It was strange and depressing to read Michael Roberts' piece about Ron Watt in the Scene (clevescene.com | News | Mr. Big).
I met Ron Watt in the early 90s, while I was working at a local fiddle factory and trying to get a writing career off the ground. I had sent writing samples to every ad agency in town, to no avail. But when my samples made their way to Ron Watt, he got in touch and invited me to visit him in his office at Watt, Roop.
For nearly an hour Watt talked to me about writing, about what he liked about my samples, and about building a career in advertising. With his sponsorship, I got a student membership in the Cleveland Advertising Club. (I was around 40 at the time, so a student membership in anything felt a little weird...)
While a career in advertising never materialized for me, Watt's encouragmemt and praise were a welcome shot of validation for a blue collar guy who was too easily intimidated by the white collar world. I kept plugging away, made a few bucks selling freelance humor, built up a respectable portfolio, and ultimately landed a job in 1997 as an editor at the late, lamented Books.com, right here in downtown Cleveland. Nearly a decade later I still make a living as a writer and editor.
Things worked out for me, and I hope the work out for Ron Watt as well.