When I was a little boy, I remember grown-ups had a favorite question:
“And what do you want to be when you grow up?”
With each year, my answers changed: Cowboy, firefighter, priest, Perry Mason. (Not sure I ever wanted to be an astronaut, probably because I didn’t like roller coasters.)
In college, people kept asking me the same question, and with more urgency; after all, I needed to get a job someday. And over four years, my answer still kept changing: lawyer, teacher, writer.
I finally settled on the writer idea, and the search for a paycheck led me to the rewrite desk of the News American in Baltimore, my hometown. There I faced a new challenge: figuring out how my daily output of crime briefs, obituaries, dictated staff stories and occasional news features would get me to the cover of the Rolling Stone.… Read more