AC Shilton

Mountain bikingAs a kid, I was a below-average speller. Like, below, below. A teacher once told me, you’ll never be an editor. (I’ve been an editor.)

Like so many others who have a deficiency, I quickly realized that I also had an area of unusual talent: Anything you tell me I will remember for years—often verbatim. Friends are taken aback when I say, “oh, it’s like that old boyfriend you told me about once who used to do that thing,” a thing that they had previously forgotten all about until that moment.

I love listening. In college, I thought I would become a concert violinist. Play me a melody, and I can play it right back. But as much as I loved music, immersing myself in people’s stories thrilled me even more. The only job I could find that required sitting and listening and reveling stories
was journalism. So here I am.

Almost a decade after entering publishing, I still feel grateful every time someone sits down to talk to me. I always want to press the red button on my tape recorder. I always want to ask one more question. And the spelling? I get by.

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