Deborah Ng of Writers Row, who compiles an excellent listing of freelance writing jobs and has been a perennial resource for the online writing community, passed along the blogging meme “Five things you didn’t know about me.”
I’ve adapted it to be “Five things you didn’t know about my writing career.”
1. I got my start in writing penning consumer complaint letters for my mother after our vacuum cleaner blew up.
2. My first short story was “The Christmas Tree and the Hanukkah Bush.”
3. My first paid, published writing gig was music criticism for the New Haven Advocate. One of my pieces was a profile of a hard-working local rock singer who’d spent more than a decade trying to break into the big time but was getting discouraged by increasing violence on the concert circuit. A few years later, he finally hit it big (Michael Bolton).
4. My journalism thesis at Columbia was about court battles involving the drug paraphernalia industry. While working on the thesis, I met and dated a charming NYC civil liberties attorney whose clients included NORML and Dial-a-Joint. Our dates frequently included swinging by night court for arraignments.
5. I spent more than a year in the early 1980s working on two interrelated investigative stories involving illegal garbage dumping, corrupt local officials, and a lot of people with Italian last names. By the time it was over, I’d been chased by a garbage truck, had worn a wire while conducting an interview, and a landfill (seized by the FBI) had caught fire. Repercussions from the story went on for years, culminating in a landfill worker we’d exposed for illegal overtime taking a town official hostage. Fortunately, the official escaped by climbing out a bathroom window.
Please try this meme yourself! And let me know when you’ve posted it.