My Very First Blog
I have been a professional writer since I was a freshman in college. All you have to do to call yourself a professional writer is to be paid for something you’ve written.
I got a job at a turd weekly in Manahawkin, New Jersey, just a few weeks into my freshman year at Stockton State College and was paid $15 a story. I made about 45 bucks, total.
The only byline I got was for a story about a 93-year-old barber who only cut the hair of men as old as him. His barber chair sat empty a lot of the time simply because most 93-year-old men were either bald or dead.
After an admittedly uninspiring story about a planning board meeting held in a dilapidated garage in a tiny Jersey Shore town whose name has, like my once-taut body, become memory dust, the editor of the turd weekly called me into his turd office to say journalism might not be for me. A few years later, when I was a columnist at the fourth-largest newspaper in New Jersey, I ran into that editor. He was looking for a job at my newspaper. I don’t recall wishing him luck. I don’t recall him getting the job, either.
My first full-time job as a professional writer I got paid $110 a week to cover high school sports for The Daily Observer in Toms River, NJ. I’m Jersey born and Italian bred. People who don’t know anything about Jersey or Italians other than what they saw on “The Sopranos” often ask if I had family in the Mafia. I had a great uncle who ran a “candy store” in Hoboken. It was a candy store in front and a bookmaking operation in back, and nobody in Hoboken made book without the Mafia being involved so I guess, yeah, I got Mafia in my blood, along with cholesterol levels I need to keep an eye on.
I also have worked for newspapers in Atlantic City, Asbury Park, Minneapolis and St. Paul and, in between Asbury Park and Minneapolis, I worked for The Associated Press. If I’m ever told I only have three months to live, I want my old job back at The Associated Press. Three months there seemed like three decades.
Over the years, I have had a couple of sports-related books published and more than a couple of brilliantly written books go unpublished. As the rejection letters all said, “It’s just not right for us at this time.” I should send the manuscripts to them again. Maybe the time is right now.
What I haven’t done in my fifty something years is write a blog.
This is my first blog.
I hope I have more to say in my second blog.