Tuesday, April 11, 2017


At the age of eight, I learned to swim at a Boys’ Club in Hollywood. My instructor, Ron Friscia, continued to be my mentor for several years. At sixteen, I took a class with the Red Cross to be certified as a WSI (Water Safety Instructor.) With this credential, I could secure gainful employment as a teacher, lifeguard, or coach. It seemed like a dream, to spend my days around a pool. Or a beach. And legions of pretty girls in skimpy suits. And get paid for it! What more could a young man ask for?

But then I did my research, and a hard dose of reality hit me: The career path for a WSI is very uncertain. The pay is lousy, and most jobs are part-time and seasonal. Beach duty pays more, and Baywatch made it look easy, glamorous, and sexy. But the work is grueling, and brings with it an elevated risk of skin cancer. Any long-term advancement would likely require extensive travel or even outright relocation.

Wednesday, April 5, 2017


Last year, I attended sixteen writers’ events. After six years as a literary agent, this is my all-time high. Some were across town (Los Angeles), while others were across the country (Kansas City). Two weeks ago I was in New York City, and soon I will be in Orange County. 

I’ve come to expect at least one strange conversation with a writer in attendance, at each event. His language might be subtle or explicit, but one way or another, he accuses me of a crime. Not necessarily because of anything I’ve actually done, but because he has heard a horror story or three about agents. Surely we’re all the same, right?