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That time I wanted to pass myself off as Joyce Carol Oates #TBT

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I submitted my first piece of writing when I was seventeen, a story about my first job, working at the employee cafeteria at General Telephone where my mother was a dispatcher. Rolling the 20# white bond backed by a sheet of thin blue carbon paper into my Smith Corona, I typed it out slowly, carefully, on a piece of erasable paper—and mailed it off to Cosmopolitan along with a cover letter. Not just to any editor at Cosmo, by the way, I sent it directly to Helen Gurley Brown. 

The piece itself, meant to be comical, was full of clumsy attempts at self-effacing humor.  I strived for a similar tone in the cover letter I addressed to Brown, completely clueless that the high powered editor in chief wasn’t the one reading unsolicited manuscripts. After I signed off I added the following PS. I could have said I was Joyce Carol Oates. What I thought that would accomplish I can’t imagine. That an unsatisfactory submission would get published because of a lame joke? 

No surprise, in the SASE I’d …

One more reason to hate laundry...

My son, who shall remain nameless - “Mom, don’t you dare write about me! That’s not fair!” came home today from a week of Outdoor Education in Malibu. Outdoor Education is a program for sixth graders who get to spend a week at Camp Bloomfield in the Santa Monica Mountains. The kids don’t just look at pictures of tide pools, they hike it down to the Pacific Ocean and get their feet wet.They don’t just talk about astronomy. They go out on a night hike and see the stars first hand.
But it's the rainy season here in California so this idyllic sounding time in the great outdoors of sunny Southern California wasn’t quite what you might think.
While “sunblock” was on the list of must-bring items, it had to be the least-used item they packed … unless you count the toothpaste! And when I unzipped his duffel bag to get at the laundry - because, God knows I love to do laundry - I found his extra pair of shoes (drenched), soaked socks (none matching), a dripping wet pair of khakis and his yellow poncho. The poncho was quite dry.There was also a plastic bag full of more clothes.
“Don’t touch it, Mom. In fact, I’d just dump the whole duffel bag in the washer if I were you.”
Easy for you to say, I thought to myself, you’re not the one who actually has to wash, dry, fold and worst of all, put away these clothes.
“Everything’s dirty?” I ask, pulling out a t-shirt from the plastic bag.
“Not totally dirty. It’s just that’s the t-shirt I was wearing when I found the poison ivy.”
Poison ivy?!”“Yeah. They said it’ll take a couple of days before we’ll know if I’m gonna get it or not.”
Standing there, still holding the potentially poison ivy infested t-shirt I can’t help but think Oh, yeah. You’re gonna get it, alright!”

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