Friday, June 14, 2013

The Mad Men dream writing group, SCDP/CGC version

If you don’t have an in-person writing group, your dreams will apparently supply one.

I was working for a firm that turned out to be an academic version of Sterling Cooper Draper Price/Cutler Gleason and Chaough from Mad Men.

Someone stopped by my office to tell me that the read-through was today. "Read-through?" Yes, employees who requested it, and apparently I had, could get the firm together to discuss what they were working on. The meetings were only an hour, but they'd all give feedback.

We all gathered in a room--fittingly, Bert Cooper's office*--and sat in a circle, some on the floor and some in chairs, crowded together. An anonymous junior copywriter began to read it, with feeling and slowly.  Mercifully, Roger Sterling wasn't there, but Peggy and Ted Chaough were giving it their most earnest attention. Don was, as usual, AWOL.

As he read, people began to wonder aloud "why are you talking about this now? Where is this leading?" I lunged over to Cooper's overflowing desk, grabbed a steno pad and a ballpoint pen that was running out of ink, and started taking notes on their reactions.

"This reads pretty well, but I still don't know why you're telling us this."

Then another reader took over and said "This has some rough language." They all nodded, and she began to read and even to sing parts of it. She read the parts where it said "insert reference here" and "talk about that other instance of the same idea." Loudly. With feeling.

I tried to say things like "I didn't know you'd read this particular draft" and "It's not quite ready," but no one paid any attention.

The hour drew to a close, and I had not yet sunk through the floor. I had pages of scratchy handwritten notes and reactions written down in the steno pad.

Gene Siskel, who apparently worked at SCDP/CGC, stood up. "I have to go. I think this has  promise, but you should get to the point sooner. Right now I'd give it a thumbs-sideways."

Peggy smiled, and Ted Chaough said, "Don't worry. At my first meeting, I thought I would have to quit and become a professional babysitter. It's pretty good."

Bert Cooper said, "That's all right, dear."

Meeting adjourned.

*For those who don't watch: Bert Cooper has no office. 


Flavia said...

Love. This.

Anonymous said...

hilarious and awesome.

undine said...

Flavia, academiccautionarytale--Thank you! It really did happen this way in my dream, so I guess I'd better do what the writing group says.

Dr. Virago said...

Hilarious! I want dreams as entertaining as this!

undine said...

Dr. Virago, I wish they all were this entertaining!