20 Years of Pro Writing

It entirely escaped my attention until just about an hour ago that today marks the 20th anniversary of me starting my job as the film critic at the Fresno Bee, which means that today is also the 20th anniversary of me being a professional, full-time writer. The Fresno Bee gig was my first job out of college, which means that for my entire professional life to date, writing has been my job (or my primary job; I did some editing and consulting in there as well). Considering how magnificently unqualified I am for any other sort of work, this is a lucky thing for me.

If I had remembered this milestone in my personal history earlier than about 8pm on a Saturday night, I would probably have done more with this post — perhaps dredged up something from my Fresno Bee days, or done a series of observations about the writing life, or, well, something. But instead what you get is me going wow, twenty years. That’s a long time to get away with what I’m getting away with. It doesn’t seem like that long ago, of course, but it was; why, when I started at the Fresno Bee, The first George Bush was in office, Nirvana’s Nevermind was two weeks away from being released, Crystal Pepsi had yet to be unleashed on an unsuspecting public, and the Internet was nothing but a bunch of computer nerds fingering each other. A different world, it was.

I have no deep thoughts for you about all of this at this time. What I do have is a deep gratitude that I’ve been about to do what I love doing now for almost half of my lifespan. A lot of the reason I get to do that is because of you guys, who buy the books and follow the other writing I do. For that, all I can say is: Thank you. Thank you a whole bunch. I’ll keep at it as long as I can.