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The Grateful Wretch 1: Pre-shoot

I must be doing something right.

I'm seeking to make something of myself, working my contacts, finding that all that banging my head against a wall has finally started the bricks crumbling. I'm trying to take advantage the help offered over the last 5 years. But, after years of false modesty, I'm ashamed of all this ambition bubbling up like a long-submerged infection. Yet if I don't do something with it, I know it will turn to resentment, jealousy, and arrogance.

I'm feeling this way when a friend, a talented pro photographer, calls and listens to me, and says, “here's what we'll do. I'll come over and take some black and whites. You'll look good. And when they need your picture for a magazine, you can say, 'I have professional shots, and I can give you an exclusive scans or 8x10 glossy.' They'll ask you to send them over. They want to save the cost of a photographer, so they'll probably use them. And I'll get the credit.”

To have a friend who believes in you enough to want to invest a small part of her own career in you is quite a thing. I feel very proud and good. She's known me since I was 18, back when I was a miserable boy. She's remembered my birthday for 9 years. I've forgotten hers for 8. I have the date memorized now. It's 3 days after my birthday. I'm getting better. I'll get it right in 2002.

There are many people I need to thank right now, who are holding my hands and pulling me up from the pools. But she's put up with more than almost any of them. She waited. I'm grateful. It seemed worth noting.


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About the author: I've been running this website from 1997. For a living I write stories and essays, program computers, edit things, and help people launch online publications. (LinkedIn). I wrote a novel. I was an editor at Harper's Magazine for five years; then I was a Contributing Editor; now I am a free agent. I was also on NPR's All Things Considered for a while. I still write for The Morning News, and some other places.

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