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Showing posts from March, 2005

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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 …

Jane Wells in 805 Living Magazine

My interview with Jane Wells, the broadcast journalist who covers business news at MSNBC came out in the April issue of 805Living. For those of you unfamiliar with the magazine, it was just nominated for a Maggy for best overall design which is pretty nifty to say the least. It's published in Westlake Village, California for the communities of the Conejo Valley and surrounding areas. Basically, we cover from Calabasas to Camarillo... with an emphasis on Agoura, Oak Park, Westlake Village, Thousand Oaks, and Newbury Park. It's mostly a lifestyle magazine, highlighting great places to shop, eat, and go to plus we also highlight notable and interesting people who live in the area.
Hopefully I'll be able to link to it or post it here in the future. In the meantime you have to pick it up in the Conejo.

I Was a Cosmetic Copy writer

I was a copywriter at Max Factor for about five years back in the eighties. I came up with shade names, wrote package copy and created names for products too.
Here, a piece inspired by that work.
Maybe you’ve never heard of me but I’m the one you listen to in your heart of hearts. I’m the one who tells you how to be.
I’m the cosmetic copy writer. Maybe I named your lipstick or told you exactly how to apply your blush. Maybe it was a little thing like putting on your mascara. Now you remember. “For big, fat lashes that last and last. Smudgeproof. Smearproof. Even kissproof.” Yes! That was me.
I’m the one you run to when your mirror makes you moan. It’s me you turn to when Johnny Angel picks Carol Ann -- not you -- to take to the Senior Prom. Let’s face it. Without me you’re nothing. No one will ever love you. You’ll never have a boyfriend. You’re ugly. A pale, pimply, lipless, lashless, small-eyed, big-nosed, mousy-haired gnome. You are the walrus! Koo koo kachoo.
I’m the cosmetic copy wri…

Signs of Spring

It must be Spring. The leaves that fell from the tree last fall and landed on the patio have been rained on and rerained on so many times they’ve formed a rich carpet of mulch on the cement that only a shovel will be able to remove. The umbrella that was hanging from the front hall chair has been put away deep in the closet and the empty planter swinging from the shepherd’s hook just beyond our front door is crying out for color. A pair of ducks from the pond across the street, a dazzling green headed male and his mousy brown spouse, have taken up residence on the lawn across from our townhouse. The hills are still so green here in the Conejo that if you squint and block out the freeway exit signs you can almost trick yourself into believing you’re in Ireland on holiday. And at the end of the month, the kids at least, will be on spring break.
Maybe the luck of the Irish has rubbed off on you and you’re off to some exotic locale - far enough away to escape your day to day world as well …

The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini

Enough about my stories. I'm sick of my writing. What I'm not sick of is the writing of Khaled Hosseini. I am only 1/4th of the way into The Kite Runner, an exquisite book by Hosseini that is part fiction and part anthropology lesson. Set in Afghanistan, a country whose name formerly conjured up not much more than a rocky barren landscape with sheeted blurs for people -- those people,now one sees, are very much like you and me. From their blue jeans to their weakness of character. Hosseini has painted his country with a rich mixture of colors and textures, hate and love, pity and shame. I was shocked to find it such a beautiful and moving book! If you haven't read it take the word of the NY Times, the San Francisco Chronicle, Isabel Allende and more and get thee to a bookstore or a library or Amazon.com quick. I can hardly wait to finish blogging so I can crawl into my bed and read right now.
To learn more about Khaled Hosseini check out his website at http://www.khaledhoss…