He didn't, however, get into the details of our first meeting, so I thought I would. In 1996, we were sitting at a small table in the coffee shop at the old Borders location of 1727 Walnut Street, and we were in the company of the famous elder gent, Isaac Starr, one of that location's daily visitors. Isaac interrupted his reading of the French and German dailies to ask Robert, "Do you have any idea of what this man does for a living?"
Rob looked a little nervous even though I probably looked about as regular as regular gets.
So then Isaac told him I was selling cars, or that I had been up until the very recent past. We then figured out I was just beginning Temple U.'s MA in Creative Writing, a program Robert had just finished. But he would be teaching at Temple as an adjunct in the fall; I think he did that without Drexel for at least one full year. If I'm not mistaken, the adjunct pay circa 1996 for a 15-week writing class at Temple was just about to move from $1400 to the lofty heights of $1500. Adjunct pay at Temple is quite good now (relatively speaking) although the health-coverage problem is unresolved. And I remember being thankful for that 9-month $8700 stipend, anything to get me away from the car lot and back into writing.
Well, leaving the lot ultimately did help me get a novel out although it's been quite a circuitous route to publication.