How I got my start
I remember waking up early, far earlier than I was accustomed to on a Saturday morning in college, and walking up to the pier on 125th street in Harlem. My editor at the Columbia Spectator had assigned me a story about the guys who fished the Hudson River there. Simple as that. Go and interview them. See what was up.
It was a clear, crisp fall morning, and dozens of men lined the dock by the time I arrived, their fishing lines canted against the current that swung around the nearby Department of Sanitation Center. They had nicknames for each other: The Governor. The Senator. Caddy. When a fish took your bate, that was called "fishing on credit." If you caught a blue fish, you were "singing the blues."
I asked the Governor if he ate what he caught.
"Hell no," he said. "You eat this shit, you go home, turn off the lights, and you glow."
Zing! Herein lay a larger story. Turned out that upriver lay two General Electric plants that had discharged more than one million pounds of PCB-laden chemicals into the Hudson from 1946 to 1977. Due to seepage, the factories were still adding toxins to this day.
The article I ended up writing pissed off a lot of people at GE. It also launched my journalism career. Most importantly, it taught me a lesson that continues to guide me as a writer today: Everyone has a story worth telling. Dig down deep enough, that story almost always intersects with yours and mine.
In the thirteen years since that assignment, I've gone on to be published in some of the top news outlets in the country — The New York Times Magazine, Slate, Men's Journal, to name a few. At the same time, I've carved out a niche for myself as a content strategist who works with businesses and nonprofits to craft distinctive content for websites, blogs and other outreach. I write fiction every day, whether it be for a minute or ten hours. I have two beautiful children, a wonderful wife, a dog named Tallulah and a house in a remote corner of Southern Vermont, where cell phone reception is spotty at best.
Feel free to contact me at: firstname.lastname@example.org