Brad Herzog lives on California’s Monterey Peninsula with his wife Amy and his two sons, Luke and Jesse. He never understood why people write profiles of themselves, but do so in the third person, as if someone else wrote it. Brad prefers to talk about himself in the first person, so here goes…
I suppose it was Bilbo Baggins who made me a writer. In the sixth grade, I read The Hobbit, J.R.R. Tolkien’s tale of a fellow who prefers the comforts of home but soon develops a taste for adventure (which sounds a lot like me). I was awed by the world created from an author’s imagination – by the profound possibilities of filling a blank page. I immediately began a fantasy novel of my own, completing a few paragraphs before promptly giving up. As has been said before, easy reading is hard writing.
A few years later, sports rekindled my passion. On May 26, 1983, I (along with my twin brother) was a 14-year-old honorary batboy for the Chicago White Sox. It turned out to be the day my favorite team turned its season around, going from last place to first and making the playoffs for the first time in a quarter-century. I decided to write a column for my high school newspaper about the experience. The cheeky angle: Forget Carlton Fisk or LaMarr Hoyt or Harold Baines. I was the team’s Most Valuable Player. It was my first published article and, I quickly realized, the only way I’d ever be an MVP.
From there, thanks to an English teacher who boosted my confidence (a writer’s most important attribute), I was set on a path. I attended Cornell University in Ithaca, New York, where I majored in… psychology. Study the human mind, I figured. Naturally, I decided I wanted to be a sportswriter. Upon graduation in 1990, I applied to some 60 newspapers and received not a single job offer. Fortunately, The Ithaca Journal soon gave me a call. For 18 months, I served as a sports reporter covering everything from rowing and wrestling to football and field hockey.
While writing for the newspaper, I began a cautious freelance career. Then I began to dream of a life based on my three basic philosophies:
So in 1992 I became a full-time self-employed writer, which is not really an oxymoron. I’m still doing it. I’m a bit of a literary jack-of-all-trades, trying mightily to master a few. I have won a handful of honors and awards over the years while writing hundreds of newspaper articles, magazine features, columns, short stories, poems, children’s fiction and non-fiction, screenplays, sports tomes and travel narratives. Along the way, my interests have broadened and deepened. As a writer, I aspire to make a living, of course, but I also hope to make a difference. That I now make my home in Pacific Grove, California, where John Steinbeck put pen to paper, is a source of inspiration.
If I had to define my
career pithily, I would offer this: I simply write about whatever
intrigues me - whether it is driven by profundity or whimsy or
curiosity. As Elie Wiesel once said, "I write to understand as much
as to be understood." Still, I don't wish to write in a void, but
rather to be seen and heard. I want the reader to savor the words.
When Woody Allen was once asked his speed-reading critique of War
and Peace, he replied, "It involves Russia." All I ask is
that you read slowly and enjoy the ride.