Writing is a tough career
for a guy who can't sit still
This typewriter belonged to my grandfather on my mother's side. His name was Harvey, and he was a great storyteller. He was president of the Toastmasters Club in my hometown of Milwaukee. He had a way of captivating your attention as he unwound his story or told a joke, a master of the pregnant pause. He told a lot of jokes, and I remember being thrilled by them, but also saddened, because his jokes made me think, "Man, I'll never be as funny as that."
My grandmother on my father's side was another great teller of tales. I used to sit in her kitchen as a boy and watch her, enraptured, as she talked and cooked for us. I like to think that in some way I'm carrying forward their love of storytelling and their total delight in captivating their listeners.
I think if I had my choice I'd be a professional cyclist or a shipwreck diver or a guy who sails around the globe seeking rare varieties of octopus or goes on some sort of physical quest every day to earn his living, because I find it very hard to sit still and think for long periods of time. But then, who doesn't? Despite years of trying to avoid what I now consider my calling, I've finally accepted the fact that I may not be a swashbuckler by trade, but sitting at my work, I can imagine myself one.
Jeff Bartsch grew up in Milwaukee, where at the age of 14 he delivered newspapers before dawn on the city’s coldest day on record, at 26° below zero. He pursued the primarily indoor study of creative writing at the University of Wisconsin, and held the Katey Lehman Fellowship in the MFA program at Penn State University. He is an award-winning copywriter who has worked on campaigns for many major brands. When not writing, reading, or drinking beer, he enjoys riding his fancy Italian road bike as fast as he possibly can without hurting anyone, himself included (one broken collarbone was more than enough). He lives in New York.