Tuesday, September 19, 2006

The Paths Taken

by Judith Evans Thomas

Creative projects have taken me in directions I never would have imagined. At my fortieth birthday party in Los Angeles, friends and I came up with the idea for a travel guide to all the factory outlets and great stores in France, Italy and London. Much to our surprise, Bantam Books loved the idea and Born To Shop France, Italy and London came to life. Thirty books and thirteen countries later I dragged my over stamped passport home to rest.
After a few years of playing full time Mom to my ageing parents and teenage children I got antsy. That's when I was introduced to Betsy Benson at Pittsburgh Magazine. She had just taken on the title of Publisher and was looking for ideas on how to improve the content. Never one who minces words, I told her the magazine needed pizzaz and celebrity panache. Pittsburgh was, after all the home and training ground for the likes of August Wilson, Kathleen and Rob Marshall, Gene Kelly, Sharon Stone and a host more. Check out www.pittinhollywood.org for a complete list.
Much to my surprise, Betsy asked me to write a column interviewing celebrities with a Pittsburgh connection. I had never written for a magazine before but hey... writers write.
That was two years ago and the column has morphed into my own wacky, sometimes irreverent view on life and how we live it. www.judithevansthomas.com
What I find most fascinating about my jobs is that I've never asked for them. I've never gone out and said gee, I want to write.... As a matter of fact, when I've done that it's flopped. I spent a few (okay many) years writing a thriller. It and all it's revisions are in my closet where I could be hanging lovely fall clothing. Of course it's brilliant but no one else agrees.
Shopping the thriller at the Pennwriter's Convention I met Evan Fogelman, an agent who I didn't pitch, didn't intend to pitch, but liked so much I thought when I was ready, he'd be the one to represent me.
Over the course of the weekend we talked, we brainstormed, and came up with a project. Once again, It's not something I ever expected. www.glamgal.typepad.com

Stay tuned.


Tory Butterworth said...

I can't say that my jobs, "found me," but there is something to be said for looking for the one that had "my name on it," as it were.

I think sometimes our head gets out of line with our gut. What we think we want is not really what we want. And then we don't end up getting it.

When I was younger, I would go into a, "What's wrong with me?" loop at that point. Now, I try to understand the part of me that didn't really want that option.

Like I say, I try.

Joyce said...


You really are our "Glam Gal!"

Reading about your adventures is especially exciting to those of us who rarely make it out of Pennsylvania (let alone out of the country).


You're are so right!

Annette said...

Judith, whenever you start doing fashion and style makeovers, I want to be first in line!

After about six months of first taking yoga classes, I asked my instructor what was involved in becoming a teacher and she said she had wondered when I was going to ask. She knew I was destined for that path before I did and was waiting for me to figure it out.

Judith said...

I think we all thrash around until that spark hits us square between the eyes. And even then it takes huge amounts of courage and stupidity to take chances.

If the project, job, or endevor fails, its oh so much fun to beat ourselves around the head and shoulders.

That should be considered a career in itself! I'm really good at it. I feel better already.

Kristine said...

I am a strong believer that we are all on a destined path in life. It may not be what we expect or plan for, but it's usually the right thing for us, and your recent adventures are a perfect match for you.

Pat said...

I'm a firm believer in "the harder you work, the luckier you get."
Your "found" jobs may have seemed like strokes of luck, but it was hard work that turned opportunity into success.

Cathy said...

Thank you for sharing your serendipitous journey with writing. I'll be anxious to hear the next installment. And best wishes!