My journey as writer

My journey as writer isn’t customary – I will say that.

In 1984 my life took a most unexpected turn. Just prior to this time returning to college was the farthest thing from my mind. I was all of 31 and with the rest of my life ahead of me, I went ahead and took the “return-to-academic-study” plunge anyway.

I applied to and was accepted into the Secondary Education program at Fresno State – California State University, Fresno officially. Three years later, I graduated earning a Master’s Degree.

During the time of my thesis construction, meanwhile, my writing skills were seriously being put to the test. Then in 1987, upon thesis completion and approval in fact, this is when I decided that what I wanted was to write professionally – an aspiration I pursued both vigorously and enthusiastically.

Before that pursuit came to fruition, I landed a part-time position as instructor teaching electronics curricula at California State University, Long Beach. After two semesters of successful teaching and absent my being offered a full-time teaching assignment, I opted to move on. From there, I went on to work in, of all fields, railroad signaling. Soon after, I discovered that this type of work just wasn’t for me.

This was followed by my voluntary participation in the Operation Lifesaver program, an initiative aimed at promoting public awareness of the potential dangers that railroad operations can present, specifically that which exists next to and around railroad rights-of-way, property, structures, equipment and at intersections where road and railroad cross each other at the same grade, these venues otherwise bearing the name “highway-railroad grade crossings“ (typically, “railroad crossings”). Before long, I found myself in charge of putting together the published-four-times-yearly “Lifesaver Quarterly” newsletter, the news vehicle’s title subsequently changed to the “California Lifesaver.” It was at this juncture that I agreed to fulfill the role of associate editor. The newsletter survived all of eight-plus years until the time, in 1999, that it met its demise; the same year, incidentally, that I and the organization parted company.

Building on that experience, what followed next for me was writing professionally: I had finally achieved my goal. At first I did freelance work, but due to this not being fulfilling enough, what I sought was a writing gig that was more secure instead.

That happened when I landed a full-time writing position when I hooked up with the outfit that published the lifestyle magazine “Fresno.” At first, I was one of the publication’s regular contributors. A little while later and I found myself part of the editorial team. In Fall 2006, I agreed to assume the associate editor’s role. It was there that I remained until 2007, the time I retired.

Flash forwarding ahead, my attention now affixed on the environment and with plenty of time on my hands, I devoted much of that time contributing commentary to the “California Progress Report.” In 2012, when I discovered the ScienceBlog site, I made an inquiry, and with approval, on Nov. 5th that same year, Air Quality Matters blog was born. You know the rest.

– Alan Kandel