“The main obligation is to amuse yourself.” – S. J. Perelman
There are a couple of reasons I’m kicking off my bio with this quote by S. J. Perelman. For one, I just love the guy. He’s not that well known today, but from the ’30s to the ’70s he wrote humorous essays, short stories, plays, screenplays – you name it. He even wrote for the Marx Brothers! Without him, Monkey Business wouldn’t exist – or, at least, it wouldn’t be as great as it is.
The other reason is, simply, that Perelman is talking about being true to yourself. There are only so many ways to express that fundamental idea – so familiar and yet so necessary – and I really like this one.
It’s an idea I return to again and again in my work as a writer. Since I’m freelance, I’ve covered a huge range of topics in almost as many formats. I’ve investigated scrappy entrepreneurs, karaoke cruises, African startups and Argentine comic books. I’ve told readers how to pick their kids’ schools, get their employees organized and tell whether someone’s lying to them. I’ve written articles, blog posts, white papers, tutorials and corporate biographies for national magazines and local nonprofits.
Dealing with such a range of content, I have to keep asking whether my work amuses me – to say nothing of enlightening me and moving me. If I don’t keep asking that question, I won’t be able to amuse, enlighten and move my reader.
Wondering whether I’ve succeeded? Check out the rest of my site. Take a look at my business stories for Inc. and Money magazines on my business journalism page. Learn more than you (probably) ever wanted to know about comics, my beat for NPR, on my arts journalism page. See the copywriting I’ve done for such clients as D Custom and the Career Transitions Center of Chicago.
Then get in touch. (Or get in touch before you read all that. It’s definitely not a pre-req.) I’m at:
I’m glad you stopped by! To send you on your way, here’s a classic scene from Monkey Business. Enjoy!