People are often curious about how I "morphed" into an award-winning writer and journalist. After having had a successful and satisfying career as a senior policymaker and program director at the National Institute of Mental Health in Rockville, Maryland, I yearned to find a more creative and entrepreneurial way to use my talents.
More than a decade ago, when (then) first lady Hillary Clinton moved to my small hamlet of Chappaqua, in Westchester County, New York, just as I had done five years before her, I spontaneously wrote an essay offering her seasoned advice to ease her adjustment. The piece was sprinkled with names of people and places---tidbits you would share with any new neighbor; it was humorous because the thought of Hillary moving to such a small town after the White House was hard even for me to fathom.
Having never experienced editorial rejection, I fearlessly called the Washington Post and asked for the Style editor. I was transferred to Outlook, the political commentary section that appears on Sundays. A kind editor asked me to fax my manuscript. Several hours later, she faxed back a contract. With some light editing, my memo to Mrs. Clinton was published the next weekend with cartoon-like illustrations that brought the story to life.
The excitement of my first clip and paycheck as a freelance writer was only exceeded by the thrill of all the phone calls I received from old friends and colleagues who were regular readers of the Post. I was hooked! To read my first essay, click here .