I’ve wanted to be a writer for as as long as I can remember. In the third grade, my extremely popular (at least with one member of my family) essay, “My Mother’s Hands,” was published in Hegeman Highlights, the house organ of Brooklyn’s P.S. 92. Then I got sidetracked by deciding to get a Ph.D in literature from NYU. My edition of The Collected Poems of Paul Blackburn was published with my critical introduction, and I wrote for a several literary journals.
No money changed hands during any of these transactions.
I hadn’t planned to be a travel writer—my aspirations were more vague—but I’ve always loved to travel. After graduate school, I happened into travel publishing and made all kinds of great connections in New York and London. It seemed foolish not to take advantage of them.
So when I moved to Tucson, I started writing travel guides—three of them which went through multiple editions–and food and travel articles, some published in pretty hoo-hah places, if I say so myself.
Here’s a partial list:
Arizona Daily Star
Art & Antiques
The Chicago Tribune
Edible Baja Arizona
The Guardian (London)
Ladies Home Journal
National Geographic Traveler
New York Times Book Review
Rolls Royce Owners Club Desk Diary Luxury Travel Magazine
Steinway & Sons magazine
Travel + Leisure
The Wall Street Journal
Wine Spirits Quarterly (Pennsylvania)
Then I got a dog, who didn’t especially like to travel. I ended up writing a dog book and blog and contributing to veterinary publications, including Trends, geared toward veterinary professionals, and Dog Watch and Cat Watch, geared towards amateur worriers. I globe-trotted less, focused more on writing more about local food and local travel destinations.
I realized, somewhat belatedly, that I had become what I set to be: A professional writer, one not tethered to any particular subject matter or genre, though humor tends to be a thread running through everything. It’s that realization–and some pretty funny journeys along the way–that my upcoming memoir traces.
I received a Lowell Thomas Award from the Society of American Travel Writers for a piece I wrote on assignment for More magazine about visiting a nudist resort, proof that taking your clothes off for pay is not only legal in the writing business, but encouraged. And I nabbed a first place magazine writing award from the Arizona Press Club for a story on the Tucson Originals, a group of local eateries and associated businesses who are pushing back against chain restaurants.
Food and spirits—especially those of the Southwest U.S. and Mexico—are a specialty. I’m the Contributing Dining Editor of Tucson Guide, the Contributing Chow Editor of BizTucson, and write regularly about restaurants for Sunset magazine (here’s a story I wrote about a food smackdown between Phoenix/Scottsdale and Tucson).