I didn’t set out to be a writer (or do a green cemetery startup, for that matter). Funny how the two things that have most defined my life happened mostly by accident after years working as a … let’s see: racehorse hot-walker, motel maid, assembly-line worker, grease monkey, cleaning lady, day-care mom, soapmaker, cashier, woodworker, gardener ….
Then I got tired. Not tired of work, just tired of the grind. So I started writing.
The toughest part? Learning to type.
My first published credits—in Herb Quarterly, Fine Gardening, and The Growing Edge—were
mostly assuredly beginners luck. No way did I think I’d end up as a science and environment writer. I mean, my science background is an F in Bio 101. (I’d been crowing about that D- for years before I stumbled across an old transcript.) But that Growing Edge story was about this Cornell University botanist who’d figured out how to start notoriously difficult-to-grow native lady’s-slippers from seed. Which was the beginning of my love affair with translating the marvelous and quirky science of life into stories which even I can understand.
For years I spent all my spare time falling in love with a gazillion story ideas and feeling like a spinning top because I wanted to pitch them all and doing waaaay too much research—and now and then, selling something.
That was before 9/11; the way I remember it all these years later, advertising dollars in magazines and newspapers tanked following the terrorist strikes. That piece I published in the”Science Times” section of The New York Times the week before two jets took down the World Trade Center? Forget ever scoring the Times after 9/11 for a host of reasons — but the loss of advertising dollars could be number one. After all, fewer ad pages translates into shorter, fewer stories.
Yet print media was under threat already. I hardly qualify as an armchair economist (let alone media historian), but despite the dot.com crash of 2001, the internet was the up and coming thing. And print media was in deep doo-doo.
So. The shortage of posts to this site shows that maybe I didn’t set out to be a blogger either. Good intentions, bad results. But more on that another day.