"When I stand before God at the end of my life,
I would hope that I would not have a single bit of talent left
and could say, 'I used everything you gave me.'"
-- Erma Bombeck
I've got a long way to go, I know, but I'm making a stab at it. So far, I have lullabyed abandoned babies in a Haitian orphanage; sat in a Navajo hogan to hear elderly Native Americans talk about life; embraced dying AIDS patients; followed the heartache of people imprisoned unjustly; toured the inner workings of Industrial Light and Magic, as well as Paramount Studios; and made friends with Broadway's LeeRoy Reams and the real-life John Boy Walton, Earl Hamner.
Afterward I got to write about the experiences and publish them in an impressive format that helped me win 123 awards, some of them national and international honors. Somehow, I feel guilty of a scam.
Life, for me, has been exciting. I attended journalism school at the University of Kentucky, won two investigative journalism awards as managing editor of three Northern Kentucky community newspapers, became an Accredited Business Communicator in 2008 and have made presentations at regional and national conferences.
Personally, I'm trying to restore a Victorian home, cozily fitted with three cats, a large mutt, a family of well-behaved ghosts and an antique coffin in the basement, leftover from producing 25 community haunted houses in Erlanger, Ky. When not dressed up as a ghoul, I like to wear pioneer clothes and play the lap dulcimer at historic events. In addition, I lead spiritual retreats, spend one week a year in a hermitage and spend quality time with my son, Chuck, and my adorable grandson, Cody Clark.
My nearly 30-year career and three promotions at "UC Magazine" have been just as diverse and exciting. I've interviewed Pulitzer-winning playwright Edward Albee, obtained clearance to enter Disney Imagineering, nosed my way backstage on Broadway sets, received a personal serenade of "You're a Mean One Mr. Grinch" from composer Al Hague, shook hands with actress Dakota Fanning, attended the UC senior show of a student who had miraculously recovered from being brain dead and met people who had saved me from a serious wreck caused by a drunk driver.
Best of all, I have done it all while working with talented, supportive colleagues.
And I get paid for this. You'll have to admit, it does sound like my own little scam, doesn't it?
Former Editor, University of Cincinnati Magazine