1. I will write almost anything you will pay for. Articles. Web copy. Blogs. Facebook posts. Annual reports. Resumes. Breakup letters. The exceptions: school assignments (though I do tutor, and I will happily edit) and love letters (ditto).
2. I speak Spanish. More or less. You should probably not pay for my translation services, though.
3. I actually studied (read: "studied" in air-quotes, or while rolling eyes for effect) Spanish for 3 semesters in college, but never got past the usual please-thank you-beer-bathroom dialogues until I was actually working in Juarez, Mexico.
4. That was back in the mid-90s. Yes, Juarez was unbelievably dangerous then, but nowhere near the mess it has since become. The entire time I worked there, I drove around unaccompanied and ate at every intriguingly dilapidated taco stand I could find and shopped at the mercado and, in other words, did all sorts of ill-advised things and never once felt threatened.
5. Juarez was completely different from my hometown, a rural Rust Belt hamlet of maybe 5,000 people. When I was in college, the guy who lived two doors down from my parents (in other words, a half-mile away) offered some girl a ride home from the local bar but then accidentally hacked her to bits instead. Which probably says something about my perceptions of security.
6. People who know me well would say that my passions are cooking and knitting and salsa dancing. But they would be a half-bubble off. My real passions are people—my family and friends, people who live remarkable lives and their stories. Dancing, knitting, cooking…those are just my interests.
7. But they are really interesting interests, and I tend to be more than a bit polymath where interesting things are concerned. Convince me something is interesting, and there’s a good chance you can lure me into trying it.
8. Unless it involves heights. Heights terrify me absolutely beyond all reasonable measure, and this has only gotten worse as I have gotten older.
9. Anyone want to swap hypnotism services for writing? If you think it could take care of the heights problem, I could probably be talked into it. Especially if you said it would be interesting.
10. My fear of heights is at its worst when there’s a bridge involved. I’ve never been a big fan, but once I had kids, I started having this recurring panic about driving over bridges. I consulted a friend of mine, who had recently earned both his PhD in psychology and his MD (overachiever!). His advice? “Don’t live on an island.” Hilarious. Particularly since I was living on a peninsula (which is like 75% island) in the Pacific NW at the time. Then we moved to New England, which was not much better (One Rhode Island native I knew actually made it all the way to adulthood before she realized that Rhode Island is not, in fact, an island. Provided you never look at a map, this actually makes sense—you have to cross a bridge to get anywhere in that state.). Moving to inland southern California seemed like a brilliant idea from that perspective. Until I saw the overpasses.