Turn the page I’m in my 40’s. There are kids and another house. We just moved back to the States from a job I took in Europe. Three years spent in Holland, I am glad for the Florida sunshine. Y2K hysteria has passed and with it my fat paychecks. Too bad but I was glad while it lasted. We stop in Orlando because that’s what parents with small children do. My wife reads an ad in the Orlando Sentinel – seeking short travel stories for the Sunday Travel and Leisure section.
“Hey, you could do this”, she says, but I am not so sure. “It pays $50”, she adds. Get paid? Now I am interested, but just the thought of writing. Ugh. She mentions it again a week later. “Hey, you could do that travel piece. Everyone loves that Italian truck stop story.”
Maybe… A seed is planted. I come home complaining about the job one night a month later. The Sentinel ad mysteriously appears. I sit and jot a few ideas down. Words pour out. Laughter bubbles up. Good times traveling through Italy and the food come back. Bam, I have a travel piece, but I must cut it to a hundred words. Compulsive to the end, I get it to one hundred on the dot.
Months go by. The mail man finally brings an envelope from Orlando. The Sentinel wants to buy my piece. I am a writer… again. Fine Dining at a Truck Stop There’s a framed copy of my travel piece in my office today. It cost more to frame it than I got for writing it, but no matter. At fifty cents a word, I hope my first novel pays so well.