The other day I was talking with a neighbor who recently took a course in creative writing at the community college. She was starting to get serious about trying her hand at writing an occasional essay or, perhaps, blog post. And, since I would rather write than...almost anything...I was encouraging her budding interest.
She was asking me about my own interest in writing, which probably started when I was a baby in my bassinet, since my mother and father were freelance radio and television scriptwriters, and Dad was also a playwright. My parents talked "words" all, all, all the time.
After an "illustrious" stint as co-editor of the Bulldog Barks newspaper in high school, I went to college and, of course, majored in English. During my freshman and sophomore years at Miami U. in Oxford, Ohio, I was editor of the Pioneer, a newspaper targeted at the "independents" on-campus (the majority of the students at Miami belonged to Greek-letter sororities and fraternities).
My first job after graduating from college was as an advertising copywriter at Little, Brown Publishers in Boston. Once again, I loved being surrounded by books, authors, publicists, ideas, words. And in the -- gasp! -- 50 years since that first job, I've worked either as an editor or a writer with dozens of companies, publications, and individual authors.
Writing is one of the all-consuming interests of my life; the act of writing lifts my spirits and energizes me. But then I said the strangest thing to my neighbor. First, I spent 20 minutes regaling her with stories of some of the fascinating, oddball, hilarious writing assignments I've had and people I've dealt with over my (so far) 50-year career. After that I told her, "And you know what? I truly feel like I've just barely scratched the surface of what I can do, as far as writing and editing are concerned." And you know what? It's the truth!