Research Writer Interview With Don
I've Enjoyed Writing Model Term Papers Since The 1980's
How did you get into writing?
I began a love for writing while in high school with the works of Henry David Thoreau, Mark twain and the great American writers of the nineteenth century. I began to write for my own benefit as well as for school assignments.
What do you like to write about the most?
I love to write political and humor columns of about 600 – 800 words. I am an unabashed liberal and vociferous opponent of wars and oppression. I also enjoy fiction.
Why, then, did you become an academic writer?
It pays well and I'm good at it. I always enjoyed taking courses that had a term paper due at the end of the semester. I used to write term papers for some of my college friends back in the 1980's and charge only $25. That meant going to the library with index cards, doing the research and typing the paper on a mechanical typewriter. $25 was worth a lot more in those days.
What type of articles have you written in your career?
Damn near everything. That sounds cliché - I realize that – but I've been at it for over forty years! I wrote humor columns that ran from 800 – 1300 words, two per week for four years. I wrote editorial commentaries, once per week for another several years. I've written 523 political e-zine columns since 2003. (I know this because I've saved them all and there are 523 items in the folder.) I've written a completed novel but got ripped off by unscrupulous agents until I got wiser. I've written a self-help book about quitting smoking and have a few unfinished books ranging from my experiences over twenty years in a maximum-security prison to a historical novel around Manuel Noriega of Panama. (I knew a man whose daughter became the Panamanian dictator's pen pal back in the late 1980's. The family traveled to Panama twice as guests of the president.)
What about your personal life, your family?
I am a happily married man of 31 years. My wife and I have three grown children ranging in age from 28 to 37, two boys, and one daughter. I decided to make a career in corrections after being laid off from a company while my wife was pregnant with my second child. I wanted job security and I wanted to raise my family in the rural and charming atmosphere that is Marquette, Michigan. No crime, a university, a Great Lake, four seasons, no traffic and few people make this community idyllic. The only drawback in my eyes is that we are not near a major city. I like to visit the cities when I vacation.
What other jobs have you held in your lifetime?
I've been a steeplejack, having painted a 135-foot tall transmitter tower. I've been a salesman of insurance, advertising, cars and furniture. I've been a businessman in the car repair business and as a pet store co-owner with my wife. I've been an administrative manager for an export company dealing with clients in Saudi Arabia and responsible for everything from shipping to financial reporting. That's particularly challenging when you deal with foreign currency reported by foreign bookkeepers halfway around the world. We shipped everything from appliances to insulation, but our primary product was diesel engine maintenance. I shipped massive boxes filled with filters, O-rings, nuts, bolts, washers, screws and myriad tiny parts necessary to rebuild a massive diesel engine. For twenty years, I worked as a guard in a maximum-security prison, retiring in 2003. I now write as much as possible.
What are your other interests?
I love golf. That's a retirement thing, I guess. I got my wife hooked on the sport and now instead of nagging me to clean the gutters, she's bugging me to call in a tee time. I play the drums and other percussion instruments in a band that does gigs at local nightclubs. I take long walks for my health and I work out with aerobics and light weight lifting during the winter. I also love to travel but it's pretty hard sometimes as we also love pets. I have a huge German Shepherd named Gunther, an orange cat named Fatso and an African Gray parrot named Maggie. It's almost like owning a farm – the critters need daily attention.
Random writer: /4/writer-mitch