I was lucky to receive it. Most rogue interns never get a second chance. And here it’s worth mentioning that I benefited from what was known in 2009 as being fortunate, and is now more commonly called privilege. It’s not like I flashed an Ivy League gang sign and was handed a career. If I had stood on a street corner yelling, “I’m white and male, and the world owes me something!” it’s unlikely doors would have opened. What I did receive, however, was a string of conveniences, do-overs, and encouragements. My parents could help me pay rent for a few months out of school. I went to a university lousy with successful D.C. alumni. No less significantly, I avoided the barriers that would have loomed had I belonged to a different gender or race. Put another way, I had access to a network whether I was bullshit or not. A friend’s older brother worked as a speechwriter for John Kerry. When my Crisis Hut term expired, he helped me find an internship at West Wing Writers, a firm founded by former speechwriters for Bill Clinton and Al Gore. In the summer of 2009, my new bosses upgraded me to full-time employee. Without meaning to, I had stumbled upon the chance to learn a skill. The firm’s partners were four of the best writers in Washington, and each taught me something different. Vinca LaFleur helped me understand the benefits of subtle but well-timed alliteration. Paul Orzulak showed me how to coax speakers into revealing the main idea they hope to express. From Jeff Shesol, I learned that while speechwriting is as much art as craft, and no two sets of remarks are alike, there’s a reason most speechwriters punctuate long, flowy sentences with short, punchy ones. It works.