Yes, this is an old photo.
“There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed.”
― Ernest Hemingway
When I was in my early thirties, I decided that I was going to be a writer. Every day for a month, I sat down at my desk, fired up the PS/2 and launched WordPerfect. I stared at the blinking cursor, my fingers ready to tap out words for the ages. On the first day, I realized I had nothing interesting to say. The second day resembled the first—as did the third and the fourth. In the week that followed, I managed to produce a few prosaic sentences. After a month, I had composed a dozen pages. Unfortunately, they consisted mostly of these phrases: I don’t know what to write; Wow, I am really tired; I need some good ideas; I wonder what’s in the fridge; What time does Magnum P.I. come on?; I really don’t know what to write. (Yes, I really wondered what time Magnum came on. Mostly because Simon and Simon came on afterwards.)
My career veered in a slightly different direction and I got a job as a proofreader. Eventually, I became a copy editor and then an editor for an in-house publication. Over the next 15 years, I edited a variety of monthly magazines, including a city business magazine startup, a short-lived regional lifestyle publication, and an established national trade magazine. Tight deadlines and limited space made it vital to understand the audience, find the heart of the story quickly, say more with fewer words, and eschew the serial comma.
I later wrote and edited copy for a number of businesses and nonprofits. No, I'm not telling you the number. Along the way, I also learned graphic design and web development. One must evolve to survive. A few years ago, I stopped worrying about “being a writer” and just starting writing. Mostly short stories. I plan to self-publish some of them soon. I am also working on a couple of novels, which will be ready to publish….eventually.
I enjoy contemporary fiction and its many flavors. When I read for pleasure, though, I often turn to the works of authors who have already shuffled off their mortal coil. I continue to find nourishment in their stories. (Last year, I binge-read Dostoevsky.) There is value in studying the roots as well as the fruit.
The serial comma and I are friends again. No hard feelings. Basically, if you are looking for a proofreader or a copy editor, I am probably not the best guy. What I am good at is helping with plot, character development, descriptive writing, tone, psychological truth. I like stories that resonate. A unique voice. Strong characters. A compelling narrative.
We can undangle the participles as we go.