|outside the Carnegie Museums|
taken by me, September 2012
Pittsburgh is the kind of big small town where people are, for the most part, very approachable. Maybe it's our proximity to the Midwest, maybe it's something that hearkens back to this city's gritty steel past, but there is something ingrained in this town that makes folks naturally inclined to be helpful, to give someone new a chance.
(I happen to think it's all that, plus a symbolic byproduct of being surrounded by all these bridges.)
As a transplant here, I've had a bit of a tough go of it, professionally-speaking. Unemployment and a now almost year-long job-hunt has changed me completely, permanently. Reinventing oneself sounds easy on paper; in reality, it's damn harder than I ever imagined.
Fortunately, when someone in Pittsburgh knocks you down, three more usually extend a hand or an opportunity to help you back up.
On Tuesday, I happened to be in the right place (Twitter) at the right time (in the morning) when I spotted a tweet from Tony Norman, columnist and associate editor (and now, books editor) for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. We had met in October at Podcamp Pittsburgh through my friend Sue Kerr. Unbelievably, Tony had heard of my very blog.
So I emailed on Tuesday, then I found myself with Tony today talking books, and local politics, and about my 11 year old son's ambitions to be Pittsburgh's next mayor (hey, we sort of have precedent in such matters), and (who the hell knew?) our shared native hometown of Philly.
The result of all that?
I'm now among the Post-Gazette's freelance book reviewers. I'll be reviewing literary fiction and my first review should be within the next month or so.
I know, right? Needless to say, I'm beyond thrilled. Sure, it's a nice notch in this writer/editor/blogger/consultant/whatever else comes along life of mine, but know this: not only does the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette give ink to books (a rarity among metropolitan newspapers) but Tony also seems committed to local writers. His weekly books column includes local books (including self-published works) that have been published in the past year. Yes, you read that right, folks.
I'll say it again, for it bears repeating: a major metropolitan newspaper whose book editor gives print time to all books, the big bestsellers and your neighbor's e-book alike.
Because that's how we do things here in the 'Burgh.
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