So, digging around in some old paper files, I came across a copy of this check. Dated 20 March 1974, and it marks what was for me an auspicious day.
One Saturday, a buddy of mind asked me if I wanted to go with him to a meeting of the Society for Creative Anachronism. What-the-hell, I said, why not? I went, took my camera, and shot some pictures -- before they threw me out for not wearing a costume. (At the time, I figured I could have taken any of the fighters I saw, if they'd let me come as a samurai and use a spear or a sword. That was a long time ago and their skills were less than impressive.)
Um. Anyway, I went home, ran off a proof sheet, whipped out some prose, and sent it off to the Sunday Advocate. They liked it, I sent in the film, they ran the article a couple weeks later in the magazine section, and bam! just like that, I was a professional writer, at the advanced age of twenty-four.
I had written a column and done cartoons for the local underground hippie press before then, but I didn't get paid for that.
It was another four years before I sold any fiction, though I did manage a few more articles for the newspaper and a couple of medical and knife magazines along the way.