But I’m not a writer… you may be thinking. I’m not a storyteller. That’s crap. We’re all both.
And that’s where I sat for the next three weeks. Holed up like a mole in the video cave. But damn I was intent on finding the best footage for those scripts.
Instead of the next installment of Breakfast at The Cottage, below is a short non-fiction piece called Painted Lady that’s in my Porch Stories collection. These are my girls.
“I study, too,” she said smiling. Nancy leaned forward and opened up. She held a blackbelt in Tiger Schulman’s and was studying for her second degree.
Then Norman said something that has stuck with me since – “You’re interviewing each other. They want to know if you are a good fit for them. But you should be asking questions to gauge if you really want to work there.”
At this point, you are either a little like my normal self – barely looking into Norman and letting his personality and humanness unfold in front of you. Or you are like my working self – immediately researching the guy to find out who he is. If you’re the latter, then you know his accomplishments. He had written at least two books – Life’s Snapshots and The Gamblers – and had written opinion pieces for various papers including the New York Times.
Fully under a sold, used boat, my attention was on the hull and then…
A pair of brown, polished loafers slid across the floor and stopped next to me.
“What if you don’t like that kind of writing? What if you’re no good at it?”
“Nonsense,” said Norman as he walked in the door. “He’ll learn and adapt. Good morning, too.” His silent gait let him slip into the diner undetected.
So there I sat in my room, surrounded by yellow legal pads and index cards, trying to figure out what the hell I was going to hand over to Norman. Fixing a resume proved difficult enough, now I had to share something more personal. I had to turn in my work.
“Eisenhower.” He said. Norman responded to my question like it was no big deal.
“You’ll find I don’t shut up with my ideas,” he said. “I’ve been coming here for thirty-years. Place hasn’t changed.”
“We haven’t, but you’ve turned into a grumpy, old geezer,” said the woman from behind the counter. Don’t look offended, hun. We love him like family.”
Broke and dreamy, I had convinced myself I could become a writer. But I actually had no clue what the hell I was doing. So I scraped the barnacle off of rich people’s boats and waited tables so that I could use tips to feed myself.
Then a single act changed my career’s trajectory.
Young and idealistic. Broke and in debt. I had just graduated and hoped to land my dream job – writing for a Discovery Channel show. Instead, I hustled at a local marina to stay afloat. My $10-an-hour job scraping barnacle and painting boat bottoms covered rent for my townhouse and my student loan payments. Every […]