Thanks to the ending of my second marriage with a French count, a silver-tongued promoter of the impossible, I found myself sought after by many of his past business associates and various creditors. Newly divorced, a half million dollars in debt, and 40 years old with a four-year-old to raise, I couldn’t afford to spend time sulking and complaining. Rather, I got a day job, went back to college, finished up those last 9 credits, and finally graduated after 20 years, leading me to a new life, and eventually, a new career as a writer.
It was at that low point that I began working as an unsung office manager. Going from countess to discountess, my job was at the recycling plant at the local landfill. But even the landfill has a silver lining, because that’s where I developed my symbiotic relationship with the computer and learned a multitude of software packages – many of which I’m still using today as a writer and editor. Being able to go back and forth between Apple and PCs, I learned Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Access and Adobe PageMaker. I learned a myriad of other skills, including bookkeeping, the world of bills of lading and JIT inventory, as well as performing support functions, overseeing HR, safety and environmental concerns at the plant.
At the same time, I also worked as a freelance writer for the local newspapers, eventually being able to give up my day job and jump into freelance full time. Finally, I was working so many hours at The Palm Beach Post that my bosses decided to make it official and to hire me as a copy editor for Residences, The Post’s Sunday marketing real estate, homes for resale section. Concurrently, I continued as a freelancer, writing equestrian stories, features on homes and home décor, as well as luxury auto stories.
In 2006, I became the editor of Residences. I managed the budget for Residences, and came up with new columns and features to make it reader friendly – not an easy job during the real estate downturn when none of our readers were happy. During this time, I acquired even more software skills: InDesign, Photoshop, DreamWeaver, IMovie and Final Cut Pro, and honed my photography. I’m especially proud of a series of features that I wrote on Palm Beach’s first generation of architects, which won two awards.
When newspapers began to downsize in 2008, i chose to return to the freelance world, expanding the subjects I cover to include heath, science, yachting, business, and travel. I have columns in the Palm Beach Daily News and The Coastal Star, and I write regularly for Florida Design, Miami Home & Decor, and Palm Beach. I have written for publications that include AAA Travel, Sun-Sentinel, the Miami Herald’s Jewish Star Times, Palm Beach Life, Muses & Visionaries, The Real Deal, and 1859 magazine.
In case you want to learn what I did in my first 20 years of adulthood… besides raising three kids (the aforementioned 4-year-old was No. 4, with husband No. 2), I had done the following: created sweater designs, made them and sold them; refinished and sold antique furniture; created a children’s furniture line; started an au pair program; bought, renovated and sold dilapidated real estate in California; served on the boards of various for-profit and not-for-profit companies; started, ran and taught my own school based on left/right brain research; and in the process of all this, learned how to make whole-wheat pie crust and carob candy, which my kids hated.