Wednesday, December 23, 2009


A couple of weeks ago at a meeting of writers, a novelist whom I had just met told me that she was "impressed by all the things you've done in your life." She had read my bio on my web site and was reacting to the fact that I've gone through five distinct phases of professional life.

"Do you find the latest phase, being a writer, the most difficult one?" she asked.

I responded in the negative, but I didn't elaborate. It was only later that I had time to look back and contemplate nearly 50 years of my professional life and to determine not only which phase had been the most difficult, but also how each of the other phases could be described with a single "most." Here's what I concluded:

Phase I:    Engineer              --  most boring
Phase II:   Academic           --  most satisfying
Phase III:  Entrepreneur       --  most terrifying
Phase IV:  Venture capitalist -- most difficult
Phase V:   Writer                 --  most frustrating

I should explain why the current phase is "most frustrating." Most of my career has been about control. As long as I had some degree of control over matters -- when my own actions and decisions could affect outcome -- I was able to overcome obstacles and to maintain my sanity. As a writer, I feel that I have little control, beyond putting words on paper. Others make decisions while I wait for that e-mail or phone call, telling me that I'm going to get published. That's frustrating -- but I'm still enjoying myself.

I wish you Happy Holidays and all the best for the new year! Thank you for reading my blog.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Maryland -- A State of Writers

Last night, I attended a meeting of the Annapolis chapter of the Maryland Writers' Association. We meet monthly at a coffeeshop in a part of town which calls itself "The Maritime Republic of Eastport." Last night's affair was a book fair, whereby exhibiting members sold their respective books to other members. As I browsed through most of the publications on display, I was blown away by the quality of the writing and the imagination behind some of the plots -- from mysteries to adventures to memoirs to poetry. As a relative newcomer to our community of writers, I continue to be amazed by the amount of talent in our quaint, small town, known more for sailing than for literature.

The talent extends far beyond Annapolis. The state of Maryland seems to be a haven for writers and poets. I urge you to sample some of the works of these incredible individuals. The best way to see what's out there is to go on the web site of the Maryland Writers' Association,, and to click on "Member Web Sites." You will find brief bios of 46 Maryland writers and references to their books, which cover nearly every possible genre of fiction and nonfiction. You may find some interesting presents for your friends and family for the Holidays.