Almost seven years since my last deal.
But it’s not so simple to just up and walk away from 25 years of wheeling & dealing, negotiating, selling, succeeding and failing—thankfully, more successes than the opposite. They say you learn more from your failures, but that’s a load of—: Only a moron pulls down a poison ivy vine a second time. But success…that’s where things get complicated.
I started in business after graduating from Boston University (B.S. in Public Communication, 1981). Maybe I should’ve pursued creative writing then, I showed some talent—or at least an energy to spin yarns—but, like a lot of kids, whose primary motivation before graduation was to maintain enough inventory to keep their bong in near constant use, I succumbed to parental influence and took a job.
Hey, worse things could’ve happened.
And, luckily for me, I became an entrepreneur.
My journey through the business life began with a marketing internship at a telecommunications equipment company and led to the world of private equity, where I managed a short-line railroad (the Wolfeboro Rail Road in New Hampshire), I went back to school and received an M.B.A. from Northwestern University (1984), operated a restaurant in Chicago, and proceeded to manage deals in real estate, grain transportation, and video marketing before leaving to found my video and DVD publishing and distribution company, Goldhil Home Media (with my partner, Gary Goldman, in Los Angeles—hence the Goldhil; get it? Yeah, I know, but we thought it pretty clever at the time), on April Fools Day, 1991.
Over the next 13 years we produced and distributed such legendary home video and DVD programs as: Lilias! – Alive with Yoga, David Carradine’s Tai Chi Workout (huge seller!), Twisters!, the Just The Facts Learning Series, and, Bellydance for Fitness (you might’ve seen that one at Walmart!), along with over 1000 additional titles. What a ride…we got to a point where we could predict a project’s success with the laser-like rush of Adderall addicts.
But then we were bought out and before long my contract ended and I found myself in the purgatory of a two-year “non-compete” clause.
Now I don’t want you to think my life was all business. I lived a somewhat nomadic existence early in my career: Boston, New Hampshire, Chicago, St. Louis, even a stint in Los Angeles; but finally settled in New York City where I met my wife, Mindy (she was my physical therapist, prescribed to fix lingering back problems from my railroad days; her first words to me: “Strip to your underwear.” But that’s for another time…) We ultimately opted for the ‘burbs, Greenwich, Connecticut, specifically, where our daughter was born (now an investment banker in NYC) and where we’ve lived ever since.
Still, sometimes along the way, life requires a second act…
An Open-House flier for the Master of Arts in Writing at Manhattanville College in Purchase, New York, caught my attention; I went and followed with a writing sample—my first rejection! But I attended their summer writer’s workshop anyway, rewrote that original story, and was finally accepted—I graduated three years later in 2009. (A sample of my novel-in-progress, Railfans, which was started during my MAW studies) is included on this site.
But being a glutton for punishment, I decided I needed further study of fiction and applied to the MFA program at Vermont College of Fine Arts—graduating July 2015. (A sample of the novel written during my VCFA experience, Fifth Avenue, is available on request.)
Some people’s mid-life crisis cause them to go horribly astray, mine compelled me to become a writer!
It’s been nine years of learning and effort, but I think I’m off to a good start.
But you be the judge…
(Note: All of the photos are mine, except for the one associated with “Don’t Be Late.”)