How I Became a Word Person

Way back in 1980, I was a student at Mercer University. My major was economics, but I had absolutely no idea what I wanted to pursue as a career. I wasn’t particularly jazzed about my chosen field of study at all.

On the last day of Spring Quarter, I went on a solo road trip from Atlanta to Key West. I didn’t intentionally go to Key West. I just drove south and when I ran out of road, I was there.

It was a long drive to do in one day. I had plenty of time to think about the future.

I arrived after midnight in Key West, and checked into the Holiday Inn. I crashed hard.

The next morning I was walking around town. No destination in mind. It was May, but it was hot. Incredibly hot. Beautiful too.

My feet took me right where I needed to go. 907 Whitehead Street. Ernest Hemingway’s house.

All the rooms were open and I spent hours there. Hemingway’s writing room is above one of the outbuildings. The tour guide told me that originally it could only be reached by way of a rope bridge that attached to the patio off a second floor bedroom. His second floor bedroom. The story goes that the rope bridge met its demise as a result of a great hurricane.

When I walked into the writing room, I saw a typewriter sitting on top of a round table in the middle of the room. The tour guide rattled off the long list of books that Hemingway wrote in this tiny room at his house. I heard very little of what he said.

But that was it. At that moment I knew that I wanted to be a writer and there was nothing else I could be. I changed my major from economics to English and never looked back.

Every day since I graduated from Mercer I have earned a living writing, editing, and managing those who work with words every day. I’ll never write like Hemingway, but it doesn’t matter. I get to work from my home, interact with great coworkers, push words around all day, and help writers get jobs. What could be better?

It’s what I do. I am a Word Person.

Meet Doug Davis

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