed enough to slip an editor’s eye, and they sold, sold like candy, proving that as long as it sounds pretty, people will hear whatever they want. A moon that loves you in June pleases; blue without you, nothing I can do? Like honey. And my friends, a man who buys cards on the sweet side will not do better than honey.
So. Why are we talking spoons in June and sending the very best? Because it’s summer, and even if you couldn’t see the wide bright sky or smell sun off the pavement, you’d hear it. We all have those sounds that ring summer, the slap of wet towels and flip-flops and no thoughts at all. What are yours? Mull it over, and while you do, try a few warm-weather sweets, pulled exclusively from the archives for your breezy dessert pleasure:
Key Lime Tarts say crashing waves to me.
Bowls inside or on the porch? Peach-Pecan Cobbler swings like a screen door.
Sizzling Banana Sundaes with Salted Chocolate Pecans. Now with built-in sizzle.
For pure June-moon bliss I’d also point you to Bumbleberry Pie and Good Kansas Limeade. Now – cicadas, campfires, bike bells. What’s your summer sound?