A long time ago in a suburb far, far away, a boy dreamed of becoming a writer. He set out to change the world with words and pictures and ideas so big that you couldn't throw a lasso around them.
Then one day he stopped and looked around at what he'd done.
My name is Jim, and I'm a writer. Here's what I've done. (So far.)
In 2014, a family dog died. She lived a beautiful long life, and her death was not unexpected. Nevertheless, the emotion in the wake of that loss was overwhelming. I wrote a post about her as a way to deal with the grief, and the outpouring of love from people all over. That's when it occurred to me that what the world needed was a book filled with tributes to the dogs that leave us--submitted by people from around the world. And so it was that the idea for Gone Dogs was born. I'm lucky to undertake this endeavor with my friend Laurie Smithwick. This may well be the best idea I've ever had. And as we head into production, I can say with confidence that this book is going to be great.
I became a copywriter in the late 90s, but I've been writing for as long as I remember. Like with most copywriters, I wanted to produce a novel. I'd started many over the years, but never had the (insert inane excuse here) to do it. Then one day, while working on building a company brand, an idea for an ending to a concept I'd written years earlier appeared. I then took two weeks off and went to the mountains with my dog to isolate and write. I finished two days ahead of time. This is my first novel, Minor King. It's about an American copywriter.
As a copywriter, I spend my days crawling inside the minds of others to sell them things. And when I'm not doing that, I'm crawling around inside my own mind chasing ideas. I began blogging in 2008 under the flag - Obsessed with Conformity. There are about 1000 posts here ranging from the penis window in men's underwear, to poetry, short fiction, and how damn hard is it to be a parent. The name of the blog is intended to be ironic.
In 2017, my longtime design partner (the talented and lovely Jeff Sutthoff) and I decided to officially create a firm for the both of us. But not just another ad agency or design boutique. I'd just spent five years building a brand from scratch to become the fastest growing company in Charlotte, and #120 fastest growing in the US, and saw firsthand that growth was in digital. Branding, websites, SEO, and engagement strategy wasn't the future--it was the present. Out of the Ether works with mid-sized brands to refresh and renew their presence online--and drive growth (real, measurable growth) via digital.
The year was 2001. I'd just left the ad agency world where I was a copywriter developing concepts for a range of brands across America. I decided to start my own agency but didn't want a brick-and-mortar shop. The internet was beginning to ramp up as a legitimate communications platform, and people were connecting at rates we'd never known before. Smash Communications was one of the first "virtual" ad agencies in America. I currently use Smash as a consulting firm to help organizations understand how to use their existing assets to maximize their presence online.
Thomas Woodland Publishing Group is the legal entity behind the book Gone Dogs. Created with my design partner Laurie, Thomas Woodland will serve as the foundation for all of our future endeavors in publishing. It's currently just a placeholder page, but you're welcome to click over.
In 2010 I was contacted by my friend Lisa Hickey, who was the CEO of a new online magazine called The Good Men Project. Lisa knew me as an engaged father, husband, and writer doing my best to manage in a world that had certain stigmas about what it meant to "be a man." She asked me to contribute to their magazine and help spread the word about the project. Eight years later, The Good Men Project website receives more than 3 million visitors each month.
I loathe racism. I believe it's the scourge of humanity. As such, I'm a true believer that diversity is our greatest strength as a nation. America's True Colors is a tee shirt company designed to eradicate racism. Still in the concept development stage, together with Laurie, we aim to create high quality wearables that bring people together around the idea of inclusion and diversity. All profits will benefit an organization dedicated to advancing racial equality. We are really excited about this project and can't wait to get it off the ground.
Let Love Reign is the brainchild of my friend, the amazing photographer Catalina Kulczar. She had the idea that through photography and storytelling she could help advance the national movement for same sex marriage. Early on, my role was to help her name and build the brand, and I'm currently helping her craft the upcoming book. I'm very proud of the work we're doing at Let Love Reign to make marriage accessible to every American.
Visit Let Love Reign
Writing Minor King was the greatest experience of my career. Trusting the process and allowing my imagination to run free was utterly brilliant. And in doing so I learned that I was capable of telling long form stories. I plan on finishing Bankers in Love (which is way different than Minor King) in 2018, and self-publishing in 2019.
My love affair with the movies started young. As a hyperactive kid, I had a hard time sitting still to enjoy reading. But I still loved a good story. The movies gave me a full story in two hours--and inspired me to write my own. Fast-forward to 2018 as a grown man who uses succinct storytelling to earn a living--when I was approached to be on the Board of Directors for the 100 Words Film Festival I jumped. It's a perfect fit for this hyperactive kid who always loved the movies. Please take a moment to click through to the Festival website. It's a really great idea. And the films are shockingly good.
In the late 1990s I became a professional writer when I shifted my course of study from literature to advertising. Creating messaging that moved people to think and act a certain way was as natural to me as breathing. As you can see from this page, I do a lot of things these days--but I owe all of it to Copywriting. It remains my first love.
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