Word of the Week: meshuggeneh (mə-sho͝og′ə-nə) - hear it! - noun - one who is crazy - the Free Dictionary

Indie author of the month: Come meet - Mr. Ted Fink!

I’m always delighted when a first-time editing client returns for additional services. Naturally, it’s a good feeling to know the client was pleased enough with my work to want to come back, which means possibly good word-of-mouth recommendation and, of course, additional monies coming in as my career in freelance editing grows.

But! For me, it’s much more personal. I truly enjoy getting to know my clients as individuals, discovering what makes each one unique in his/her own talent and lifestyle, and to be able to share in this with each of them. To treat them like gold (hence, one meaning behind the recent name of my editing business: Golden Standard Editing and Proofreading Services), and not just another faceless client who throws money my way.

And this brings me to my featured indie author this month: Mr. Ted Fink.

Back in September of 2013, just two months after I opened for business, Mr. Fink approached me to edit his 125K word roman á clef novel*, “In Search of Joel Gomez.” I’d been recommended by a mutual acquaintance, and of course, I happily obliged, eager to build a client base.

During the time spent editing his project, I got to learn more about Mr. Fink, both through the project itself and through our email correspondences that started off as simple editing updates (as I do with all of my clients), which gradually morphed into casual, friendly dialogues.

Easy-going, with sense of humor and an all-around good-natured disposition, Mr. Fink was (and is) an absolute pleasure to work with, so I was thrilled when he’d asked me (a little over a year later) if I would edit his collection of short stories, tall tales, and stories in rhyme.

How could I say no?

And what wonderful stores they are! You see, Mr. Fink is a celebrated oral storyteller from Philadelphia (among other great things he’s accomplished), who’s performed in a variety of venues throughout the Philadelphia area, bringing his tall tales and stories in rhyme to vibrant life for many, many different audiences to enjoy.

In the time I’ve known him, I’ve grown quite fond of Mr. Ted Fink, and I’m proud to call him not only my client, but also my friend.

Now, all of you can have the chance to get to know him by reading his interview here, visiting his website, and buying his forthcoming collection, “The Tales I’ve Told,” now available for Kindle and through Createspace.

Mr. Fink is certainly a client I truly treat like gold.

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Hi. My name is Ted Fink, Philadelphia storyteller, singer/songwriter. I would sincerely like to thank Kim Grenfell for inviting me to her blog to talk about who I am and what I do. On my desk I keep a copy of Robert Frost’s poem, The Road Not Taken, because in my life, I think, I’ve taken them all. If we define ourselves by what we do to make a living, I suppose you could say I’m a diversified survivalist. In my time, I’ve done so many damn things to survive… but, with no regrets. For, each path has led to an adventure, a tale to be told; a story that I must unfold. And, for me… story is everything. It’s what we are, it’s who we are, and it’s what we hope to be. And while I’ve been down those dusty roads and played those different roles, I always knew that in my heart I was an artist, a writer. It seems I’ve been writing all my life.

I created my first poem, my mother told me, and anybody else who would listen, when I was four. Here it is: Night and day I like to play and I like to play at night too, but I have to go to bed, don’t you? Hands in the air, she went off shouting, He’s a poet! He’s a poet!”

Years later, my brother, Paul, who was a famous psychiatrist, would correct her, “No, he’s not a poet, he’s a meshuggeneh!” He once lovingly described me as the ultimate risk-taker: “Ted’s a guy who believes he can do anything. The worst thing you can do is to tell him there’s something he can’t do. Without ever reading a book on the subject (he’s mildly dyslexic) or working as a carpenter, he built his own house -- hammered every nail, designed and built most of the furniture within it, paints watercolors, performs his original stories at established venues, writes songs, sings songs, and has taught himself to be an excellent guitarist. Oh yeah, he goes sailing and scuba diving while not knowing how to swim! He’s nuts, is what he is.”

Geez, I loved the guy.

What he left out was that I have a master’s degree in education. I taught in an inter-city school for ten years, opened several fine restaurants, developed real estate, sold insurance and for six incredible years became The Eelman in the United States of America—that’s right, the Eelman! Want to make something of it?

When I was twelve I became fascinated with Kipling’s, Gunga Din and began reciting it for friends and family at the drop of a hat. Once old enough to drink alcohol, I could always get a free beer by suddenly stepping away from the bar and invoking, “You may talk o’ gin an’ beer while you’re quartered safe out ‘ere an’ you’ve sent the penny-fights an’ Aldershot it…” Today, my delivery on stage is often inspired by Kipling’s incredible story.

Yes, it’s been quite a journey, and guess what, it ain’t over yet!

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* For those of you who don't know, a roman á clef novel is a novel in which real people or events appear with invented names.

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