Working in Marketing Has Ruined My Writing

When a greeting card stumped me, I knew I had a problem

Kelsey Gilchrist
5 min readJul 7, 2021
Photo by Duané Viljoen from Pexels

One particular February 14th, I found myself wedged against the wall of a crowded subway car in the midst of a small life crisis.

In one hand, I held a greeting card decorated with curlicued writing and watercolor flowers. The inside was blank. Balancing on the crook of my elbow on that same arm was an open notebook, covered in messily scrawled sentences, each with lines drawn through them. In my other hand, I held a pen that I was chewing on to help me think. It wasn’t helping.

I had already written six drafts for the card’s message, but each time I wrote another, I immediately crossed it out. None of them sounded right.

Keep in mind that this was a Valentine’s Day card. Children write them.

The train lurched and I pulled the card and the notebook tighter to my chest, trying to steady myself. As I stumbled, I felt the card crunch in an ugly way. Whoops. But then again, if it was ruined, maybe that was for the best. At this point, the best message I had come up with was the title of a Fallout Boy song. I’m not sure my boyfriend would have appreciated a card that read ‘thx fr th mmrs’ in cramped, standing-on-the-subway writing.