In my email had been a note from Middleman asking if I was interested in ghostwriting a book for a Politico going for the next level. Middleman had found me through SEO (search engine optimization) on the web.
Our first meeting was in downtown New Haven, Connecticut in the Owl Shop. Its business concept is brilliant: It allows both cigar smoking and boozing in open space. Now and then there's some live music up front. Once inside and puffing, folks relaxed as in an Opium Den.
Middleman and I spoke a long time. He called Politico and arranged a meeting together. Maybe I am following too many insider trading cases but I know now I should have been wearing a wire. Middleman said that at the meeting he would give me the down payment for a book I was to ghostwrite.
There was not check at the meeting. Shame on me. On the way out I should have backed off my plan to do a book proposal. I did the whole proposal. Middleman liked it. Still no check. I took that long tough leap in into adulthood and passed on this heady kind of work and accepted other offers to do projects. I sent email telling that to both Politico and Middleman.
The priceless acquisition from that jarring experience was the internal paradigm shift, the 180. I would never try so hard again. Excess earnestness not only limits careers. It can curtail the quality of the product.
Am I still open to doing work for Politicos? Sure. Previously I had had amazing experiences doing assignments for Middlemen in the loop for Elizabeth Dole, Frank Lautenberg and Bill Bradley.