First, your details: Name, age, title and background, please.
Master Writer, Creative Writing Studio
B.S. in Journalism and B.A. in English, the University of Kansas
What’s your Hallmark history?
I came here in 2001 after spending a few years in advertising. Honestly, I was a bit hesitant to leave the agency world for a big corporate place like Hallmark, but it didn’t take long to realize how incredibly supportive they are of creative folks—much more so than I’d ever experienced before. I started out writing pretty much everything but knew humor was really where my heart was. After about a year or so of gaining experience, I was given the opportunity to work in humor.
What’s your creative process like here?
I guess you could describe it as productive procrastinating. There’s a lot of chatting with co-workers, watching Beyoncé videos, searching #dogsofinstagram—you know, important stuff. But it all feeds my brain and gets me ready when it’s time to put pen to paper. Then the headphones go on (old-school jazz, usually, or anything without distracting lyrics), and if I can just keep the pen moving, I don’t worry about what I’m writing. I know I’ll come back the next day to give it another pass, and if I’m lucky, a coherent idea or two will bubble up. Then I type it all in and edit it a little more. It’s a loooong process. But that’s okay. There are a lot of Beyoncé videos.
What kind of product do you work on? Do you have any favorites?
Mostly I work on anything humor—like our Shoebox line. I love writing anything with a casual, conversational tone, so I work on our Studio Ink and Signature lines as well. From time to time, I also like to take mini-breaks from writing to do more editing-based projects as well. My former ad self still loves to think in more conceptual terms, so I love figuring out what the voice of a line should be or digging into other writers’ work to build new collections.
Where do you go or what do you do to feed your brain/soul/spirit?
Anywhere quiet, or where I can just be alone for a bit. I love people and action, but my brain is full of noise as it is. If I don’t shut everything out every now and again it’s easy to feel creatively exhausted. So I love sitting outside with a magazine, or even just folding clothes while watching trashy TV. I know that’s super lame, but when you have a monkey mind like I do, simple tasks can be very soothing. I’m also not ashamed to admit how very much I love to organize. Bringing order to something—anything—calms me down so that I’m ready to bring on the crazy again when need be. Reorganizing a closet is probably my dream weekend project. I also have a label maker, and, yes, you can make fun of me.
What kinds of trends are you seeing in the world that inform your work?
I sense a shift back to simpler humor…I love all the groan-worthy puns that seem to have taken over the Internet. One of my good friends (Hi, Mary!) has a phone case with a cat on it that says, “Are you kitten me right meow?” And while I give her endless amounts of trouble for it, I love seeing that kind of dumb-on-purpose humor everywhere. It’s such a shareable thing, especially in a world weary from the nonstop tide of bad news. So I think that’s something that seems to be creeping into my head a bit: pulling back and finding just a little dumb-sweetness to mix in with the funny.
Who are your artistic heroes or influences?
I grew up absolutely worshipping the movies Airplane and Airplane 2. They blew 10-year-old me away. Add to that Pee Wee Herman, who I just thought was the weirdest, funniest character ever. Later on I found my favorite movie, Dumb & Dumber, which still kills me with its brilliant levels of stupid. Writing-wise, Jack Handey will always be my gold standard. Tina Fey’s Bossy Pants and The Daily Show’s America: The Book are tied for my favorite book ever. I guess I don’t really like anything touching or serious. Maybe I should read a poem sometime.
How does your personal work reflect on your work at Hallmark and vice versa?
I don’t write outside of work at all, and have never really felt the urge. What I do here is really me—so I’ve never felt the need to get my true self out on paper. I do get a lot of joy from writing out my grocery list, organized by aisle. (True. I might need an intervention.)
What are your favorite things about working for Hallmark?
I love my co-workers. They are the kindest, most talented group of people I could ever hope to be a part of. Plus they know a lot of really great dirty jokes. Just one of the many perks to hanging out with humor writers.
What was it like putting this Studio Ink collection together?
Well, great—because I didn’t put it together at all! We have amazing editors who are really able to see the bigger picture and pull collections together. They let me know that they were going to do that with my writing, and I was so excited. If I had to pick my own writing, there would be 0 cards in the collection. Writers are never really happy with their own work. So editors are a very, very good thing. And it’s been fun to see what they’ve chosen.