A writer never knows when her next story will present itself and get the creative juices flowing. In fact, sometimes the inspiration knocks not on the front door, but comes sneaking in the back when they’re wondering why in hell the doorbell rang if there’s no one there. Sometimes it comes when you’re sitting on the couch sipping wine with your best friend from college who suddenly announces, “Did I ever tell you I was babysat by a serial killer?” And sometimes it comes when you’re working on an entirely different project and a new one quietly says, “Ahem, excuse me, but I’m pretty damn fascinating too.”
Writing, filmmaking, and journalism are not jobs for the faint of heart. They often expose you to harsh criticism and sometimes bullying threats. They are occasionally ugly, even brutal. They demand long days and all too often sleepless nights. And they rarely reward with riches. But, they are jobs that need doing and they are jobs that once done and done well, do reward because it means you’ve spoken truth to power.
When my grandfather died, I said to myself, I will never know anyone funnier than Grampy. And I was right. It’s been forty years since his death and I have yet to meet a soul with the speed and cleverness of his wit. It definitely wasn’t a kind and gentle humor, but it wasn’t nasty either. It was just so damn quick and sure, like the thrust of an epee’s blade, especially after his nightly scotch and sodas -- plural.
“And they were never seen alive again.” It was the sentence that stopped my fingers on the keyboard. You see, for decades, fifty years in fact, the fate of three young women was a mystery. All that was known about their “disappearance” was that the last recorded sighting of them was with Tony Costa, a man who would later be convicted for the murders of two women and guilty in the deaths of three more, as well as the disappearances and presumed murders of as many as another eight. So, [...]
Writing is a terrifying experience. Or rather, getting your writing published, is terrifying. Your words, after all, expose you in many ways, revealing your intellect, the degree of your research, and most of all, your ability to simply write. And when you bare yourself to the world, you are inviting critique, which all too often is criticism. When I was writing my first book, Savage Summit, about the first five women who climbed K2, the world’s second highest mountain on the Pakistan/China border, it was exhilarating but frightening. I remember [...]
I found what I think is the first diary I ever kept and judging by the boy’s name around which I drew red hearts every time I mentioned him, I’m guessing I was about 11 or 12 at the time. It has a green faux leather cover and one of those little square “locks.” I remember keeping the key for years, thinking it actually protected my secrets, first from my sister who would have read it out loud at the dinner table to mortify me, and second from my mother [...]