“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 ’20s 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 the same.
The other reason is that Perelman is talking about being true to yourself. There are only so many ways to express this idea – so ubiquitous and yet so elusive – and I really like this one.
It’s an idea I return to again and again in my work as a writer. I’ve covered a huge range of topics in almost as many formats. I’ve investigated scrappy entrepreneurs, 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 clients including 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 it doesn’t, it won’t amuse, enlighten or move my reader.
To see whether it does, check out the rest of my site. Read about comics, my beat for NPR, on my arts journalism page. Take a look at my work for Inc. and Money magazines on my business journalism page. Learn about the copywriting I’ve done for clients around the country.
Then get in touch. (Or get in touch before you read all that. It’s not a pre-req.)
I’m glad you stopped by! To send you on your way, here’s a classic scene from Monkey Business.