This post is by Joe Stephens
When I started this writing journey, I thought that I would simply be writing books and maybe short stories. I never even considered anything else. I had no interest, at least that I knew of, in any other kind of writing. And then, as they say, fate stepped in.
A brilliant former student of mine named Liv Reeder asked if she and another former
student could come and talk to my classes about the journalism department at our local college, West Virginia University at Parkersburg. I had, as always, a lot of good writers in my classes and it had the added bonus of allowing me to see Liv for a whole day. I am good friends with her and her husband, who just so happens to be another former student, so I was glad for the chance.
As we sat having lunch together in the middle of the day, she mentioned ClutchMOV, for which she was writing (she has since become editor-in-chief). She explained that it was an online lifestyle magazine for and about the Mid-Ohio Valley. I asked about the possibility of having an article about me an my books and then I happened to mention that I would be willing to fill a slot they were struggling to keep filled writing monthly book reviews. It was a casual comment that I didn’t really think much about. I figured I read a lot. Why not write a review for one of the books I read each month? It’s not much of a commitment.
So I did. And then Liv invited me to a contributor’s meeting. It was a blast. The people were young and funny and energetic, and I got, for the first time, an understanding of just how exciting ClutchMOV had the potential to be. These were people who enjoyed living in the Parkersburg-Marietta area and wanted to promote just how culturally rich this place really is, despite its reputation to the contrary. So I got swept up. I offered to write reviews of local plays and even some short stories. In subsequent meetings, I’ve slowly become a general contributor, writing stories about historic houses and local organizations and theater and book reviews and short stories. I’ve conducted interviews. I’ve done research. I’m writing nonfiction. And Liv, who is an amazing writer, tells me I’m good.
Who knew? I’ve not only found another kind of writing I enjoy but also one that I seem to be good at. And it’s all because of a casual comment to a friend while sitting at lunch. You never know when the next opportunity will present itself.
So when have you found an exciting opportunity where you least expected it?
Joe Stephens is a teacher at Parkersburg High School. He is also the author of Harsh Prey, Kisses and Lies, In the Shadow, all of which are available in paperback and Kindle formats. His fourth Shalan Adventure will be available this summer.The paperback may be purchased from Createspace, Amazon, and most online booksellers. In the real world, you may purchase from J & M Used Book Store in Parkersburg, Paperback Palace in Vienna, and from the author’s trunk.
Check out his newest book on Amazon
Take a look at Harsh Prey on Amazon
Take a look at Kisses and Lies on Amazon