I specialize in lifestyle features that include travel and profiles. I’ve written about young hotel heiresses and a Venetian concierge. I’ve shared the latest in bathroom design trends and wedding trends, as well as my experiences with cooking lessons and golf lessons. I especially love to write about emerging neighborhoods, new museums, and overlooked and hidden gems in the city I’ve lived in or near since college: Washington, DC.
Some people think feature writing is pure fun and games, and travel writing is the jackpot in the worldwide lottery of work. “I like to say that although it’s not coal mining, it is work.”
It can be dangerous: she has been offered marijuana while buying coffee in the Blue Mountains of Jamaica. It can put one at risk for disability (carpal tunnel syndrome!): editing a book about high quality air ventilation in animal laboratories for the National Institutes of Health. That job was not a career climax, but it serves as good cocktail party chit chat.
And of course it can be interesting: on a train trip through the south she met an elderly man whose dad invented Monopoly; and in Toronto, she was invited to see an early rehearsal of Toy Story the Musical before it debuted on a Disney cruise ship.
At your service! During two years of service to our nation in the White House Social Office, Cochran did some writing, but the real highlights of that time were meeting Leah Rabin, Yitzhak Rabin’s widow, Sidney Poitier, Dale Chihuly, and Rob Lowe. Sigh. Escorting Lowe to the haunting portrait of Jackie Kennedy was indeed a career high.
For writers, nothing is off limits, even – especially – family tragedy and controversy. No one takes better notes than a writer in crisis. Two essays resulted from one son’s teenage years. The 2004 Washington Writing Prize for personal essay was awarded to Cochran for a story about her son Harry’s diagnosis and successful treatment for a cerebral arteriovenous malformation (AVM). In 2007, My Son the Mormon was published. No prizes, but much praise by e-mail from the Washington community of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
That essay led to an interest in conversions and to an exploration of teens and faith for a collaborative book about raising teenagers. Like, Whatever: the Insider’s Guide to Raising Teens, was published by Capital Books in early 2008.
Ann is a frequent contributor to Washingtonian magazine, the Washington, DC region’s top source of information for dining, shopping, entertainment, politics, media and personalities in DC, Maryland and Virginia.
“I’m Sorry to Tell You This…”
My son was very sick. Suddenly I was dealing with brain surgeons, an ex-husband, the White House physician and the biggest challenge of my life.
This appeared in the April 2003 issue of Washingtonian magazine and won the Washington Writing Prize (awarded by American Independent Writers) in 2004 for personal essay.