Friday, January 27, 2012

Dear HR:

I’ve always thought that my real strength lies in the diversity of my interests/talents, and all along I’ve been resistant to focusing on one ability exclusively.
• On occasion I describe myself as a walking film studio because I’ve become familiar with almost every aspect of filmmaking (except producing and acting, at which I would fail miserably), from writing to set design to directing to cinematography to editing to effects to sound mixing to scoring to creating posters and trailers. 
• Meanwhile, the left side of my brain has been contemplating creating a new global language, one that embodies utter simplicity and that could, hypothetically, replace English as the resented, unwieldy lingua franca (as Latin was the lingua franca in the Roman Empire). I’ve learned that the Phoenician alphabet was the first to be useful for practical applications and was used widely throughout the ancient Mediterranean world, replacing cumbersome cuneiform writing, and I’ve based the new alphabet on that alphabet. Phoenician has the advantage of being the root of almost every language except Mandarin, and thus the new language wouldn’t seem as eurocentric as it would if it employed the Latin alphabet. I would borrow the absence of tense from Asian languages to simplify the learning of the language by keeping all verbs in the infinitive. I would also eliminate gender from the vocabulary, an aspect of language that never should have developed in the first place. In French, a film is masculine but a theatre is feminine? Who decided that?
• I’ve written a potentially controversial novel about an archaeological dig in Jerusalem uncovering artifacts which seem to suggest that the Torah/Pentateuch arose out of a deception in 622 BCE. I learned from The Bible Unearthed by Finklestein and Silberman that biblical scholars since the early eighteenth century have speculated that the scroll of the law found by the priests during Temple repairs, as described in II Kings in the Bible, was actually a newly composed scroll but was presented to the people of Israel as if it were ancient writing handed down from Moses. The novel resulted from my wondering “What if the rough draft of that scroll surfaced?” In extrapolating from that possible ancient deception to the current conflict over the West Bank and Gaza, I’ve arrived at the unpopular conclusion that the modern nation of Israel may have no claim to the land. Israel ceased to be a nation governed by Jews after the Bar Kokhba revolt in the second century CE, and the land was under Muslim control from the seventh century CE until 1948. Israel seems to base its claim to the land on the covenants God made with Abraham, Moses and others. If those covenants actually originated with the scribes and priests in 622 BCE and thereafter, Israel’s claim to the land is very tenuous. That doesn’t mean I’m antisemitic; it just means I’m a realist who wants the conflict resolved. Enough.
• I also wrote an atypical novel about the Templars in twelfth-century Jerusalem because, a few years ago, I overlaid The Da Vinci Code with Brokeback Mountain and a story emerged.
I could discuss additional topics, like songwriting without having formally studied music or my study of drawing and oil painting in high school and college or my interest in object-oriented programming in ActionScript 3 for Flash, but your eyes might glaze over. And even though this letter sounds like I’m all about me-me-me, I’m the type of person who focuses on not being egocentric. I like being just another member of a bright, cooperative team.

Thanks very much for considering me for this position.

John Garvey

(A cover letter I ended up not using. I don't know about you, but if I were hiring and read a cover letter like this, I'd want to get that guy on my team. Hm, funny.)

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