Origin Story (the longer version)
My career started out at age seven, long before nerd girls were a thing, when I asked my parents for a typewriter for my eighth birthday. My indulgent parents had already made my table into a desk and given me an empty cigar box to use as an inbox. I was that kid. I met Roald Dahl when I was nine and told him I was also going to write books. He pretended to be impressed and charmed and signed my paperback copies (Scholastic Book Club, ya'll!) of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and James and the Giant Peach. I created odd, little chapbooks with my typewriter for my parents, my brother and our pets until about the age of eleven. I'm pretty sure that many of my relations dreaded birthdays and holidays knowing not only would they receive a chapbook from me, but that I would want to discuss the nuance, Aristotelian unities, and the emotional development of pivotal characters. Early dramaturg-itis.
I upgraded my hardware when I went to university and was in high demand as a typist since my typewriter was also a word processor. NOTE: I went to university long, long ago. However, I wasn't just a typist, but an accidental copyeditor. When I came across something historically inaccurate or poorly written, my obsessive-compulsive tendencies would require that I correct it. Even though it wasn't (technically) my work. Students accustomed to receiving Cs and Ds were suddenly getting As on papers about the birth of the gothic cathedral and funerary rites during the New Kingdom in Egypt. I was very popular. A new career was born. Fixer.
I ended up at San Francisco State University ditching art history for theatre and looking for something even less profitable than just 'theatre' career-wise, I settled into the field of dramaturgy. The nerd of the theatre. I worked as a dramaturgical intern for Z Space Studio's incubator, Word for Word, on their production of Upton Sinclair's Oil! and producing information packets for K-12 educators on their other literary adaptations. For Z Space, I managed the day-to-day operations of their Z Residency Program, created the monthly newsletter, and wrote weekly emails to 10,000+ subscribers, website copy, PSAs, and press releases. I produced their bi-annual Solo Z performances. I also did some copyediting and grant writing for another Z Space incubator, AfroSolo.
I worked as a dramaturg on various productions such as The Rover, God Complex, In the Heart of America, and Cabaret, working with actors on understanding the script, providing historical research for directors and designers, and writing program content and notes, simple stuff like condensing the history of pre-war Berlin into three paragraphs. I worked as an event manager at California College of the Arts (formerly CCAC), where in addition to juggling 150 events each year, I wrote invitation copy, drafted departmental marketing copy, and managed the production of the annual academic bulletin. And I work every year for the San Francisco Sketch Comedy Festival (SF Sketechfest) as the Theater Ops Manager (Crowd Wrangler, House Manager, Team Leader, "No, You Cannot Take Snaps in Here" Explainer, Theater Assistant & Venue Manager Staff Manager & Popcorn Fancier), and comedy nerd. If you are at a large comedy gathering in January or February and there is one bespeckled, bossy lady out front answering questions and directing the crowd of 1,000 like a carnival barker in her outside voice, it is probably me.
After an unfortunate, unflattering holiday gift of high-waisted, Ed Grimley-esque pants with suspenders and a white turtleneck sweater, I resolved to only give the gift of charity to friends, and family instead of potentially unwanted presents. This required a nice and/or amusing card to notify the recipients of the charity chosen. On the market, all I found were saccharine, cheesy cards dripping with sentiment in undesirable fonts, so I started making my own. And my greeting card company, Gobsmack'd Greetings, was born. I write the copy, design the cards, write press releases, social media posts, and customer correspondence. I also take on freelance writing projects covering everything from birth announcements to dating profiles to website copy to cover letters. I also worked as the Content Consigliere, and occasional hostess for Speechless, a local entertainment and corporate training group that uses improv to help nervous presenters, through 2017. Currently, I have a smattering of non-profit clients like the Formerly Incarcerated People's Performance Project and the Fred T. Korematsu Institute that are working to make our planet a bit better, smarter, or more interesting.
Barely escaped National Novel Writing Month in 2014 & 2015, which means 50,000 words in 30 days. in 2013, I successfully completed NaNoWrimo, and this year plan to rewrite that 2013 project, My Chop Saw Dress. I am currently editing my 3rd custom children's book. We'll see how that all shakes out since I don't have (but covet) that Twilight Zone stopwatch that stops time.
And also taking a break as the most photographed woman in San Francisco from over a decade of twice-daily cable car and streetcar rides. That selfie you took in Chinatown on the cable car that featured a woman in glasses reading a book in the background? That also was probably me.
BONUS ROUND: If you want to know the origin story of the O'Mirth name, check out my podcast appearance on James Bewley's delightful, Dale Radio, where we giggle, discuss scotch and I talk about my phobia of walking around with my name written in Sharpie on a disposable coffee cup.