Another awesome fucking person that helped me #2

The title of this series should actually be Another awesome fucking person who was cooler than me and who I wanted to be like that helped me, but whatever.

I got an unpaid job writing for a fashion magazine back in 2005. On the day I started, the editor, Fiona (yep, another fucking awesome person who helped me and yep, who was also cooler than me), showed me around the offices.

It was a publishing house for Beat magazine, Fashion Journal, along with a few other publications. It was an open-plan, two or three-storey former-warehouse turned magazine office. There were about eight cool designer type people on the first floor in their designer type area, music writers wandering around chatting about bands way too cool for me to even have heard of, and at the top of the stairs was the publisher, and he had his dog with him in his office. I felt totally out of place, but it was exactly where I wanted to be.

As Fiona walked me out the back, where the Fashion Journal staff were, there was this dude to the left, writing on his Macbook. He was sitting on one of those exercise balls, making smart (as in smartass, and smart, as in actually smart) comment after comment, without even a glimpse away from what he was doing. And each comment made someone in the office laugh. This is the guy I wanted to be.

That’s dude name is Mark Gambino, and not only did he go out of his way to help me several times over several years, he also introduced me to a totally new take on writing. And it went something. Like. This.

Before I’d met him, I thought writing convoluted sentences like this, with way too many overly-descriptive adjectives and adverbs that just go on and on and on and on was just what was done. I thought that’s what writing was.

And then I saw how Mark wrote.

I never knew you could use so many full stops in one paragraph. Mark’s writing was occasionally like gunfire – Full stop. After full stop. After full stop.

And I loved it.

Mark’s writing taught me to go in, say what you need, then get out. No useless words. If it doesn’t move your story forward, get rid of it.

Now, I still try to write like that. And I’ve got Mark. To. Thank.