My Freelance Adventure

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GreysOrchidsScreenshot Screenshot from Grey's Anatomy Season 5, Episode 18 "Stand By Me"

As a freelance writer, I bring in the majority of my income by writing for others and taking money instead of taking credit.  When I grow up, maybe I'll accept both, but most of the articles I’ve written for the past few years have not had my name on them, and since they’re written about topics that are not my main focus of interest, that’s fine with me.

But every now and then, I find myself feeling pretty excited about what I’ve written. I usually pat myself on the back and move on, promptly losing these examples among all the other files. But today, I thought I’d take a moment to share.

I’ve written lots of blogs on topics that I didn’t know much about…at first.  Here’s a list: Cremation, Drug rehab, Costumes, Heart health, Internet technology, Divorce, Restaurant trends, and Sensory research. One of the blogs I write is about orchids. I keep myself entertained by making sure that I incorporate topics that are interesting to me. 

This week I got to write one that packs in several: My love of Metaphors and Symbolism, Grey’s Anatomy and their awesome writers, Nature and Science, Psychology and Culture, and playing with those who are clearly in the grip of obsession. 

I got so into this that I posted a comment on the Atlantic writer’s blog to answer his question “Does the "orchid-dandelion" metaphor work for you?”. It’s really a genetics debate about nature vs. nurture, but I spoke up as an advocate of metaphors and recent orchid convert. Here’s what I said (and this time with my name attached!)

It may be too late to chime in, but the orchid metaphor may be most flawed because orchids don't actually need a lot of care to thrive. The orchid family is the largest family of flowering plants, and one of the oldest and most successful on the planet. They've adapted to almost every climate and environment, and very cleverly, too. Only those that have been transplanted from their natural environments by obsessed humans require hothouses and careful attention. It might be a better metaphor for adopted or foster children.

Check out this National Geographic article that talks about how brilliantly orchids attract pollinators and fool humans into thinking they need our help: http://ngm.nationalgeographic.com/2009/09/orchids/pollan-text

Posted by: Malayna Dawn | January 11, 2010 1:57 AM

What I didn’t include in the article for the client was what one of the Grey’s Anatomy's writers, Zoanne Clack, said about the episode (Season 5, Episode 18, “Stand By Me”)—mostly cuz she said orchid lovers were geeky and I didn’t think my client would like that:

…we knew our face transplant guy would be a recluse because when I was researching face transplants, the doctor who led the team at the Cleveland Clinic where they performed the most extensive and only American face transplant (to date), Dr. Siemionow, said, “it’s hard to face the world without a face.”  I just love that quote. 

Anyway, when we were trying to figure out how to show his reclusiveness, the room came up with this orchid idea.  And when I tell you the whole room erupted with glee at this idea, I do not exaggerate.  Yet another example of our geekiness.  Or shall I say, in this instance, their geekiness.  I had no idea what all the fuss was about.  Until I started learning more about orchids.  It’s crazy the things that those freakin’ flowers do!  They actually adapt to look like the insects that pollinate them so that they can continue to exist.  I mean it’s really crazy.  If you get the time, read about them.  I personally am going to have to go back and see the movie “Adaptation” again to really get into all the double entendre of that title and the movie.

See how it all ties together?  And now we've come full circle. Wheeeee!  So there you have an example of the journey I get to take sometimes as I write about things for other people. I hope you enjoyed it as much as I did.  

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