RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:
There are only two days left until that most romantic of holidays - depending on your perspective - Valentine's Day. We have got just the thing to get you in the mood to send the perfect card to your loved one. David Ellis Dickerson is a former greeting card writer for Hallmark, and the author of a memoir called, "House of Cards." He's with us today from St. Alban's, Vermont. Welcome to the program, David.
DAVID ELLIS DICKERSON: Howdy, Rachel. It's good to be here.
MARTIN: So, how important is Valentine's Day to the industry?
DICKERSON: It's a very big deal. It is also, after Christmas, the holiday that is most fun to write for.
MARTIN: Why is that?
DICKERSON: Almost every other holiday, like Mother's Day, you're writing for people who have uncertain relationships. But love is always good, for the most part. It's a fun place to be.
MARTIN: If someone wants to send a valentine to their loved one, what should they look for?
DICKERSON: A card is a keepsake. What a lot of guys do, they'll go for the most expensive and the showiest and it's actually often kind of gaudy. A more thoughtful card that's just a little bit smaller and has more words, if you just take the time to pay attention to what the words are actually saying - that might help.
MARTIN: So, we should point out, David, that you have a Web series on YouTube. It's called Greeting Card Emergency. You solve the thorniest of greeting card dilemmas. I've got an awkward situation for you.
MARTIN: When I was in high school, we had a dog named Sophie. On this particular day, my sister looked at her boyfriend and she said you're going to visit your parents. Just take the dog. The dog is bugging me. So, the boyfriend takes the dog to his parents' ranch - you know, we're from Idaho. A lot of people have ranches - and he opens the door of the truck and Sophie, the little Scottie dog, runs off into the corral and meets her demise...
DICKERSON: Oh my god.
MARTIN: ...at the kick of a horse. It was very, very sad. That's bad enough. But just to make it interesting, David, let's pretend that it was also Valentine's Day. What is the greeting card that's appropriate?
DICKERSON: Wow. OK. The way you do a valentine for that, I think, is change the subject, and at the same time you can't ignore the elephant in the room. You'd want a card that emphasizes forgiveness, the way that we get along, the ups and downs of a relationship. I think you'd say something like: We all know that love has its ups and downs. I never wanted to be one of the downs. But I guess this is the test.
MARTIN: Well done, David. Well done. That was not an easy scenario and you met the challenge. David Ellis Dickerson. His memoir is called "House of Cards," and you can see his Web series, Greeting Card Emergency, on YouTube. David, thanks so much.
DICKERSON: It was a pleasure, Rachel.
MARTIN: Happy Valentine's Day.
DICKERSON: You, too. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.