Join A Slice of Orange

Enter your email address and never miss another post on A Slice of Orange.

Subscribe to our Monthly Newsletter

Archives

Calender

December 2017
M T W T F S S
« Nov    
 123
45678910
11121314151617
18192021222324
25262728293031
Home > Columns > Charmed Writer > Accidental Author

Bored, twenty-one, living in Sunnymead, California­- when there was nothing there but the Riverside Raceway and Naugles… and I had a baby. I was a brilliant parent. After all, I’d been a mother for all of nine months, had a perfect baby, and had gotten married at nineteen instead of going to college. I was more than qualified to give parenting advice to other people.

 

So, I decided to write a parenting column.

 

I wrote several sample columns, and without even thinking that I should call and make an appointment, I dropped by the office of our local newspaper, The Butterfield Express and asked to see The Editor.

 

Yes, I did.

 

The Editor came out, quickly reviewed my samples and said “Sure we can use this.” Well of course she did! The newspaper paid $5 a column. Wow, they were actually willing to pay me!

 

A few years later I’d returned to school, divorced, and decided I wanted to be a lawyer. And, I’d started dating  a lawyer. Obviously the smart thing to do was to write some sample law columns, take clips of my parenting column from the Butterfield Express, and march straight into the offices of the brand-new Moreno Valley News…without making an appointment. Yes…I did.

 

The Editor did see me, he looked over my samples and said he’d get back to me. When my lawyer boyfriend heard what I’d done, he thought it was hysterical, and made sure that I knew that I’d never get that law column. I wasn’t qualified, and I didn’t have a clue what I was doing. He was right of course.

 

But one Monday morning bright and early  the telephone rang. It was not The Editor of the Moreno Valley News. No, it was my lawyer boyfriend. “What have you done?” He shrieked into the phone. He ranted for several minutes before I figured out what had happened.

 

Apparently, The Editor at the Moreno Valley News had decided to publish my column, only he didn’t tell me. He’d published a sample column on Planning a Will. The problem was that I’d cleverly added a note to the bottom of the article that said “for a free will planning guide, send a self addressed stamped envelope to the Law Offices of H & B”, my boyfriend’s law office. Mr. H had come in to work that morning to find a pile of envelopes all requesting his non-existent free will planning guide.

 

Don’t tell me that I can’t write a law column.

So, I wrote a Will Planning Guide, and the Moreno Valley News paid me $20 a piece for my little law column.

 

A year later, while working full time at a car dealership as a cashier in their service department, I mailed a query for an article on ‘how to get people to listen to you’ to The Toastmaster. Keep in mind, writing was a hobby. I never considered it a career.  I hated numbers, and back at the car dealership, my register never balanced. It was never off more than some change, sometimes over, sometimes short..whatever it was, the numbers didn’t add up. Of course there came a day when my manager who liked me and knew I was a single mother, reluctantly called me into the office and told me he had to let me go.

 

The phone rang insistently as I arrived home that night with my little boy. It was the editor of the The Toastmaster. Could I could get my article to her by Friday? It just so happened the theme of her current issue was ‘listening’ and all of the article submissions she’d received were on improving your listening skills, but Toastmaster’s is, of course, a public speaking organization, and she loved my idea to write an article on how to get people to listen to you. The assignment paid $75 for an article that took my about four hours to write, and I didn’t have to pay for child care.

 

I never looked back. I wrote articles and columns, press releases for products, for magazines, newspapers, catalogs and more. But it wasn’t a job. I never considered myself a writer.

 

In fact, when I met my Hunky Hubby- no, not the lawyer, that didn’t last long- and he asked what I did,  I told him I was a student (I had returned to school) and that sometimes I wrote freelance articles. He said “Oh, you’re a writer.”

 

I said, “No, I just write to earn a little money.”

