I started writing fiction, when I had my own law office, wa-a-ay back in the day.
Sometimes people ask me if my stories are based on real cases I had, and I assure them, “Absolutely not! Fiction has to make sense.”
To give you an idea of how it is to run your own law office and write fiction, here’s a passage from the journal I kept while practicing law.
Tuesday, September 26, 1995
It did take me two hours to get to Quantico. But only because of terrible weather and even worse traffic.
The tour, frankly, was not much. We saw the gymnasium, the swimming pool, the auditorium, the firearms cleaning room (complete with actual agent trainees cleaning their firearms), the cafeteria, and of course, our guide took great pains to direct us to the gift shop, where we could spend money on FBI Academy T-shirts, sweatshirts, mugs, etc. Personally, I think the firearms cleaning was the highlight of the tour.
We did not see the firearms practice range, the forensics lab, “Hogan’s Alley” (a small town set, where they conduct practical training) — in short, anything of interest.
Did I mention the landscaping? It was beautiful.
The trip back went much better than the trip there.
Tonight, we have week two of the freelance writing class. I have a couple of ideas for articles. An article on wetlands – what they are, what they do, why laws were passed to protect them, and how these laws might change.
Also, the Legal Aid Bureau office in Howard County is closing at the end of this month. An article on why they’re doing it, and how the state and pro bono organizations plan to adjust to this change might be good.
Just a couple of stray thoughts I had on the way home from class.
Wednesday, September 27, 1995
Back to the office today. Back to the ugly divorce.
I’m working with incremental slowness on revising my short story.
I’ve written my first short story in twenty years (really, 22 years – the last one was written when I was 17 and I’m 39). I’m in the midst of doing a final revision on it.
I work on it an hour or two at a time, grabbing spare moments when I find them. It’s a little aggravating, not to simply be able to sit down for a whole day and just finish it. But if I keep going, eventually it will be finished.
Another day waiting for the AG’s office to call. Another day working on – you guessed it! — the ugly divorce case. Today, I started to develop what I hope will be a solid set of probing interrogatories.
I got a strange call today. A couple of them really. But the strangest was a guy who said he wanted to consult with me on getting a divorce. Actually, the first thing he did was ask me two questions – how much divorce work do you do and how much are your rates. Then he said he wanted to arrange for a consultation.
I started by asking my usual preliminary questions – have you been served or are you considering starting a divorce action? Are you separated? Does he or she want a divorce? etc., etc.
On the question “are you separated?” he said, “No. Actually, I’m calling because I want to commit adultery.”
Then he said, “Is it better for me to commit adultery after I’m separated?”
No – adultery is adultery, whether or not you’re separated.
“Oh. That sucks.”
Sure does. Have a nice life. Bye.
People ask the strangest questions.
I got another call from a woman with a thick accent of indeterminate source, who wanted to put all her income in a “trust”, but wouldn’t tell me why, other than she wanted to “protect it”. From who? Don’t know. Why the need for protection? Didn’t say. She got all upset when I asked questions. These are people you don’t want as clients.
Yesterday, while I was at Quantico, I missed a phone call referring a case from the Public Defender’s panel, much to my dismay. I called and asked them to keep me on the list for future referrals.
Today, I got a call on another criminal matter. A guy arrested for “soliciting a lewd act” or something to that effect – I guess they’re charging him with trying to pick up a prostitute. He said he might call back to arrange an appointment. His trial date is November 15 in Baltimore County District Court. When people say they might call back, I assume they’re going to check around and chances are good they won’t call back. But you never know.
And there you have it. More to come. 🙂
BTW, if you’d like to read the previous posts about my writing journal, you can click here for more.
PS: Will you help digitize The Diamondback?
I myself am three-times a Terp! Once, when I earned my undergraduate degree in journalism. The second time when I went to law school. And the third time when I earned a Master of Library Science in 2002.
Fear the Turtle! 🙂
I once wrote articles for The Diamondback, when I was an undergrad student at the University of Maryland. In fact, it was at the university’s journalism school that I met Carl Bernstein! 🙂