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A Writer's Path

After graduation from high school (a prestigious East Coast prep school which shall remain nameless in this context) I was full convinced that I could not write.  Not a bit.  Not a lick.

When I arrived at the school, I thought I could wrote pretty well.  My Mom and Dad were working journalists (among other things). And my mother, Dorothy Dougherty, was a real professional writer.  My father, Ed Kennedy, was a two-finger typist who could get a story down on paper.

My high school experience involved a kind of “tear ‘em down and then build ‘em up philosophy.”  My confidence as a writer was thoroughly shredded in my first year.  No much happened on the rebuilding front in the years that followed.

Saving the World

Flash forward to 1971 and Watergate – investigative journalism changed America. I was at a crossroads in my academic career; my parents were newspaper people – life seemed to be telling me to go into the family business.

I was still learning how to type when I started working at The Evansville Press.  Mike Grehl, a prototypical surly, newsroom tyrant ran the show.  He listened to my Old Man’s pitch and gave me a shot. Bill Burleigh, the Managing Editor and later Editor of the paper; served as my mentor.

There’s no better training for a writer than working at a daily newspaper (pray for their survival; subscribe and read on paper – no better way to be informed and entertained either).

I learned the craft, writing under deadline.  Very little opinion; just hard news. Even when I was assigned to cover arts and entertainment, the Man said: “you’re a reporter” and my stories, profiles and reviews took that approach.

I earned a living as a writer for more than 30 years: operator’s manuals for construction machinery; advertising; marketing; PR; more newspapering and ultimately, “content creation” for the nescient World Wide Web.

I’ve recently undertaken a few long form projects with two of them ready to go somewhere – I’m just not quite sure where yet.

The Play

MuchAdoAboutNothingDotCom – a two-act riff on the original with a DJ and rapper stepping for Dogberry and Verges. Contemporary office setting; strong women’s parts and accessable to younger people – it would work for high school actors, I think.  Looking for a table read.

The Self-Help Book

The Richest Man in New Babylon: 10 rules to Achieve Financial Serenity – a novella length personal finance, self-help book. This grew out of two experiences. First, my work at the New Jersey Society of Certified Public Accountants as a writer, doing a lot of stories about PFP and listing to experts and their opinions led me to a “classic” book called The Richest Man in Babylon.  Second, working for several years as a volunteer teaching The Money Class for incarcerated men in a residential drug treatment program in Newark, I found out about the extraordinary financial challenges that confront people when they are released from jail or prison. Lot’s more about this project here:

Going Forward

I have several other projects, fiction and non-fiction, in various stages of completion ranging from some with pretty big chunks of draft copy created to living on lists as “possibilities” for the future. 

We’ll see what develops.