A Lifetime of Diverse Writing Experiences

by | Apr 9, 2024 | Podcast

In this inspiring episode of “Between Over and Next,” hosts Holli and Robert sit down with the seasoned writer and journalist, David Noonan, to discuss the transformative journey of a writer across the decades. From the typewriter era to the digital age, David shares the evolution of his writing career and offers profound insights into the art of storytelling, the craft of writing, and the ever-changing landscape of the written word.

David unpicks some of the most memorable jobs he’s had and how these experiences have shaped his approach to writing. He illuminates the complexity of translating medical and scientific information into accessible, engaging feature articles. Later, he delves into his short stint in screenwriting, describing how it honed his appreciation for visual storytelling. Then, David reminisces about his foray into songwriting – a new boundary in his creativity – and expounds on the exhilarating process of capturing stories within melodies.


In This Episode

00:00 Introduction to the podcast and hosts
00:31 Holli asks Robert about his favorite jobs
01:26 Robert talks about working at Toys R Us
02:02 Robert shares his experience as an ice cream man
02:29 Holli asks about Robert’s favorite job at a fast-food place
03:25 Holli asks if Robert knew what he wanted to be when he grew up
03:39 Robert talks about majoring in psychology
04:47 Introduction to guest David Noonan
05:07 David discusses his 38 different jobs throughout his life
06:03 David talks about knowing he wanted to be a writer since 7th grade
07:32 David shares how influential his teachers were in his writing journey
08:28 Holli asks how David’s diverse roles influenced his storytelling
09:23 David discusses storytelling in journalism, fiction, and screenwriting
10:32 Holli asks about mixing accuracy and clarity in healthcare writing
11:19 Taking complex concepts and translating them into accessible language
12:16 Formulating the story before pitching and delivering on it
13:56 Pitching a story about “Losing” to Sports Illustrated
14:08 Developing a distinctive voice and style as a writer
15:53 Learning from the experience of screenwriting
17:44 The creative expression of songwriting
20:26 The immersive and mysterious process of songwriting
21:10 The impact of artificial intelligence on the writing industry
21:57 Impact of AI on the writing industry: tool or challenge?
24:41 Evolution of writing technology: typewriter to digital platforms
28:45 Essence of good writing in the digital age
29:29 Current book project and advice for aspiring writers
31:32 “Have a project” and the importance of productivity
32:28 Challenges of writing in the typewriter era
33:14 Personal experience and aspirations in the fashion industry
33:45 Holli’s journey in the fashion industry and entrepreneurship
34:11 Partnership with Marci Cohen and starting Material Information
35:12 Holli’s journey with Robert and their various roles
35:48 Holli’s excitement for the future and love for writing
36:06 Thanking David for being on the podcast
36:20 Request to share the podcast and write a review
36:32 Show notes and contact information
36:53 Conclusion and gratitude to listeners

Key Takeaways

  1. Discovering and nurturing your talents early in life can lead to a fulfilling career – David knew he wanted to be a writer since 7th grade.
  2. Diverse experiences across various jobs can enrich one’s approach to storytelling – from the assembly of toys to screenwriting.
  3. The transition from typewriter to digital platforms has opened up more avenues for writers to publish and share their work, lowering barriers to entry.
  4. Songwriting presents a unique and mystical form of storytelling that combines personal memories, feelings, and the sensory experience of music.
  5. Artificial intelligence is seen as both a potent tool for writers and a non-threat to the inherently human experience at the core of storytelling.

David Noonan Quotes

“One of the good things about getting older… there’s more to write about.” – refers to David’s treasure trove of experiences to draw upon in his writing.
“I learned more outside of these structured systems than I could ever learn in school.” – this relates to the wealth of knowledge David has accumulated outside traditional education.
“The secret of being a writer is that basically, you spend your life learning.” – this emphasizes the continual learning process inherent in a writer’s journey.
“I just remember things that never happened.” – David’s unique approach to fiction writing, where he visualizes fictional events with as much detail as memories.
“It’s so purely creative… when I’m playing my guitar and I’m trying to write a song, I’m strumming away… it’s happening to me more than writing novels and nonfiction stories.” – this describes the organic and enveloping process of songwriting.

About David Noonan

David Noonan is an accomplished writer with an extensive 50-year career in the writing industry. He has established himself as a seasoned journalist, feature writer, and author. Notably, David has contributed to prominent magazines with his works published in notable outlets such as the New York Times Magazine, Scientific American, Esquire, Sports Illustrated, Smithsonian, and Newsweek, where he was the Health and Medical Senior Editor for 10 years. He was also the National Affairs Editor at Readers Digest. He has explored various writing genres, including screenwriting, and his versatility encompasses a wealth of subjects from science and medicine to sports and fiction. David’s ability to adapt his storytelling across various platforms showcases his lifelong commitment to the craft of writing.

David is the author of two books, the critically acclaimed novel Memoirs of a Caddy, and the non-fiction Neuro. His Kindle Single, Attempted Hippie, was named one of the Top Ten e-singles of 2013 by Thin Reads. David is currently working as a freelance writer and communications consultant, specializing in science, medicine, and healthcare.

38 Jobs A Life’s Work by David Noonan
Fun Facts: Besides pumping gas, burying people, and caddying, he has worked as a plumber’s helper, a dishwasher, a cab driver, a diamond weigher, and a roustabout. GIA stands for Gemological Institute of America, where David worked part-time in the 70s running the diamond scale at their main lab on 47th Street in NYC, the diamond district. He got the job by answering an ad in the NY Times. Green Tent was a company based in Wharton where David and his brothers worked college summers putting up tents for county fairs, weddings, horse shows, etc in NJ, LI, and sometimes New England.

David Noonan: As Seen In…

ARTICLES (*you may need to subscribe to access)

Boomer Humor: The Way We Laughed Published (Feb 18, 2007)

Sports Illustrated
Lou Gehrig 
Athlete’s Hearts

Scientific American Stories by David Noonan

Inside the Brain
American Weed…It Satisfies

NYT Magazine* Profile of Larry David 

BOOKS on Amazon
Memoirs of A Caddy is a novel set on a New Jersey golf course in the summer of 1968. (“Wildly funny, sad and vivid…” NY Times)
Attempted Hippie (Kindle Edition)

David’s Music 

Follow David Noonan
Instagram @noonan207
Instagram @noonanmusic

Mentioned in Episode 12

Syracuse University The Daily Orange 
Dr. Philip O. Ozuah MD, PhD, CEO of Montefiore Medicine

Material Information, Holli’s first entrepreneurial position working with publisher and friend Marci Cohen

Holli made the cover of Material Information in her favorite animal print coat (she still has the coat and the publication). Marci is always on trend!









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