When an office memo announced the famed Santa Barbara Writer's Conference I thought, aha! Eager to sign up, I wanted Art Seidenbaum's opinion. He sat at his typewriter in his book-cluttered office. When I tapped on the window, he swiveled his chair and waved me in.
I bounced with enthusiasm. He listened. Then after he lit a cigarette he said, "Kristi, there're two kinds of writers. Those who attend conferences and those who stay home to write."
Hmm. As I digested this, he said, "Go see Epstein."
Bob Epstein was the View editor. He oversaw news and features for all the arts. I walked around the corner and down the hall, a bit nervous because we only had a nodding friendship. He was gracious and, like Art, he listened.
"Bring me a scrapbook of published articles, this thick." With his thumb and forefinger, he indicated several inches. "Might take a year or two, but on a daily you'll get lots of experience. Then we'll talk."
Thanking him, I hurried back to Art.
He suggested The Telegram-Tribune in San Luis Obispo, four hours north by coastal highway. "It's a good daily," he said, "but it has the reputation of being rough on reporters. Chews 'em up then spits 'em out."
I phoned the editor. No openings. But in my heart, I decided I would keep checking in with him and get ready to move.
From BLUE SKIES: ONE AUTHOR'S JOURNEY, to be published this Fall.