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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 …

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.khaledhosseini.com . Exciting news for Southern Californians - he'll be in Pasadena this weekend (March 18 & 19th) as part of Pasadena's One City, One Story event. The whole town will be reading The Kite Runner. If you can't make this event, he'll be back to Santa Monica in May.You'll find a link to all the details on Hosseini's site.

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