The 30-Second Commute: A Non-Fiction Comedy about Writing and Working from Home
by Stephanie Dickison

ECW Press, 2009. ISBN 978-1-550-22837-3.
Reviewed by Janet Caplan
Posted on 07/22/2009

Nonfiction: Memoir; Nonfiction: Creative Life

This may be the book to read if you're considering freelance writing as a full-time career. The 30-Second Commute: A Non-Fiction Comedy about Writing and Working from Home is not so much a how-to, as it is a how-you-spend-your-day book. Stephanie Dickison cleverly infuses humor into the detailed chronicles of her daily activities as she embarks on her career of choice—from her first cup of coffee of the day, to running to meetings, talking with chefs, and food tasting at restaurants around the city. As a music reviewer she meets and interviews bands and even gets to keep the discs which she listens to "at least three times." It was in this section that Dickison lost me—I think I'm probably a bit older than the demographic for this book and admittedly, some of the bands mentioned were lost on me. The chapters on food and restaurant reviewing are lively, entertaining and interesting.

Dickison's warm personality comes through and the reader comes away as if from a conversation with a friend who has a good story to tell. And this is a good story: about a "day" in the life of a freelance writer.

This freelancer from Toronto has been writing on weekends and evenings for about ten years before deciding to try her hand at writing full-time. Her areas of expertise are food and pop culture, the music scene in particular. Dickison blogs at The Knack, where she writes about new products that interest her, and reviews books. It's a busy life that she depicts and one that, based on the tone of her writing, keeps her happy and loving her choice of career.

Stephanie Dickison is a journalist, essayist and cultural critic living in Toronto. Her feature writing has appeared in the Toronto Star, Washington Asia Press, and The Writer. She has contributed to several non-fiction books and encyclopedias. Visit her website.

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