What I Wanted to Be Growing Up, Chronologically

  1. Pilot. I saw the movie "The Right Stuff," based on the Tom Wolfe book, and thought Chuck Yeager was a badass.
  2. Brain surgeon. Not quite sure where this came from, but in 6th grade I got second place in a speech contest and my speech was about wanting to be a brain surgeon. Maybe I was warming up to be a....
  3. Novelist. I stayed home sick from school one day and started writing stories in a notebook and was like, huh, this ain't so bad.
  4. Physicist. Just got kinda fascinated with science and all that.
  5. Chemist. Got to college and was still into science but found chemistry to be a lot more chill than physics on the math front. I still almost failed P-Chem.
  6. Novelist, part 2. Was working in a chemistry lab and had to run experiments into the wee hours. I passed the time reading and writing. Soon after, I graduated and got a job as a high school math teacher and started writing a bunch at night.
  7. Journalist. I quit teaching, moved to LA from SF, and got a job as a researcher at the Los Angeles Business Journal ("The BJ"). I had to help reporters with their stories and eventually was like Fuck this I want to write my own shit.
  8. Wall Street Journal reporter. One day I was at the BJ and picked up a copy of the WSJ and saw a front page story about a Nordic air guitar contest. I was smitten.
  9. Wall Street Journal reporter. I eventually got it!
  10. Novelist part 3. While working at WSJ I spent the early mornings and weekends writing a very strange novel that got picked up by a fabulous ICM agent but sadly never sold.
  11. Who knows... After a decade at the WSJ I decamped for The New York Times. I'm sure I will freak out and want to be a novelist again. The one thing I can say is that when I was a kid and got enamored with The Right Stuff, I realize now that I never wanted to be Chuck Yeager - I wanted to be Tom Wolfe.