 

We fell in love, got married, bought a house in the Antelope Valley and had two more little boys. I continued writing my little articles, though not as frequently and then one day the phone rang. The editor of the food section for the Antelope Valley Press Enterprise was looking for a Lori Jewett. Now Jewett is an unusual name, and when she asked, I assumed it was me she was looking for because when I write Tari in handwriting it sometimes resembles Lori.

 

“Did you submit a recipe for Cook of the Week?” She asked.

 

Now this was weird. I had NOT submitted a recipe for cook of the week, in fact, I wasn’t much of a cook, but I had one good recipe, Flemish Beef Stew, and I’d filled out the form for Cook of the Week, including that recipe and stuck it to the refrigerator with a Thomas the Tank Engine magnet. I turned around to look. It was still there.

 

After a good laugh and a long conversation with the food editor, I ended up with my recipe and a half page article about our ‘wrong number’ phone call in the Antelope Valley Press…and a new cooking column. Later, I used those clips to get a cooking column in Quick ‘N Easy Country Cooking Magazine. Did I say I couldn’t cook?

 

Although I wasn’t ‘A Writer’, I wrote freelance for magazines and newspapers for over fifteen years.

 

My boys are all grown, and things have changed. I would never show up at an editor’s office without an invitation, I’ve raised three boys to adulthood and know that I’m not qualified to give parenting advice, and I have more than one decent recipe. But more importantly, now I’m writing because I  want to be a writer. Yes, I write because it’s my passion, but I also take it seriously. It’s a career.

 

So, I guess I’m no longer an accidental author.

 

I’m an intentional author

18 Comments

  • Sally Paradysz
    on April 10, 2017

    I got a great belly laugh out of this post….keep it up!

    • Author
      Tari Jewett
      on April 10, 2017

      Thank you!

  • Veronica Jorge
    on April 10, 2017

    Hi Tari, I enjoyed your reading your humorous post and admired your confidence and boldness in the way your presented your articles.

  • Author
    Tari Jewett
    on April 10, 2017

    Thank you Veronica. I wish I could say it was true confidence. It was actually ignorance and the fact that I knew I wasn’t a writer. Sometimes though, ignorance really is bliss.

  • mlknowlden
    on April 10, 2017

    I love this post. Chutzpah can get us far! I’m inspired. Thank you.

    • Author
      Tari Jewett
      on April 10, 2017

      Thank you M. It was more ignorance than chutzpah, but writing this did remind me that I CAN DO ANYTHING if I want to, although hopefully these days I do it with a little more grace.

  • mariannehdonley
    on April 10, 2017

    I especially liked the lawyer getting requests for the imginary will planning guide.

    • Author
      Tari Jewett
      on April 10, 2017

      Can I tell you something Marianne? That’s my favorite part too!

  • vickicrum
    on April 10, 2017

    Love you humor, Tari– and love learning a little bit more about you!

    • Author
      Tari Jewett
      on April 10, 2017

      Thanks Vicki! This was fun to write.

  • christopherlentzauthor
    on April 10, 2017

    Thanks for the peek into your past. That’s quite a story! There’s no doubt you’re a storyteller now!

    • Author
      Tari Jewett
      on April 10, 2017

      Lol, thank you Chris. I come from a long line of storytellers!

  • JoyceWard
    on April 10, 2017

    What a fun read. Your experiences would make a great book! I’m so proud of you, my friend. Thanks for sharing your life with us.

    • Author
      Tari Jewett
      on April 10, 2017

      Thank you Linnea! I’m so excited about all of the great things happening to you, and that I’ve been there for so much of it!

  • darlenechancock
    on April 10, 2017

    Awesome post, Tari!

  • Geralyn Corcillo
    on April 11, 2017

    OMG You are awesome!!!

    • Author
      Tari Jewett
      on April 11, 2017

      Lol, thank you! Will you tell my boys that?

Comments are closed.

Copyright ©2017 A Slice of Orange. All Rights Reserved. ~PROUDLY POWERED BY WORDPRESS ~ CREATED BY ISHYOBOY.COM

%d bloggers like this: