I’ve been preparing for a career in public relations and journalism – and their 21st century counterparts in social media – ever since I became a published author in the first grade.

My masterpiece was The Three Balloons, a story I worked tirelessly on, perfecting the characterizations of balloons Fred, Ted and Ned during a tiring cross-country journey to their owner’s home.  With a little help from my teacher, we promoted my story hard enough to win first place in a local literary contest, and it was performed as a play at Asheville’s annual Bele Chere festival.

Those early days of deadlines (due before snack time), photo assignments (coloring Fred, Ted and Ned their respective red, blue and green colors) and editors (my librarian Mrs. White) sparked odd obsessions with AP style and inverted pyramids I haven’t been able to kick.

When not squeezing a paragraph-long thought into 140 characters or less, I’m cheering on the N.C. State Wolfpack, thumbing through the latest issue of Vogue or rounding out my iPod with every Keith Whitley, Jamey Johnson and Alan Jackson song ever released.